Laurel Creek (Cherry trib) - Jetsville (CR 39/14) to Fenwick (Cherry confluence)

Laurel Creek (Cherry trib), West Virginia, US


Jetsville (CR 39/14) to Fenwick (Cherry confluence)

Usual Difficulty III+(V) (for normal flows)
Length 5.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 75 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03188900 180 - 450 cfs III+(V) 00h35m 289 cfs (running)
This is a new gauge and the correlation with the old paddlers gauge is still a work in progress. This is a new USGS gauge and is still being calibrated with the paddler's gauge.

River Description

This creek is small with tight turns and continuous action. The biggest rapids (named Rockpile 1, Rockpile 2, and Rockpile 3) are in the sections where the creek does not run along the road. As you go down the creek try to figure out when you are going through one of these rapids. Watch out for strainers during the whole trip.

The section below the bridge on Saxman Road appears to be several braided channels and it's not clear if any one channel has enough water to make it runnable. If you make it through this section and want to extend the trip another 3 miles you can use Rhododendron Park on the Cherry as an alternate takeout.

When there is enough water to run Laurel Creek, the Cherry is usually running pretty high. It's interesting going from the tight, technical confines of Laurel Creek onto the wider and more open Cherry River.

There was a report on January 22, 2011 of a couple of river wide strainers that the paddlers were able to avoid with alternative channels.

Putin: Where Saxman Road (39-14) crosses Laurel Creek for the second time about 5 miles from Route 39.

Takeout: On river right by the bridge on Saxman Road (CR 39-14) unless you think you can continue down to the confluence with the Cherry. Then you can take out on river left on the Cherry just below the Route 39 bridge.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-01-23 17:01:35

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 16 2013 (1527 days ago)
Jeff MacklinDetails
We were able to get on Laurel a 3 times in 2013. 200 cfs, on the Fenwick Gauge, was a little
scrapy. 250 cfs was OK low runnable. 350 cfs was a great level. Watch for wood. As of 12-7-13, all
wood was avoidable.
August 3 2009 (3123 days ago)
x (1)
Ran this section yesterday after doing the Cherry River at 5 feet and rising (Fenwick). It was
awesome and fast. I was expecting a class III+ run so was impressed by how steep and consistent the
rapids were. There were pour overs and holes all over. We agreed it was more of a class IV+ for
most of the rapids at this level. Fanny Packer
April 21 2007 (3958 days ago)
Robert FarmerDetails
Caught this 4/16/07 at a moderate level, I think (14+ and dropping at Craigsville). The
descriptions of this that I've read really don't do it justice. This is a 5-star creek! It's
certainly one of the best of its size in WV!! It's much better than the N. Cherry, nearby, so
definitely catch this if you can! In fact, I would say that, if you have only one day to paddle in
WV, and this is running, paddle it! As noted above, you can't see the best (or worst) rapids from
the road, so don't get overconfident when you're driving up!! I felt that the crux rapid was not
the Rockpiles, but a fast, sliding section that blindly lunged toward some good-sized boulders, 2.6
miles down from the put-in, where the creek turns sharply left-then-right, which I think is below
the Rockpiles (?). Because of the blindness, I eddy-hopped down the right, after unfortunately
catching a left eddy, which didn't help. I would say that this one and Rockpile #3 might be Class
5-, not for danger, but technicality. Rockpile #1 is best finished on the right; Rockpile #3 is
best finished on the left, due to a blind pourover boulder on the right (or I guess you could boof
right, but scout first). It's almost non-stop action! You'll probably welcome a break! Cherish the
rest spots! Also, there is one 3-foot ledge farther upstream that took me by surprise (probably
"Big Ledge Rapid" in the photo section), when you can see the tops of the telephone poles near the
road: I didn't expect it, and ran out of scouting room, so went down the middle, pitoned on some
submerged rock, slid over, and barely made it slowly through the hydraulic. Going to left or right
might have been better. This creek builds up slowly, gets cranking, lets off a bit, and then builds
up again. I highly recommend it, especially for Class 4 boaters who are wondering if they're ready
for Class 5. I measured a distance of 4.1 miles from the put-in to the takeout bridge. I wouldn't
bother running down to the Cherry, as it looks scraggly and bony. Thanks to Cahil for the shuttle!
December 29 2004 (5166 days ago)
Karl WhippDetails
At medium flows, this creek reminds me of Smokey Mountain boatin on a class III-IV level. There are
not a lot of big boulders. Very few, actually. This creek is made up primarily of small boulders
just under the surface. It's pretty constant bee-bop with few pools. Although it only comes in at
about 85 feet per mile, the gradient is pretty constant. Most everything is read-n-run on the fly,
with the exception of the Rock Pile rapids...mainly Rock Pile 3. This one often has wood in it and
should be scouted.

This is an excellent introduction to creekin run. It can easily be broken down into an eddy to eddy
to eddy run. This also makes it a great "tune-up" run early in the season after a long
winter with little boating.

I have not been on it at a level where it goes to class V, but I would certainly like to get on it
at some point in the not so far off future.
May 9 2002 (5765 days ago)
Joseph GreinerDetails
Ran this on 4/28 at 4.25' on the putin gauge and 4.0' at Fenwick.Craigsville 16-18' Cranberry 7.0
and Webstr Springs 8.5. This is way HIGH level!!

Ran it again on 4/29 2.75 at put in gauge. 2.1 at Fenwick 5.1 Cranberry 8.0 Webstr Spngs and 14.7
Craigsville. This was a class III- to class III+ level and a lot of fun!!

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Or, consider donating