Difficulty III-IV
Length 13 Miles
Gauge DRY FORK AT HENDRICKS, WV
Flow Range 1600 - 10000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 44 minutes ago 1680 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 02/25/2019 5:48 pm

River Description


Lat/longitude coordinates determined by Bill Waickman using Garman GPS System.
This is a largely isolated run with several riverwide ledges that harbor keepers at higher levels. In addition, there is a multiple channelized section downstream of the 12 ft falls that stays chock full of wood. Many of the rapids lean towards mean at higher flows (2 ft + on Rt 33 bridge gauge). All in all, the Dry Fork nearby is a much safer run for those lacking advanced skills, though this is certainly a reasonable intermediate run at moderate flows.

There are 2 ways to reach the takeout from the Rt 33 bridge over the Laurel Fork.
1-Drive west on Rt 33 to the Alpena Inn and turn across from the inn on Alpena Road. Take this road till it intersects with the Glady Fork wilderness road and bear right, then up over the mountain and down to Jenningston. Takeout is approx 200 yards downstream of the Jenningston bridge over the Dry Fork on river left.
2-Drive east on Rt 33 to Harman, bear left onto Rt 32 and drive 6 miles to a left on Rt 72, then left on the Jenningston road, cross the Dry Fork and turn downstream to the takeout. Option 1 is the nice scenic route while option 2 is better in wintertime snow conditions.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Jared Espley
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1 month ago

Just looking at Google maps (I have not run this), it appears that this section (US33 to Jenningston) has a gradient of 60 feet per mile. There doesn't seem to currently be an entry for the section upstream of this one, but looking at the map it looks like a reasonable section would be from Road 40 to US33. This is about 12 miles and has a gradient of about 30 feet per mile. Does anyone have any info about that section? EDIT: It's described in the West Virginia guidebook as class I-II.

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Curtis Warner
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3 years ago

I

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Curtis Warner
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3 years ago

Rowed this in my cataraft with 9 kayaks from the Chicago Whitewater Association. Gauge at Hendricks was 3400 cfs. One river wide tree with a narrow passage on left below falls. It was an awesome run. Ran the falls in the middle because there was a tree on the right side.

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Curtis Warner
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3 years ago

I rowed this on Friday 6 May 2016. Myself in a cataraft and 9 Kayakers from the Chicago Whitewater Association put in at 3400 cfs on Hendricks gauge. The falls had a tree on the right and the left also had logs. I ran the falls in the middle. 2 miles below the falls was also a large poplar with leaves stretching from river right almost to the left bank. This was an epic run. If you ever get a chance to run it go for it.

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Frederic Dalauro
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6 years ago

We did this at 5 inches at the bridge. The stream is full of downed trees . Getting around them required constant maneuvering. We had a very difficult portage around a strainer in a rapid about one mile below the falls. There is also a log in the river just under water at the level we paddled about one mile before the intersection with the dry fork. The portage around the falls is washed out and took a very long time. This stream is runnable but much more difficult and dangerous since hurricane sandy filled laurel fork with multiple strainers.

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Kirk Eddlemon
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12 years ago

Whats up with all the portraits of people that have nothing to do with the run? AW river pages aren't personal blogs, they are for river information. At least put up a picture of one of these people actually running a drop on Laurel Fork of the Cheat. This is the AW Laurel Fork of the Cheat page. Open a picasa account for your personals please.

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Robert Farmer
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13 years ago

I ran this way back in '96, at 0.0, and we enjoyed it, but things change. I ran the falls in the middle, after scouting from both sides very carefully. The left side is certain death (huge crack above a boulder); the right side is a certain beating. Just FYI.

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BradR
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14 years ago

Hey Paul, you should probably either update this page or resign it.

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Mark Anderson
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14 years ago

The Evenwood gauge may not be coming back (it was taken offline when bridgework began where the gauge is located).

An alternative is the Gladwin gauge on the Dryfork. Though inexact, I've found the Laurel Fork with water when this gauge was over 8.5 ft.

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Robert M. Dollison
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14 years ago

Almost all of the pictures on this site have nothing to do with the Laurel Fork. It would be nice to remove them.

