This run starts off with under Brewster's Bridge. There's ample parking at the put in and good river access.
The first few miles are pretty calm. You will travel through a narrow sandstone gorge before the action picks up. At mile 4 the first rapid of significance will appear. Look for a large over hanging rock on river right. This is Decapition Rock. At lower flows the river forces you to go under the overhang, but at flows above 1500cfs the river is to high to pass under the overhang. This forces you to boof over the big rock in the middle of the river. Scouting is best on river right. If you have to boof this drop, be aware that the hole at the bottom will be very sticky. At levels over 1500cfs I would classify this as a III.
There are a few more small rapids before the confluence with Whiteoak Creek, which comes in on the right. (There is some beautiful scenery up Whiteoak Gorge, making it a fine run, if you don't mind the flatwater paddle-in). Not far down stream there will be a long flatwater section and a sandy beach area on the right with a rope swing. You are now less than 3 miles from the take out. After the beach there are some faster sections of water.
The next rapid of significance is Swimmers Rapid about 0.7 miles downstream. This is a small ledge that has a large "flipping rock" in the middle. Best run from right to left to avoid the rock. At higher levels this becomes a riverwide hole. There is a large recovery pool at the bottom.
About 1 mile past Swimmers, there are two campsites on river left. If you look closely you will see trails leading to the river from the campsites. After the campsites there are a few short rock gardens before the long flatwater paddle to the take out. Beware at lower levels as the flatwater section can be dangerous on river right. There have been numerous drownings on these sections. This is not a problem if you stay in your boat and don't get out to swim.
The take-out is on the left before the bridge.
At lower flows, run right under the overhang. At high flows (over 1500cfs), boof off the center rock and paddle hard through the hole at the bottom. Also be aware of the overhang at higher levels. It is perfectly head high and would make for a hard hit if you're too far to the right.
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We did this reach (Brewster to Burnt Mill) as an overnighter for my friend's 35th birthday - 1/12/08 - 1/13/08. I was in a kayak and my friends were in a small raft. The level at Burnt was 700 cfs when we put on and 500 cfs when we took off. It felt slightly low on day one above the White Oak Cr confluence, medium low on day one below the confluence and low on day two. Regardless, they didn't have too much trouble getting their small raft, loaded with two people, two dogs and overnight gear for three, downstream. This is a scenic run with good wilderness quality. Recommended.
A US Park Service ranger pulled up while we were preparing to put on. He advised us to not leave our rig near the new high bridge at Brewster's. Aparently, local teen agers enjoy hucking stuff off of the bridge - TVs seem to be their favorite. Park outside of the drop zone!
11 years ago
by D S
The gauge is located downstream of Burntmill Bridge at Leatherwood Ford. A flow of 100cfs is a very scrappy minimium, and makes for a long day on the water. A flow of about 1500cfs is optimial. At higher flows large riverwide holes will occur at Decapation Rock and Swimmers Rapid.
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.
Looking Downstream @ Swimmers
Looking Upstream @ Swimmers
Decap Rock - Part 2
Decap Rock - Part 1
Clear Fork in Winter
Luke Carter @ Burnt Mill Bridge
Burnt Mill Bridge
Adam Garrett @ Swimmers
Adam Garrett at Swimmers
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