As of the 2019 season, the river was runnable with no river-wide strainers. The large tree that crossed the whole river (and could be boofed at high flow) has been pushed loose.
Every so often a huge log jam forms just downstream of White's Run, around the left turn, against the cliff on the right. By the time when you see it, you can't avoid it. Luckily, I found a boat-width slot, that time, when it surprised me. Hike down from the White's Run put-in to have a look before putting in.
Ran it on 02/21/2011. We put in right above the confluence with Whites Run. There was one strainer/portage just around the corner from that, followed quickly by a nuisance strainer that you could brute force through. Other than that no real strainers of consequence and a really fun run. There was the occasional piece of wood to be seen, but all easily avoidable. Exercise caution at higher levels because a few of these were duck-unders at levels around minimum, and could be problems with a lot more water.
This is a really terrific paddle, with nice scenery and an interesting variety of rapids. The first ledge is perhaps the trickiest, as you may not see it until it is too late, and there is a boulder right in the middle -- the best route is probably on the right. The second ledge, soon after Roaring Creek enters from the left at Onego, was easiest (altho a bit scrapey) on the left. The final ledge, Junkhouse Rapid, when you are within sight of Seneca Rocks, should also be run on the far left, to avoid a bad hydraulic. (The WV guidebook talks about a channel around this ledge, but that is no longer the case.) For a zero level, look from the downstream side under the bridge at Onego -- the tops of the white calcified marks on the middle pier, which look rather like a broken horizontal line, will be just at the waterline.
Just to emphasize: there is a double-ledge, double-hole drop behind a boulder where I got stuck and had to swim after coming down the upper section (not really Class 3, so much, at high levels). I've usually run it on the right, but that seems, uh, unsatisfactory. Try left.
And the ledge at Onego is truly terrifying at high levels. I snuck it tight right. Stay out of those holes, for sure!
Also, the log jam near the top can usually be snuck without portaging if you cut left way-high above the log jam.
12 years ago
by Michael W. Wellman
The above gauge correlation link is at Cabins on the North Fork of the South Branch and Seneca Creek is only part of the flow picture. Numerous observations suggest, however, that Seneca will be running if this gauge is rising toward 6 feet. You probably need more than 6 ft. on a falling gauge.
Seneca Creek only runs for short periods after heavy rains or big snowmelts. Noting when it last rained and where - the creek drains off the highest mountain in W.Va. and often gets more rain than other areas of the adjacent watershed - will improve the odds of catching Seneca.
The old gauge guidance is 4-8 feet on the Petersburg gauge. This is even rougher than Cabins.
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Lower Seneca Cr Aerial Map (large file)
Seneca Creek from Rt. 28 bridge
Early Ledge Slide On Lower Seneca Creek
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