Thanks,
Rob

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Chris Brock
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15 years ago

My friend and I ran this at a less-than ideal level of 2", give or take. The first 3 miles or so are gravel bar riffles that really make you wonder if this is the correct river. Very tedious. Then a 4' semi-ledge sneaks up on you, waking up your skills. After that things get fun with numerous slide-holes and shallow ledges to boogie through, similar to Seneca Creek. Be careful though as 5 major ledges exist on the run, some requiring a scout. The last large (7') ledge has 4 slots, and portaging is definitely not easy as the right bank is a vertical rock wall with a tree down.

One word of caution, the last 4 miles or so become really shallow and a few trees block off the river. We counted 5 strainers, one requiring a portage.

The river has a wide variety of rapids, moreso than most I've run in WV. Gravel bars, shallow rock gardens, slide-holes, vertical 4' ledges/holes and the mentioned 'waterfall' halfway down which is actually more of an oversized ledge with 3 channels. It's just for looking at though. Hats off to anyone able to run that thing and still live. I also do NOT recommend the river be run anything less than around 4" on the 33 bridge gauge. We got stuck too many times to count on the lower 1/4 of the run.

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keith merkel
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15 years ago

Please note that this run changes drastically with very little change in the putin gauge. I feel the ideal level is between 9 and 15 inches for a fun class 3-4 run. Between the minimum level of about 3 inches and 9 inches, the run, except for the falls, is an easy class 3. Around 18 inches, the max I've run it, all of those pleasant, little ledges you enjoyed at lower levels create keeper holes and you will be spending most of the day dodging one hole after the other with little time in between. It is definitely class 4 at that level.

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Joseph Greiner
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17 years ago

Ran this on 5/3/2002. Putin gauge was 2 inches when we put on and 1 inch when we took off. 3 inches is probably fun minm. 2 inches was passable but really low in places. At 0800 Evenwood=4.20 Parsons 6.31 and Hendrix 4.14. While we ran it at a low level, I find it hard to imagine this as a class III-IV run except at way higher water. Except for the 12' falls the gradient is very evenly spread out over the river, there are few if any boulders to obstruct the view, the ledges are all 2-4' and easily approached to scout a spot to run them. And the rapids that are not ledge rapids are mostly wide open and visible. My best rating would be class III to III- (using Nantahala Falls as a reference rapid rated at III-)with maybe a low class IV (the 12' falls). The run does have VERY VERY high scenic values at any level. The length is a little misleading. It is long but the gradient is constant after about the first couple of miles and because the rapids (exc the 12') are so comfortable to approach and run, it is easy to keep moving. The stream bed at the put in is very indicative of what you will find downstream. In general the width and depth are about the same as at the put in bridge. Ocasionally it will narrow but in general it is the same or wider all the way down. Would like to see this at 12 inches and falling to 4 inches and falling.

Gage Descriptions

The auto-gage above is on the Dry Fork and should be viewed only as a rough guide. The paddlers' gauge is on the left abutment at the Rte. 33 bridge.

An excellent alternative gauge is the Glady Fork at Evenwood. Minimum is 4.0 Evenwood.
Mark Anderson suggests:

Glady (ft)  Laurel (in)
 4.25           3 (minimum)
 4.75           8
 5.0           10
 5.3           12
 5.6           14
This info is being used in an AW Virtual Gage, which will likely be more incorporated into this site after a test period.

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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News

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Gauley Fest - September 13-16, 2018 - Summersville, WV

9/4/2018
Mark Singleton

Get your groove on baby! This year Gauley Fest is a 60’s themed event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. To memorialize that historic event we are flashing back to another era for a 60’s throwdown. Started in 1983 to celebrate the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have disrupted the flows on the Gauley River, Gauley Fest has grown to become the largest paddling festival in the world.

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Cheat Canyon Settlement Reached; Land Set Aside for Endangered Species

2/13/2007
Charles Walbridge

After two years of intense negotiations an agreement reached to protect endangered species in the Cheat River Canyon. Allegheny Wood Products acquired roughly 5,000 acres in the Cheat Canyon below Albright, WV in 2003 for $9.75 million. When they began building roads and cutting trees the following year the government took no steps to enforce the Endangered Species Act. A lawsuit was filed in 2005 by Friends of Blackwater Canyon, the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Cheat Lake Environmental and Recreational Association. Although American Whitewater was not a party to the litigation we are gratified that an agreement was reached and commend both parties for their efforts.
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Paul Herring

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192148 07/17/01 Paul Herring n/a
1211313 02/25/19 Matt Muir updated image position
1201240 04/30/12 Matt Muir Added photo and abstract.