Cranberry, West Virginia, US
AC (Lower): Big Rock Camping Area to Gauley River
||II-IV (for normal flows)
Rock in Cranberry Split
Rock in Cranberry SplitPhoto by Mike Whaley
This gem of a stream is frequently crowded with fishermen (and women). It is a remote stream with
limited access and a long hike out if you get into trouble.
The rapid between the putin and the FS 76 bridge is just an inkling of what you can expect. After
going under the bridge and passing Woodbine Picnic Area on the left you will continue picking your
around boulders and through small chutes. About 3/4 mile below the putin the main flow of water
will go around the right side of a big boulder - and into a log jam. It is best to go around the
left side. Just below this boulder is a small (2-3 foot) drop that can be sticky at high water.
About 3 miles further downstream you will come to a long rapid where all the water channels to the
right and then curves back to the left. There is a ledge just before the river curves back to the
left with a nice (but not necessarily easy to get into) eddy on the left. The ledge forms a pretty
sticky pour over - it's a good idea to have some speed going over it. From this eddy you will get a
good view of the boulder that gives this rapid it's name (Cranberry Split). You also can get out on
on the island to scout and set safety.
The boulder usually has a good pillow of water on its upstream face with some water going left
around the boulder and most of the water going to the right. Just above the boulder is another
small ledge. The safest line is to stay close to the rock on the right and keep working right as
you go over the ledge. Watch for the small rock in the middle at the bottom of the right channel. I
have never run the left side of the big boulder because it looks nasty at low levels. It might be
OK to go that way at higher water when you can just go over the rock in the middle of that
This is NOT the place to swim. If you do, swim aggressively for the river right side and avoid
coming up on the big boulder that forms the split. There was a fatality here in April, 2006. A link
to the accident report is shown in the column on the right of this page.
After Cranberry Split you will find a few more class III rapids and then the gradient eases up and
it becomes a class II run down to the confluence with the Gauley. The Gauley is a much bigger,
wider river but the rapids remain class II/III all the way down to the takeout.
Just above the FS 76 bridge on river right
The bridge at the confluence of the Cherry and Gauley on Routes 20/55
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2005-05-24 10:21:49