Otter Creek, West Virginia, US
1. Fish Liming Operation to Big Spring Gap (Upper Otter Wilderness)
||IV-V(V+) (for normal flows)
DRY FORK AT HENDRICKS, WV
4000 - 20000 cfs
You can surf on over to read the Zone Dogg's story
Upper Otter Creek is one of the best steep creek expeditions in West Virginia. It is the ultimate
"source to mouth" run, starting on the tiniest of tributaries flowing through a marsh and going all
the way to its mouth at the Dry Fork of the Cheat. It is very long and committing requiring a high
degree of skill and endurance, you have paddled 6 miles before you reach the first Class 5
You will puton a small tributary called Condon Run and scrape your way for about 1/4 mile until you
reach the marsh. At the beginning of the marsh, there is a 5 foot dam onto a concrete slab that can
be run anywhere or easily portaged on the right. For the next 4 miles, the creek winds slowly
through the marsh and passing through some of the most gorgeous scenery in West Virginia. There are
many trees down but you can fight your way over, under, and through most of them.
After about 4 miles, the creek bed changes from sand to rock and the creek starts going down actual
rapids that grow in intensity as you travel further downstream. There several fun warmup slides and
boulder drops that will carry you through the next 2 miles. Just above where Yellow Creek enters,
there is a steep cascade that is best run left of center.
Yellow Creek enters about 6 miles into the run and, besides adding volume, it marks the beginning
of the steep section (4 miles dropping close to 250 feet per mile). After a few long slides (one
that is fairly steep), you come to a 15 foot falls onto rocks. This is best run far right down a
flume. This flume leads into a rocky cascade that requires you to angle left. Right below this, is
a 100 yard long slide.
The creekbed changes from slides to boulder drops below here. Most boulder drops are boat scoutable
but some are pretty steep. Be on the lookout for trees through here. After a couple miles, the run
steepens noticeably and the boulder drops begin to be as challenging as those found on the Upper B.
Several of the drops are pretty long and steep with multiple moves to make. There are several good
boofs in through here but also some nasy undercuts. The boulder drops let up a little after about a
mile but there are still many steep drops left. Eventually, the run will completely let up to Class
2-3 and you will notice the Otter Creek trail has switched to the right bank, signaling the start
of lower Otter. Continue for another 2-3 miles of Class 3-4 rapids to the Dry Fork.
* On a recent trip (3/24/05), there were many downed trees in the rapids. Most were able to be
gotten around but several were in nasty places. There is a tree just downstream of the falls that
needs to be portaged. The next two slides have trees in them, the second one is in a particularly
dangerous place near the bottom of the slide.
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Last Updated: 2005-03-27 16:58:15