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Difficulty II-IV
Length 12.1 Miles
Gauge S F SOUTH BRANCH POTOMAC RIVER AT BRANDYWINE, WV
Flow Range 1.90 - 3.90 FT
Flow Rate as of: 22 minutes ago 1.84 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 02/27/2018 6:52 pm

River Description


Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Earl Baer
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8 months ago

Paddled this section of the Potomac 9/22/2018 at about 2.2'. This is a hidden gem. Flat water to start out and the finish but the middle section is quite busy and merits a bit of respect and attention. We had to pick our lines carefully through some of the boulder gardens to avoid strainers and/or downed trees. Quite fun and It is definitely worthy of the II-IV rating.

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Tom McCloud
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5 years ago

Run on 4 May 2014 @ 200cfs (Brandywine). A couple more inches would have been good, but still a nice run. There is a log entirely across at chest height in the first significant rapid, above the Corner Rd bridge. Near the end of the gorge a log blocks the frequently-run center slot. There is a lot of dead wood washed up on boulders without entirely blocking channels. New timber cutting has taken place on both left and right banks, with lot of slash left laying, in the vicinity of the Corner Rd bridge, so wood in the river is likely to be a problem for some time. Tom McCloud

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Donald Keller
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8 years ago

Ran this section on 5/21/11 at around 475 cfs. Really nice level and somewhat surprisingly plenty of water even in the larger rapids. Put in off a county road (turn left if coming from Brandywine direction) about 2 miles downstream from bridge on river right (parked off sideof road in grassy area just upstream from island in river, house on hill across road). First couple miles were easy class 1-2 rock gardens and small ledges. River then calmed down some for a few miles but scenery was always good to excellent and good current. Saw some bald eagles and maybe an otter or two. Scenery and rapids then began to pick up as we entered the canyon section with good drop-pool rapids with lots of boulders and some nice ledges all mixed in. We scouted TS#1 mostly for wood but scouting also let us pick the best slot which was left of river center and then cut left around a large boulder just below. Class 3 for sure but no where near class 4, at least at this level. TS #2 was next with the entry around a right bend in the river. Had to quickly pick a slot between boulders and then down thru lots of action around a left hand turn. Great fun and another solid class 3. Lots of good class 2 rapids in the canyon with maybe 1 or 2 others approaching low class 3. A really great run. Took a little over 2 hours with little play but not pushing hard at all. We took out at low water bridge which was on the right side of the road (river left) about a mile past the bridge at Milam. Much better takeout. Just be courteous as the parking area is private land and ask somewhere if OK if you see anyone. Might be good idea not to try and run the low water bridge if enough water going over it.

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10 years ago

I have run this at several levels,and think the class 4 rating is and should be a class 3 rating

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Stephen J. Ettinger
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12 years ago

The most appropriate gauge to use is the South Fork at Brandywine (rather than at Moorefield as shown), because it is 10 miles upstream of the reach rather than 25 miles downstream, so it shows the water that you will be getting in a few hours, rather than what has already passed about 12 hours ago. A reasonable minimum for Brandywine is 1.9 (175 cfs).

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Stephen J. Ettinger
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12 years ago

Four of us ran this in July 2006, at 600 cfs (1 foot on the Milam bridge). This was a delightful level -- not pushy but with plenty of water and alternative routes through the main rapids. There are three particularly interesting rapids, all in the final 2 miles. Tight Squeeze #1, which is class III and requires scouting to find the cleanest route through the boulders, and then precise maneuvering. TS #2, a class III+ a few rapids later, where we all scouted from the right bank. At this level, there were 3 reasonable routes -- (a) the direct shot on the left, but cross currents make the entry tricky; (b) a narrow right to left chute, and (c) taking the first drop on the far right and then ferrying across to the left for the second drop -- which I chose as being the safest alternative. Finally, the rapid right below TS #2 is class II on the right, but a much more fun class III on the left, where you run between the boulders -- sort of a TS #3.

This is a great trip for wildlife. We saw two bald eagles and four deer along the river, a flock of turkeys and a red fox on the shuttle.

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Robert Farmer
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13 years ago

This is a nice Class 3, I would say. When I did it, the water seemed crazy-high up top (i.e. flooding), while being scrapy at some gravel bars downstream. Otherwise pleasant and not esp. dangerous. There are some bad smells from local chicken farms, so don't drink the water.

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Turner Sharp
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14 years ago

John : Six of us ran this section 5/29/04. Noon gauge readings were Brandywine 2.26' with 286 cfs and slowly falling. Moorefield 3.37 and slow falling. Water was low but not at all scrapey. I would estimate that minimum paddling levelon these gauges would be about 3-4 inches lower. Tite-Squeeze #2 near the end of the run is much harder then any of the other rapids. We ran far left Chute after scouting with no problems except some sloppy paddling. Probably a class III+ OR IV-. TS

Gage Descriptions

The Brandywine Gauge(AW #549) may also be used.

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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2018 Letter To Gauley Boaters From The NPS (WV)

8/21/2018
Mark Singleton

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.

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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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John Duke

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Tony Allred Jr

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192204 07/16/04 John Duke n/a
1209010 02/27/18 Tony Allred Jr 3-28-2018 - broke flows into low runnable/runnable/high runnable