Seneca Creek, West Virginia, US
2. (Lower) Forest Service Campground to Route 28 Bridge
||III (for normal flows)
Early Ledge Slide On Lower Seneca Creek
Early Ledge Slide On Lower Seneca CreekPhoto of Mark Anderson by Kelly Guerrero taken 4/2001 @ 6 ft at Petersburg
This stream has it's beginning at the highest point in West Virginia on Spruce Knob and spills
sharply off the Allegheny Front. Unlike the waterfall-chocked and much harder upper section, this
lower section offers a continuous Class -II-III slalom ride from start to finish that intermediate
and higher paddlers can enjoy. The main hazard on this run is downed trees and two or three
portages can be expected.
Putin along the county road 33-3 (a gravel road that turns south off state highway 55/33). There
are pullouts along the way and there is a backcountry access at the trailhead where the creek turns
away from the road. White Run, a rarely run Class IV adventure, continues along the road. The creek
parallels the gravel road for the first 1 1/2 miles and the rapids are fairly continuous Class II
to III ledge slides. The eddies are few, both because this is a small and steep stream and because
some sections still reflected manmade channelizing following 1985 floods.
When the creek turns East, look for the first strainers in a bend that tends to pick up wood. Just
below here you will encounter the first large Class III drop. This double ledge requires a careful
line between offset and wide hydraulics. Below here you will encounter several easier ledge slides
and hydraulics that give this section a roller coaster fell. As you approach the hamlet of Onego,
begin looking for a pool above the biggest rapid on the creek. This Class III should be scouted the
first time, as it requires a tight line between two beefy holes. Below here you will encounter
additional hydraulics before the creek crosses under Route 55/33.
The rapids now tend toward chute drops with large eddies on the right or left. But things stay
busy. When you can see Seneca Rocks in the distance you are in the final stretch of the run. There
is an old 2 foot dam about 1 mile from the takeout that was best run on the right in 2001. From
here, the water is primarily Class II boogie water.
Takeout either at the Route 28 bridge in Seneca Rocks or just downstream at the Seneca Rocks
Recreation Area parking area. In both instances, be careful not to blow by your intended beachead.
There is supposed to be a bridge gauge on the Route 28 bridge but this author and several paddling
companions never could find it from land or water. It may have been covered by debris. Still, a
visual inspection is sufficient for determining flow. Check this out only during extremely wet
periods. The Petersburg gauge, as noted above, should be at least 4 feet and should probably be
rising or at least steady.
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2006-04-25 10:51:31