New - 10. Bluestone Dam to Sandstone

New, West Virginia, US


10. Bluestone Dam to Sandstone

Usual Difficulty I-III(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 11 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm

Sandstone Falls

Sandstone Falls
Photo of Adam Lewis by Pauley taken 06/22/03 @ 12 ft @ Thurmond

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03184500 1.35 - 5.60 ft I-III(IV) 00h56m 3.48 ft (running)

River Description

Notable rapids on this stretch include:
Tug Creek Rapids
Brooks Falls
Right side of Brooks Island - two separate ledges
Sandstone Falls

The National Park Service lists Sandstone Falls as a mandatory portage.

However if you are going to run the Falls carefully scout because the wood that hangs up here both above and below the drops is constantly changing. Most boaters run the river left side, however the biggest drop is on the river right side (20' to 25'ft). After spring, high water river buoys usually mark the approach well above the falls but they can get washed away. Several boaters have mistakenly gone over the falls.

The National Park Service has developed several access points mostly on river left. There are easy access/portage/scouting above and below Brooks Falls and Sandstone Falls.

There is an alternate put in behind the Advance Auto store in Hinton if you want to skip about a mile of class II/flatwater directly below the dam.

This section (unlike the other Upper New sections) does not wash out, it only gets bigger.

For lower water runs, below 4ft, intermediate to advanced boaters will have the most fun by skipping a lot of class 1+ water and putting in right above Tug creek rapid on river left on River Rd. There is a small stream access point here complete with parking and porta-potty. Set shuttle at Brooks and then drive down to Sandstone.

NPS Guide to paddling the New River

NPS map of the New & Gauley Rivers

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-07-13 13:00:31


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
4.0Tug Creek RapidIIIAccess Playspot
6.9Brooks Play waveIIAccess Playspot Photo
7.0Brooks FallsIIIAccess Photo
8.0Brooks Island ledgeII+
10.0Sandstone FallsIVPortage Hazard Waterfall Photo
10.1Tahiti RapidIIITakeout Playspot Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Tug Creek Rapid (Class III, Mile 4.0)

At least five good catch on the fly surf spots can be caught running center to center-left in this rapid. At least one of these allows cartwheels at prime levels. There is a playspot bottom right of rapid around 3ft at a wide but shallow ledge which is gentle and big enough for two boaters to play in at the same time. (Excellent horizontal play.) Around 4ft there is a wave/hole bottom left of this rapid.

Brooks Play wave (Class II, Mile 6.9)

Brooks rapid play wave

Brooks rapid play wave
Photo by Adam Lewis taken 10/02/03 @ 2.72

This is a fairly good park and play spot on river left at the Brooks Daypark on River Road going toward Sandstone Falls. Video of surf. Surfable down to 2.5'. Ideal at 7500 - 10000 CFS, 2.7' - 3.6'. Ends possible at 8500 - 10000 CFS, 3.3' - 3.6' (in short boat).

Brooks Falls (Class III, Mile 7.0)

Brooks Falls river left line

Brooks Falls river left line
Photo by Adam Lewis taken 10/02/03 @ 2.72

The biggest waves you will see on this reach at lower levels is this river left drop of about 6-7 ft. Beware of the nasty keeper hole just to the right of this traditional river left line. It can be compared to Maytag in Upper Railroad (NRG). Beginners should run the rapid in the center.Picture of center line

Brooks Island ledge (Class II+, Mile 8.0)

This is a ledge drop of about 4 feet or so if run center of the right of island channel. Run left of island for a complete sneak or river right bank of island or far right to sneak this ledge hole that can get nasty. Easy boof for intermedate boaters. There have been rescues here due to unwary river users.

Sandstone Falls (Class IV, Mile 10.0)

Sandstone Falls runnable section entire view

Sandstone Falls runnable section entire view
Photo of Adam Lewis by Angela Lewis taken June 03 @ 4.2 ft @ Hinton

There are numerous earlier takeouts for novices to take advantage of that are roadside before you get to Sandstone. Sandstone Falls (far left portion) is not much fun below 10,000 CFS or 3.5ft. It gets boney and you just end up doing a seal launch off the lip of the falls. If you do choose to run the falls stay far left (no farther than twenty feet off the river left bank). There is a 15 ft slide before you get to the pool above the falls. Picture of Slide Take out in the pool below the slide and scout the falls from the boardwalk. The preferred line is the highest drop and the cleanest (shown in pic). Other lines have submerged rocks and logs that change constantly with all the debris.

There are some class IV to V drops in the river right channel. I've run the far left one (of the right channel). Bring your creek boat if you are up for these.

Tahiti Rapid (Class III, Mile 10.1)

Nice wave at high water

Nice wave at high water
Photo of Adam Lewis by Angela Lewis taken 09/11/04 @ 5.6

This rapid (directly below Sandstone Falls) is for those who enjoy huge surf. Great waves form above 5 feet, but are not eddy accessible. Easy walk, partly on boardwalk back to put in. At extremely high levels (Thurmond gauge reading somewhere in the 15-18 ft range) this is easlily 12 feet high and surfable.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 26 2017 (570 days ago)
Chuck SlatteryDetails
Tahiti Rapids? Not sure if that's where I was but I was at a nice play wave. I parked at the
Sandstone Park lot where you walk out on the boardwalk to view the falls from downriver. There's a
huge exposed shelf type rock at 2.72 that creates a campground sized eddy. In the river center
there formed about a 4' beautiful wave to surf and play in. Just wanted to post this because I
couldn't believe the my son and I had this spot to ourselves and a few spectators from the
boardwalk for the whole afternoon. Definitely worth checking out this wave to have some fun. The
link below also has some footage from Brooks Play wave it's not very big at 2.72. Definitely not as
big as it looks in the photo.
October 2 2003 (5585 days ago)
Adam LewisDetails
From Robert Martin 2001-01-15 19:02:34

If you ever have a couple of hours to kill on a Sunday afternoon on your way home, check out
Sandstone Falls. It is awesome. They have a nice park there with a boardwalk that will give you
access to the many veiwing points. It could be run (sneaked) on the far far left. The center of the
falls is a good 20'+ vertical drop and the right line is a class VI monster. "It's not for
runnin', it's just for lookin at."