Hershel Run - Belfast Road to Stonelick Creek

Hershel Run, Ohio, US


Belfast Road to Stonelick Creek

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 1.35 Miles
Avg. Gradient 145 fpm

Hershel Run ledge

Hershel Run ledge
Photo of Dave Heron by Eric Emerson taken 03/02/06 @ 22"

River Description

A tributary of Stonelick Creek which was one of the first of the steep creeks discovered in Southwest Ohio. Brandon Roy and I got the first descent on May 8, 1998. And if we would have run it with another six inches of water in it, we could've gotten in serious trouble. It was full of very bad strainers, and we ran it just above minimum. We cleared it out since then, only to have it fill up with wood even worse the next spring. Then it cleared out partially again naturally in the big spring 2003 flood. It is only 20-30 feet wide and twisting with ledges sometimes coming one right after the other. Things happen very quickly.

It is little, tight, and in southwestern Ohio terms, it's full on steep creekin'. It is almost 1 1/4 miles long and drops 180 feet. You put in and go through the tube under the road and over a 4 foot ledge. Then it's just easy downhill about 200 yards into strainers which may be boofed. Two huge trees (no limbs) lay across the creek but can be easily boofed at flows of two foot or more. Then it's boogie water for a ways. After this you will reach the first few ledges, which are fairly small.

The first big ledge you get to, Church Pew, is 5 feet, and once you get to it, all hell breaks loose. This ledge is likely to get very sticky at higher flows. Just below that it's one ledge or one downhill-leaning rapid after another, with a tight s-turn and a long fast sluice thrown in. About 7 ledges in all, ending in a funky diagonal horseshoe shaped ledge.

Eddies are scarce. Some of these ledges contain some big, nasty sticky holes. Be prepared and cautious. Right above the horseshoe ledge is the place that catches the worst strainers. Hopefully, this creek will be free of all strainers in the very near future. After that ledge, a 150 yard sluice / rockpile ledge rapid cranks downhill until you hit the second set of ledges. Along this section are three overhanging trees which you can get under at levels below 2 1/2 feet.

Next up is the finale. At one point you can see that in 100 yards there are 5 good ledges. The first two are small and easy. Then the next three are jammed together in a triple drop that goes from easy to intense pretty quick. 100 feet below is the biggest drop, a riverwide seven foot ledge that at high water has a keeper hydraulic. If you're going to run the big drop at levels around or over three feet, setting safety ropes would be a very good idea. The big ledge must be run against the right bank over a bad hole, so it's a real tough move. The run out is real tight and difficult to maneuver also. Another ledge with a blue clay bottom is just around the bend and it has a bad hole.

After that, it's just 100 feet of boogie water and strainer debris to get you back to Stonelick Creek. Paddle across and take-out. Stonelick and Brushy Fork will have plenty of water, too. So run 'em both. I mean, you're already there.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-12-03 02:29:09


Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
March 25 2009 (3585 days ago)
x (1)
We walked Hershel today. Looks like the ice storm made it here in full force. Without a large
cleanup crew, we won't be runnin' this steep gem this spring. Over a dozen strainers have fallen
across the creek. That's not the half of it. It's bad.