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Difficulty II-III
Length 10.4 Miles
Gauge ELK RIVER BELOW WEBSTER SPRINGS, WV
Flow Range 6.20 - 7.50 FT
Flow Rate as of: 51 minutes ago 4.19 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 09/10/2016 5:47 am

River Description


This section includes the Elk River Dries. In dry periods the river disappears underground in this karst topography.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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3 years ago

[Original post date is 4/2009. As noted at the bottom, Robert is describing a longer run than just this section; edits are in brackets] Robert Farmer---Hi, I did this on April 4, 2009. The level was about 6.6/2500 on the telemetric/internet gauge at Webster Springs, which I've been told is 3 feet higher than the visual gauge on the right side of the island in WS. I found it to be mostly Class 2, with perhaps a spot of 3. This is a roadless wilderness section [for about the first 5 miles] that has an old, abandoned railroad on river right. I put in at Slatyfork, about 0.25 mile off of Route 219 immediately upstream of the confluence of Slaty Fork and Old Field Fork, and downhill of a lumber yard. The trip to the first road/trailhead took 1.0 hour exactly. Not having read the description in a while, I was surprised when the large, wide, high-volume river that I was on turned into a small, narrow creek! Quite interesting! After running alongside a road for a little bit, a ledge of about 4 feet appeared, which I scouted on the right. Below here I was pleasantly surprised to find a delightful Class 4 boulder garden that went on for a half-mile or so. A few other rapids are scattered in between easy sections, although the current was always moving nicely; in fact, the water soon started feeling a bit pushy, even though it was usually fairly shallow---odd. Soon, Whitaker Falls appeared, which I had previously scouted while driving up alongside the river, as it is right next to the road. There is an approach ledge that I ran about 1/3 from the left shore through a break, and I ran the final 8-ft-or-so drop tight left, about 20-30 feet from the left bank---Class 4, I'd say. The river here is about 120 feet wide, I'd guess---rather unusual for a whitewater river. You should scout this on your shuttle drive. Beware: the middle part looked like a drowning machine. Although the guidebook recommends the right side, the ledge is pretty irregular over there, and the hole looked somewhat stronger than on the left. I was happy with my decision. Below here is another ledge of about 4-5 feet which I ran on the right, although center would have been good if I had remembered the line there better. Below here the rapids come more slowly, with good rapids every mile or so down to Bergoo, which is where the road makes a 90-degree turn at a one-lane bridge and a fishing shop and small community. The best rapids always seem to be out of sight of the road. A good approach for someone who wanted to cherry-pick the hardest section would be to drive up Bergoo Road (CR 26) from [WV 15, about 4 miles north of] Webster Springs and make the right turn at around the 21 mile point (CR 60) [this puts you on the next section], and put in from the trailhead up that way. This would avoid about 10 miles of Class 2; or, if you want the Class 2 bits only, set your takeout here. (I didn't have time to drive this section of road, as I for-some-reason connected back to Route 15 instead[CR 26 continuing east leaves the Elk and follows a tributary to CR 49, then WV 15].) Then drive down as far as you want, probably somewhere below Whitaker Falls. Upstream of Bergoo, the road is on river right and is very high up for a while. Below Bergoo, the road is on river left for a while before crossing back to the right. In summation, this section was quite enjoyable and better-than-expected. And most of it is roadside, which makes the shuttle and road-scouting a breeze. You should do it sometime. (Final note: I don't know where Elk Springs is [it's about 10 miles from the put in, where CR 26 meets 60 (Elk River Rd on Google Maps)], and ; the guidebook lists only one section from Slatyfork to Bergoo, of about 20 miles, so that is what I described here.)

Gage Descriptions

The Webster Springs gauge is located 51 river miles downstream of the put-in. One major tributary(Back Fork) and many smaller tributaries flow into the Elk between this gauge and the put-in. Thus this gauge can only be used as an indicator.

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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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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Turner Sharp

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Steve McLuckie

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192164 11/04/03 Turner Sharp n/a
1206844 09/10/16 Steve McLuckie corrected take out location, added notes to comment