Big Coal River, Marsh Fork - 3: Dry Creek to Sundial (Pettry Bottom)

Big Coal River, Marsh Fork, West Virginia, US


3: Dry Creek to Sundial (Pettry Bottom)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 4.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 65 fpm
Max Gradient 65 fpm

Delbert Carter at the big drop

Delbert Carter at the big drop
Photo by Troy Fultz taken 05/10/11

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03198500 900 - 4000 cfs III-IV 00h30m 556 cfs (too low)

River Description

Marsh Fork is considered the Mainstem of the Coal River. Very scenic section, class 2-3+ when low, more class 3-4 at higher water.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-05-14 21:10:38


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 30 2017 (597 days ago)
Paul LangeDetails
We paddled this section Friday May 26, 2017 at 6.99 on the Ashford gauge (2990cfs). It was beefy,
big waves, big holes, fairly continuous. The water was into the river banks, most rocks covered.
Most all read and run. We did scout three or four spots. I would call this closer to Cl IV/very
solid Class III skills needed at this level. A swim would have been long. Not for someone with poor
water reading skills, more for the expert kayaker. I would recommend scouting the ' Big Drop'(the
'waterfall'). We walked it. It had multiple chewy looking holes in the approach and a huge
horseshoe hole below. There may have been a line down the left but we scouted right. No pool below
the drop at this level. The river was definately a fun time. I would advise small groups, however,
as eddies were not plentiful but seemed to be all in the " crucial" spots. I would think this level
would be blast in a raft due to all the big long wave trains. This was the first time we have run
this section. Plenty of big surf waves as well. Worth a look if wanting something different or
shorter. Enjoy but keep an eye out for strainers. All seemed easily avoidable. Paul
May 12 2011 (2807 days ago)
paddlesherpa (152862)
Would have to agree. Lowest i have been is 4.1 and it wouldnt be much fun any lower. 4.5 is a good
time and at 4.8 you can get 10 foot rafts down. Am looking forward to seeing 5-6 feet for the
rubber. Have some falls footage i will try to get up soon.
May 9 2011 (2810 days ago)
troy fultzDetails
i believe 3.7 on the Ashford guage is too low to run this section... we paddled it at 4.1 and i
couldn't imagine running this any lower
November 9 2003 (5548 days ago)
Adam LewisDetails
Ran this section this spring solo and it was some of the most fun I have ever had on the water. It
definitley deserves the class IV rating but it is very forgiving class IV. Strong boaters will
never need toget out of their boats. One thing I liked was that there are numerous horizon lines
that hide rapids from view but once you are over them lines are straightforward. You get the rush
of running rapids semi-blind, but without the consequences. I bank scouted every drop on my first
trip down and this would be the safest thing to do because of the possibilty of wood but at lower
flows there would probably never be enough force behind the water so as to create a
life-threatening pin situation. I ran it at 11.3 and was scraping a bit, I would say 11.6 would be
easiest and that at higher flows there would definitley have to be more caution taken. One
interesting rapid to note is the one right below the Peachtree Rd bridge. All the water funnels
down into a bottleneck and forms a high-energy rooster tail. I got some serious air there. Great
fun! Im surprised this section does not see more boater traffic, as its like a VERY forgiving
Cranberry. Note: At the time I ran it this run was the hardest I had done, I have since ran the
NRG, LG, and UG. The guys I paddle with ran this section and it did not impress them much. I would
probably have to agree with them after the harder water that I have seen now, but I would still
have to recommend this run if you have never done it.