For a Go Pro helmet cam video of Deckers Creek, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRcwW2Bs-rU
Latitude, Longitude data are approximate.
Deckers Creek is a fun and challenging run, just a few miles from the interstate and the University. Just because it is roadside does not mean it is light duty, however. The streambed is littered with sieves, and most of the vertical drops have a cave behind them.
That said, if you know this run, you can get a lap in before work or class, and it is a great resource for Morgantown area paddlers. Here's what Bobby Miller has to say about Decker's after his first run several years ago: "Here is my personal opinion on Deckers. I think that run is very hard and very scary. My impressions were that you could die about 5 ways in every rapid. I was scared on it (which doesn't happen a lot). Granted, I ran everything so that makes it a lot scarier but still it is very scary. I think that the Upper Blackwater is not even in the same class as Deckers. Deckers has harder rapids and more and bigger sieves. The creeks in Canaan are way more user-friendly (Otter, North Fork) with not so many undercuts to catch you if mess up. My opinion of Deckers is that it is a run for top creekers (guys who dominate easy creeks like the North Fork and Upper B) in top condition. It opened my eyes and got my heart ticking. I enjoyed Deckers but it wasn't as fun as I thought it would be. I was so worried about falling into the ugly caves and sieves that litter the run that I really couldn't sit back and enjoy as much as I hoped. I think I prefer to either not have the sieves around when I boat or not know they are there. Just my opinion."Conservation organization: check out Friends of Deckers Creek.
The gauge is barely visible unless someone has painted it lately. So, visual inspection may be the best method.
Aside from the banter above, Decker's is a great run for technically sound class V creek boaters. Steep, technical, and loaded with great moves, it's a run to be cherished that requires sound paddling.
Like most class V creeks in the region, sieves and wood are hazards that deserve concern and caution. It would be wise to go with someone who know's the run if it's your first time. At most medium to low levels it's easy to eddy hop and/or scout most of the major rapids. Be sure to take your time.
It is not uncommon for those who know the run to make multiple laps.
As of March 11th, 2015 there is wood in the LZ of Eyes, and some snags hanging here and there. Scout ahead of time as high water events change the creek constantly.
Wood/Streambed Update: Run at 5-4.5 bars
Hercules - clear (large log above deduction in precarious position, will probably flush soon and chock itself somewhere dangerous
Deduction - clear (sieve totally open now - looks smoother than before w/no hole - dangerous)
Carcass - clear
After Carcass - wood in first drop on right (avoidable just left)
Top Hat - clear
Hairline - clear to right after ferry (left line after ferry has wood in it)
Brows - clear
Eyes - clear (took a good piton here at bottom of drop on far left - I think the rock has always been there)
Teeth - clear (some weird rocks above drop after exiting pool below eyes)
Problem Child/EOW - changes here (looks like fast moving pool b/w PC and EOW has changed, maybe for the better). Wood in far left channel of drop against bank. Also, wood in center channel below EOW (airplane slot open).
Runout - some wood here, but can be avoided by boat scouting. Slide near the end still has wood on left.
The gauge for this river is several miles downstream, in Morgantown. Localized rains can bring up tributaries in between, and make the flows in the Pioneer Rocks section lower than you expect.
250 cfs is a flexible minimum, the further upstream the rain falls, the lower you can get on the river. The high runnable flows are just that: high and pushy. Take additional water very seriously, and if you have any doubt wait til later or go check the Cascades, or even Bull Run.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Take out at a small pullout on RT 7, across the creek from a large junkyard.
Access is currently discouraged at the previous location where Rt 7 crosses the creek.
Drive upstream and put in at one of the many creekside pullouts. It is obvious when the gradient has let up, so choose your own adventure on how much warm up time you want before the big drops start.
Watch out for high speed locals and 80,000lb gravel trucks from the nearby limestone mine.
Deckers Boat Extraction
Decker Boat Extraction
Decker's Creek Top Section
When things go wrong...
On line and on time...
Stew stares Decker's in the "Eyes"
Todd at Eyes
Seive in Deduction
Jay through the Teeth
JB Boofing Top Hat
More drops on Deckers
Eyes, Decker's Creek
Edge of the World
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Nancy Kell, a very experienced Mid-States kayaker, died on February 24th after flipping in a Class II rapid on West Virginia's Red Creek. There were a number of strainers in the vicinity above and below the water. One of them snagged her tow tether, pulled her out of her boat, and held her under water. She was with a very experienced crew but they could not reach her quickly enough. Equipment snags are a real risk. In the light of this accident I strongly urge anyone using a cowtail, pigtail, or tow tether to recheck your setup, and to consider whether wearing a tow tether makes sense. Be certain that your tether releases cleanly at both ends. Do not attach the front carabiner to a non-releasable point, like a pocket or strap. Ms. Kell did this, and it may have been a contributing factor. Apparently many current rescue PFD designs to not feature a front release point! Do not attach a tether to the rear of your PFD with a non-locking carabiner, as that may inadvertently clip into a rope. The tether should fit very snugly, without sagging, but as the photo shows Ms. Kell did that, and it did not protect her! The harness release should be quick and foolproof. Practice harness releases under pressure before using it on the river. Finally, remember that any additional strap is a potential snag hazard. Ask yourself if the usefulness of a tow tether is worth the risk, especially on small, strainer infrested creeks. Carry it in a PFD pocket or dry bag if necessary. Click for a link to the report in the AW Accident Database. (Jeff Macklin Photo)
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.
American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This letter will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River. Enjoy your paddling season on this classic whitewater river. As in past years, American Whitewater has leased the field above Masons Branch, also known as the Legg field, for overflow parking.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!