Boss Hollow, Arkansas, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||140 fpm|
|Max Gradient||210 fpm|
|Richland Creek near Witts Spring, AR|
|usgs-07055875||6.00 - 12.00 ft||III-IV+||00h59m||1.66 ft (too low)|
Note: The combination of Steep banks and lots of deadfalls tend to clog the creek with wood from time to time, so keep look out.
This is a very small creek. Tight slots, fast slides, waterfalls, undercuts. Highlight is "The Boss".
Gradient per mile: 190, 170, 90, 90 ft/mi. The Boss and steepest gradient is in first half of second mile.
Put-in: Turn West from Hwy 7 at the "Who Would Have Thought It Gift Shop" North of Lurton. Take the left-hand fork (Newon County Road 7080) ~1.2 miles to the 6th 4WD road to the left. Park and carry or drive 0.75 mile (4WD only) to a cable/gate. An ATV trail leads downhill just before the gate. Drag downhill about 0.5 miles to put-in (elevation ~1560).
Take-out: Reach the take out by taking the right fork (Newon County Road 7050) at the gift shop down the hill to Hurricane Creek. At the bottom of the hill the road forks. The left fork (7050) fords a creek. If creek is high (which is needed for the Boss to be at a good level) park here and plan to carry boats out 0.5 mile after the run. Please park on the side of the road and not on any private property. If crossable, drive 0.5 mile to gate near remnents of a burned house. Turn right in front of gate and park near the creek. Alternate is for a long paddle on Hurricane Creek at big water to the Hwy 123 access on the Big Piney.
The creek starts out fast and narrow dropping over several small slides and ledges. Approximately 0.25 miles there is a small ledge into a small pool. Now the tight and technical section starts. Lots of pin possibilities here. This is where the "Toilet Bowl" and "Baby Boss Slide" are encountered. These are followed shortly by "Face Slap Falls" and "Sycamore Slot".
After several more extended fast continuous rapids there is another small ledge into a small pool. The exit to the pool is usually cluttered/blocked with logs. Scout on the right bank. This is the entrance to "THE BOSS". This is the combination of the entrance slots "Performance Evaluation", the big slide "Broken Paddle" and the last ledge "Half a Paddle". Pick your way around the wood or carry. Run down the main channel to the left through a slot, over a ledge and down a narrow slide and hang a 90 degree right to the big slide. Make sure you slide down the right half of the slide to avoid the nasty vertical pin potential on the left side. The last ledge into a small pool can create a strong hydraulic. Drive left against the wall for the best escape from the hole.
Very shortly (100-150 yds) the creek takes a sharp turn to the left and funnels down a 3-4 ft. wide slot. This is "The Undercut!" A large house foundation sized slab rock at least 50% undercut. Run as far left as possible. (up on the wall is my preferred route) The next 0.3 miles to just above the confluence with Buck Branch is known as "Cheesegrater". A long continuous shoal with several surf holes. At low water it feels like a your sliding down a cheesegrater. (At least your boat will be lighter for the carry out!). Shortly below the end of the slide the creek narrows and funnels through a nasty strainer formed by the root wad of live tree, boof over or portage. The final 2 miles down Buck Branch have many class III drops and several play spots.
Beware in this section for downed trees and two notable undercuts. The first one is on far river right below a nice surf ledge/hole. The second is not far downstream and is nasty. This undercut is a huge flat rock facing upstream like an open mouth. The main current flows directly into and under the rock. Large eddies are above it on both sides and it is avoidable and noticeable, but it will gobble up wayward paddlers. (In April 2004 an offline paddler ran into and under this rock and disappeared in a creekboat. Luckily there weren't any snags and he flushed out the side a couple seconds later.)
Check out some video from this creek in the Ozark Update section of LVM issue #13.
More info and photos at:
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|-0.5||4WD Put-in Parking||N/A|
|0.6||Face Slap Falls||IV|
|1.2||The Undercut & Cheesegrater||IV|
|3.9||High Water Take-out Parking||N/A|
Park and follow the road to the gate, then down the hill on the old road. Continue to the gate if you have 4WD.
Drive around to the gate and then follow the old road down to the creek
Put-in is bedrock and a continous slide for 400 yards ending in a small eddy/pool.
Tight slot moves with lots of pin potential. A feeder creek with a 20+ ft waterfall enters from the left. The waterfall lands in a small and shallow pool.
The confluence rapid leads into a split. The two channels converge in a boiling slot move. Below is another small eddy/pool.
Small steep slide with pin potential on both banks and a sticky hole at the bottom. Another small eddy/pool at the bottom is followed by fast tight creeking for the next couple hundred yards.
The fast shallow channel narrows between the willows and leads to a horizonline. Brace for the slap from the willow branches at the lip and drop over the ledge and into a fast flume. The creek turns left at the bottom of the flume to the next drop.
A large Sycamore tree in the middle of the creek separates a steep rocky drop on the left from the slot boof move on the right. More slides and fun slot moves continue for next .3 miles.
Look for a slide ending in a small ledge into a small eddy/pool. This signals 'The Boss'. Consists of three sections as the creek drops 40+ in the next 150 yards. First is 'Performance Evaluation', a couple boulder slot moves into a narrow slide. Second is the sharp turn onto the big slide 'Broken Paddle'. Third is the bottom ledge into a sticky hole, 'Half a Paddle'.
Shortly after the pool below The Boss, the water funnels to the left and drop beside and partially under a large undercut. The next 1/3 plus miles is a shallow and continuous slide that is likely to reduce the weight of your boat hull.
The confluence with Buck Branch. The volume doubles and the creek opens up a bit, but still lots of good class III-IV action to come. An old road bed follows the creek from here on down incase it is needed.
Noteable undercut. This undercut is a huge flat rock facing upstream like an open mouth. The main current flows directly into and under the rock. Large eddies are above it on both sides and it is avoidable and noticeable, but it will gobble up wayward paddlers.
Park along the road if the small creek is too high to cross. This area is private property, so don't block the road or tresspass.