This photo needs editing.
Difficulty V+
Length 1 Miles
Flow Range 7.50 - 10.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 27 minutes ago 4.18 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/13/2011 1:44 pm

River Description

For a recent video of Bull Run featuring the ZoneDogg, check out this link.

This one was described by Zone Doggy Dogg in the Jan/Feb. 2001 American Whitewater. He says that a good part of the last mile goes at a 500'/mile pace. Screaming craziness! He describes a good number of rapids which must be scouted and/or portaged due to undercuts and/or logjams. Enjoy it if you must...

The map shows a full 2.8-mile run, mostly along the road. However, if you wish for the intense experience, you can do as Zone Doggy Dogg did, and just take in the last mile of SIK drops.

Check out this video (620k) of Zone Doggy Dogg running Matador rapid, borrowed with permission from Enjoy!

This run is a tiny and steep stream for the hardcore paddler. It starts out extremely steep with some incredible drops then slows its pace from incredibly steep to just steep before picking up again near the end of the run. The drops come at you fast, the eddies are small, the undercuts are gnarly, and trees are always a constant danger (You mess with the Bull, you get the HORNS!). However, for the hardcore creeker, there are few streams this good!

Putin where the creek starts to drop away from the road. The first rapid is a long slide that steepens and drops onto a slab that slants towards a cave on the left. Hard right angle and a good boof is needed to avoid this room of doom. After a short slow stretch, the creek goes off an 8 foot ledge best run on the left. Get out and scout after this.

Brutus is next and is a very steep series of tight obstructed drops. It starts with an easy approach drop leading into a 6 foot boof with a menacing undercut below on the right. The run goes over another drop that leads into a cascade best descended on the right heading back left. Immediately below this, get out of the creek and scout because the Matador, one of the biggest runable rapids in the state of West Virginia is next.

The Matador is a very impressive rapid and is one of the coolest series of drops I've ever run. It is a series of three 5-6 foot ledges that twist and turn their way to the lip of a broken lipped 25 foot waterfall into a shallow pool. The approach drops are fun leading you onto the slide approaching the falls. There is a nasty undercut shelf sticking out of the left bank as you come to the lip of the falls that threatens to ruin your line up for the falls. The junky lip of the falls is difficult to set up for but should be descended on the far left, where it catches a secondary shelf. A flat or close to flat landing is a must. If aced, the Matador can provide a feeling of euphoria like few other rapids in West Virginia can offer!

Below the Matador, there has been some rearranging of the creekbed that eliminated a couple cool drops and has created several manky drops/sieves. Be careful in this section.

For the next half mile, the creek slows its pace somewhat but is still steep and obstructed. There is one burly drop where the creek heads left and falls back to the right off a 6-8 foot ledge followed by a narrow slot.

As you approach the Cheat, you will come to the Horn of the Bull. This begins as a 10 foot narrow cascade that sends you into a 5 foot drop onto a wide shallow slide. The slide ends in a junky 20 foot falls into a shallow landing pool. Most people walk this. Right below this is a slide that slams into a nasty dugout undercut rock on the right at the bottom. It isn't a bad idea to walk this either. A few more steep boulder drops will carry you to the Cheat.

Rapid Descriptions


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8 years ago

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9 years ago

I hiked down the and scouted it out a low water in February 2011, Lots of drops with wood, especially the first few drops. The drop below the Matador still has a good deal of wood and probably should be portaged.

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Jay Seiler
14 years ago

Referring to the drop with the log that could pin a boater...We called that one "Blind Betty" let me know if you like that name-we ran it in february of '05 and again in march through the left slot-the drop really sneaks up on you-i might head down in there and check it out for myself to see if that log is still there-i dont remember seeing it- but it was late and we were boogying-thanks

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Gordon Dalton
17 years ago

There are 2 big logs in the 2nd (or 3rd) rapid before the confluence with the Cheat. One of the logs is no problem, but the other is at water level and would definitely pin a boater. It would probably NOT be visible at higher levels. This is the tight, tricky little rapid with a slot on left, and a pillow pushing you to the right against an overhanging rock - exactly where the log is now. There is a small cairn in midriver at the drop, but it may last long.

Gage Descriptions

When the Big Sandy is 7.5 feet and rising, the Bull is likely to be running. The Sandy flows from a different area so the correlation is not perfect. Generally, if all of northern WV is up (Big Sandy, Blackwater, etc..), go check out the Bull, if you dare.......

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.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

Cheat Canyon Settlement Reached; Land Set Aside for Endangered Species

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.

Robert Miller


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193005 03/27/05 Robert Miller n/a
1199813 04/13/11 Robert Miller added hyperlink for video
1198104 08/26/10 Robert Miller Added a video 8/26/10 and updated the description.