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Difficulty III-IV
Length 4.2 Miles
Gauge BIG COAL RIVER AT ASHFORD, WV
Flow Range 900 - 4000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 54 minutes ago 883 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 05/14/2011 9:10 pm

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.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Paul Lange
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2 years ago

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

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Michael Mowrer
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8 years ago

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.

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troy fultz
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8 years ago

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

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Adam Lewis
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16 years ago

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.

Gage Descriptions

The Tornado gauge (AW #1444) may also be used. 11.0' Minimum to 14.0 Maximum.  The minimum on the ashford ft guage is 4.05

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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News

article main photo

Cheat Canyon Settlement Reached; Land Set Aside for Endangered Species

2/13/2007
Charles Walbridge

After two years of intense negotiations an agreement reached to protect endangered species in the Cheat River Canyon. Allegheny Wood Products acquired roughly 5,000 acres in the Cheat Canyon below Albright, WV in 2003 for $9.75 million. When they began building roads and cutting trees the following year the government took no steps to enforce the Endangered Species Act. A lawsuit was filed in 2005 by Friends of Blackwater Canyon, the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Cheat Lake Environmental and Recreational Association. Although American Whitewater was not a party to the litigation we are gratified that an agreement was reached and commend both parties for their efforts.
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troy fultz

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Turner Sharp

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1200108 05/14/11 troy fultz guage
1192646 03/06/06 Turner Sharp n/a
1200065 05/10/11 troy fultz guage
1200106 05/14/11 troy fultz guage