This is a great small stream with lots of laurel and trout fishermen. The latter are particularly abundant after stocking. If you like intimate water with lots of eddy-hopping you will find it here.
This stretch begins with a short section of class II water after the putin just below the bridge crossing the Williams at Tea Creek CG. After this the Williams is almost constant class III eddy-hopping and playing. At higher levels it is a solid class III/IV run. Almost the entire run is scoutable from the road (FS 86). It is also quite possible to shorten the run - just find a convenient pull-off on FS 86 as far downriver as you want to paddle and park your takeout vehicle.
Our first run on the Williams was just before Memorial Day, 2000. We saw that the Craigsville gauge was running about 13 feet and the Cranberry gauge was too low to run so we headed over to the Cherry. When we got there the Cherry was too low to run. Let's see - there are 4 major streams that provide water for the Craigsville gauge - the top reaches of the Gauley, the Williams, the Cranberry, and the Cherry. Since the last two didn't have much water it had to be the Williams or the Gauley. We took a chance and headed to the Williams. The folks at the Cranberry Visitor Center verified our suspicion when they told us that there had been a significant, isolated thunderstorm in the upper reaches of the Williams.Putin: Bridge on FS 86 (off WV 150) at Tea Creek CG.Takeout: Bridge on FS 86 at Three Forks of the Williams.
This is one of the areas tht was hit hard by the flooding in June 2016. As of 8/30/16 FS 86 is closed from Tea Creek campground to the bridge about 11 miles downstream. I didn't get to see that stretch of river, but there's an enormous amount of wood in the general area
FYI we were down there spring of 2018, road is open again. Jay
I vaguely recall running this on a day when everything else was too high. I shuttled on my mountain bike through a steady, day-long moderate-to-hard rain. It was a good day for it. If everything else nearby is runnable, this may be too low. Or, at least, that was my perception---not for sure, but just FYI, for you to think about.
PAddled this with a group on 5/15/2010 at a level of 3.7' or so and dropping very slowly. Water was perhaps a foot under the low water bridge at the TC Campground at the put in and it looked semi low there but was enough downstream for a good Class 2-3+ run.
This is definitely a strong intermediate run at this level although intermediate paddlers can probably do it as long as they are with a strong paddlers who can help and know the river.
Rapids are numerous and very very little flatwater on this section. We did 8 miles or so before taking out along FS86 road that runs along on the left side.
Rapids can be ledges, boulder gardens, and holes and a mix of all of these. At this level the route ewas not always easy to find. Very little wood seen. Need to stay alert for rocks as they are everywhere.
Very scenic and a great run on a sunny day. We were lucky to have sun and low 70's. Other paddlers said it was often raining when they paddled it. At 4.5' and higher this seems like it would be a definite run for advanced and expert paddlers only as swims could be long and painful.
Went and ran an 8 mile section today at the Williams with a couple of friends and WOW! it was at 5.07 and man it was running fast and big! But it was a ton of fun and we had a great adventure.
anyone interested in paddling this sunday the 29th of march meet at the put in around 1 pm feel free to contact me on boater talk my s.n. is snowshoe scooby
The road is paved NOW......All the way to 150........ a fishermans and boaters dream. I was there trout fishing on the 18 of march 09...... if anything it is a beautiful ride.
The crux rapid is not really visible when driving along the road, so be aware of this. The river veers right a bit, and there's a narrow slot between boulders leading to a tight left turn before a hole--at least when it was high, a few years ago. I remember this being the only rapid that is not visible from the road, more-or-less.
ROAD CLOSURE UPDATE:
As of 11/10/05, FS 86 was open again all the way from Craigsville to hwy 150. They are planning on paving the dirt section between three forks and the campsites. The road is being built up and getting shoulders. The "road closed" signs were still up and there are still crews working. One of the workers said that he'd just opened it up the day before and that we would be able to get all the way through to 150. . . and we did.
ROAD CLOSURE UPDATE: It wasn't running, but I was up in the area on the weekend of August 7-8 and the road was open all of the way through. It looks like they are still doing some upgrades though so it may still be closed intermittently. I'd guess they are probably trying to keep the area open on weekends at least. You may still want to call the Forest Service office before making the trip if it looks like its running.
ROAD CLOSURE WARNING: As of 5/31, the Williams River road is closed near the bottom of the catch-and-release area as you head upstream from the Three Forks bridge. Second hand information - from a local fisherman - has it the road is being upgraded throughout. Until that is finished, setting a shuttle for the whole run is probably a 2-plus-hour affair one way (You must cross over to the Cranberry drainage, hit 55/39 and then head up 150 to Tea Creek. Whew!). We carried up the road a bit from the closure point and ran as much as we could.
Three buddies hit in on Saturday, 3/6/2004. Sadly, I was filming due to a bummed shoulder and the river looked really good. Craigsville Gauge was at 16.3', and Camden was at 10'. It was big, but very manageable. The hole at the bottom of the first real rapid (double drop) is pretty sticky in the left corner and one of our group had some quality time in it. Tons of beautiful playing waves and holes on the river. Top half of shuttle road was covered in snow so driving was interesting. Video coming soon.
We couldn't find the Dyer Bridge gauge. Actually we couldn't find Dyer Bridge. No idea where it's at.
If you can catch it at 14.5 feet and rising or higher on the Craigsville gauge, it is probably the best run in the state. I ran it at 17.1 and falling fast on 11-14-03 and it was 11 miles of non-stop class III+ to IV+ action. No pools and very few eddys. AW says max level to run is 15 feet and I agree unless you have a very strong roll.
There are 2 great features about this run. One is that 80% or more is scoutable from the road as you run your shuttle. This helps keep strainers from suprising you (so you don't have to spend all day worrying about when the next strainer may appear).
Two is that there are not a lot of serious undercuts on this creek (as far as boulder-infested creeks go). There is one very serious one that I would caution you about. It is about 4-5 miles into the trip (if you put in at Tea Creek). You will go under a cable stretched high across the river. This cable signifies that you are leaving the catch and release area for fishing. The first major rapid you come to after going under this cable is about 300 yards down river. The rapid is about 150 yards long and at the end, the creek narrows and dumps into an unavoidable hole. The hole is more of a wave-hole than a pourover and will let you out. However, when it spits you out it tends to throw you into a car-sized boulder in the center of the river. Most of the water hits the rock and reflects to river right with some going river left. An intermediate paddler or better should have no trouble avoiding this rock; but it is very hard for a beginnier to miss it. It is severly undercut and a lot of water goes under it (but I don't think a body could flush through it). I spent a good deal of time trying to recover my paddle from under it one day when I was a beginner. You cannot see this rapid from the road. Other than this one, there are a few places along the river's right bank that are undercut but are easliy avoidable and are parallel to the river's flow and therefore would probably spit you out.
The only other major place to mention is Twin Falls. When I ran it solo at 17.1 feet I carried around this rapid. Several holes that you will have to punch at that level and an absolute "must-avoid-hole" at the bottom on river right.
You can run this creek down to about 12.3 and falling slowly on the Craigsville gauge; but it would be a beginner to intermediate run at that level. Still very fun; but nothing like it is at 15 feet or more.
1 year ago
by Nick Prete
The gauge is located almost 20 miles from the putin for this section (Tea Creek CG). Many small creeks flow into the Williams between the CG and the gauge, making it difficult to know if there is enough water in this section when the gauge is at or below the recommended minimum.
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Dave Herron on the Williams
Cliff Wire on the Williams
Typical rapid on the Williams, Section 2
Another Drop on the Williams
Jason on the Williams
Jonathan on the Williams
Williams@ lowish watr
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