An informal gauge is found on the pier of the Herold
Bridge. Ideal conditions will show 5 blocks of stone. Current conditions
are showing all 6 stone blocks @ June 7, 2001.
This section of river is included in the West Virginia Natural Streams Preservation Act. Although not included in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, this section of Birch was studied in 1982 and met the criteria for induction. Local landowner indifference and lack of public land were the 2 reasons this section of Birch is not in the NWSRA. It has also been overlooked by the NRI. Currently, that situation is in the process of being remedied. Look at the website www.scenicbirchriver.com for additional information.
A take-out may be made at the bridge above Herold at 6.1 river miles.
Another take-out may be made downstream of the Herold bridge on river left. Parking is (limited) near cliff face when road starts going uphill and away from river. This makes for 7.4 river miles with some of the better class III rapids included. The take-out at Diatter Run may be made from river right or left depending on how much abuse your four-wheel drive shuttle vehicle is willing to take. If continuing from here it is an additional 6.9 miles of scenic but flat water paddling to the confluence with the Elk River.
the current gauge that is linked to this page is way over in webster springs. The usgs currently operates a gauge on the Birch at Herold (the takeout). On the Herold Gauge: 4 ft and below begins to get scrapey, 4.5-5.0 is good for novices, at 6 feet the rapids start to link up with one another and shore eddies become scarce.
Keep your eyes open for wood on this run.
The access to the river for parking by the cliff is now heavily posted with no trespassing signs. We usually park near the bridge in Herold and take out there without incident.
This is the Webster Springs gauge on the main stem of
the Elk River. Since the Birch River joins the Elk River below this
gauge it can only be used as an indicator. See Description for an informal "local" gauge.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!