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Difficulty V+
Length 2.2 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 01/03/2006 1:17 pm

River Description

"Gulf is not much more than a drainage ditch" -Keith Yell. This creek was first run several years ago by Lenny Rubin, Richard Vest, and Matt Vest. Lenny tells the story: I found Gulf Creek and got in touch with Richard Vest about doing a 1st decent. We walked the creek in the early fall and thought it was a bit radical although possible. One very rainy day I got a call from Richard asking me if I wanted to give Gulf Creek a try. Richard, Matt (Richard's son) and I did the 1st decent. It was a scream. Unfortunately at this time, Brad Hinds highly discourages people from going over to Gulf Creek. He is currently (2/02) working with the St. Clair County official & American Whitewater on access, it is a long battle. [I'd heard this was going on several years ago - MD'] Near Steele, AL, Gulf has made it into Paddler magazine as one of the cutting edge runs in the southeast. It is on Chandler Mountain, home of Horsepens 40. Some property around it has just been donated to the Nature Conservancy, but there are serious landowner issues. Mark Travis has helped out with some rapid names and overall flavor of the creek. We thank him for this since your editor probably has too many kids and not enough cajones to do this run. Gulf has class IV type moves with serious consequences, but not quite to the extreme level of Jones. Short boats are a requirement. If you get over-committed, you always have the option of walking out. Just don't walk left, because the landowner at the bottom of the run on the left is NOT friendly to boaters. This is an understatement. I apologize if this description is not completely accurate, but it should be ballpark. The first (major?) rapid is The Elbow. Then comes Speedway - a 1/4 mi slide. At the bottom of Speedway is a triple drop. Subsequent rapids include Roll of the Dice, Do or Die, and Bustyerbutt Falls. About 50 yards later, a mandatory portage begins. It covers about 200' vertical feet and takes 15-20 minutes to walk. Next is 22'-25' Godzilla Falls. Then a complex series of moves through an elbow, and a hole called the bull corral leads you to a 1.5 boat length long pool which immediate precedes - The Terminator. The Terminator is big, hard rapid. After that things mellow to III-IV, and then you'll see a house on river left. Here you will encounter a fence. Walk it on river right. The take-out is about 300 yards downstream. **At least 2-3" of rain is required to get this going. There may be a gravel island on river left just downstream of the put-in. If it is covered, the level is OK. If this run is high, you may experience fear and pain. The pictures are linked from another site, if it still works. I am 90% sure they are of this creek. The length and gradient are just an estimate. Numbers are arbitrary at this point, the run is steep. Below is a profile of the creek gradient. These data are not as accurate as the gradient field above but do give a graphical feel for how the gradient is distributed.See Alabama Whitewater. As described in Alabama Whitewater, there are serious concerns both about access and about safety.

Rapid Descriptions


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11 years ago

Some photos of this creek are found a and in the book "The Natural Beauty Of Alabama".

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Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193405 01/03/06 n/a n/a