Wolf Bayou, Arkansas, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||55 fpm|
|Max Gradient||165 fpm|
Note: The combination of Steep banks and lots of dead red oak trees (thanks to
the borer beetle infestation) tend to clog the creek with wood from time to time, so keep look
Put-in: Located on Galens Road. Go 2.3 miles North on Hwy 25 from the junction of Hwy 5 at the community of Wolf Bayou. Turn North onto Galens Road (dirt) and go about a mile to a fork. Go through the right gate which should be open. Continue down this road (4-WD) for another mile to the creek. Park on the left just before reaching the creek. (Elevation 615) This is a private road so please be respectful, especially during hunting season. Optional access is to park at the gate and carry/drag the rest of the way to the creek.
Take-out: Hwy 14 bridge. From the Put-in, continue North on Hwy 25 through Concord. Turn left (West) on Hwy 14 at Locust Grove at the bottom of the mountain. Go 6.3 miles to the creek. Park on the East side of the creek upstream of the bridge on the old roadway. Leave room for other vehicles to access the adjacent field. (Elevation 270)
Main rapids are in first mile which drops 110 feet. 0.3 miles at 165 ft/mile.
The first 0.3 miles consists of a shallow bedrock shoals and ledges offering some play potential.
A tall bluff on river left will appear and the creek will make a sharp bend back to the right. The first slot move is located at the start of the bend. Go either side of the boulder. A short pool leads to a broken 4-ft ledge. Cleanest line is a boof about 1/3 of the way out from the right bank.
The main drops come in quick succession after this ledge. 'Wolf Bite', 'Road To Grandmother's House', 'Grandmother's House' and main attraction 'Wolf Whistle'.
After 'Wolf Whistle', the remaining 5.5 miles of creek offer some nice class II to III+ rapids among the pools. The gorge offers wonderful scenery with the towering bluffs and cascading waterfalls. The creek exits the gorge about a mile above the take-out as the gradient eases and offers more willow jungles to negotiate.
No official gauge: Look for 1.5" or more rain in the area. If the ledge at the put-in looks runnable (water all the way across the creekbed) there should be enough. Level at the Hwy 14 bridge should look good. If it looks like you'll scrape then the creek is too low. A good way to gauge is to check the put-in for Possum Walk. If Possum Walk level looks good, Wolf Bayou is likely good too.
|> 10 years||Wolf Bayou [AR]||Wolf Whistle||n/a||Lance Jones|
|> 10 years||Wolf Bayou [AR]||Wolf Bite||n/a||Lance Jones|
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.4||Road To Grandmother's House||IV|
The first notable drop is next. 'Wolf Bite' at Mile 0.33 A short bluff extends from river right and a bedrock shelf extends from river left. The drop consists of an 8-10 ft ledge/slide with a turn and slight undercut at the bottom. Enter the tongue a few feet from the right bank, ride the pillow to the left as you accelerate down the rest of the drop. Quickly eddy left or steer right to avoid the undercut wall on the bottom that the current goes directly into. The undercut is more likely to cause a momentary flip and potential swim, but has potential to hold you a while. The bedrock shelf on the left offers easy scouting, safety, photos and portaging. Also very easy to carry up and run multiple times. At higher water, a nice boof may be available on the left side of the drop.
Most of the water heads down the left side with several tight moves to make. A large eddy on the left below a steep bank signals the middle of the drop. Follow the water to the right for the bottom half which is a little steeper as Five Branch enters from the right. Park the boats on river left when the undercut bluff on the right appears.
The bluff marks the entrance. The Big Bad Wolf is hiding here waiting to gobble up Little Red Riding Hood. The creek disappears under the river right bluff as it drops over two small ledges. The bottom ledge is runable at lower levels. A high water channel may open up to the left starting at the middle eddy in the previous rapid.
Two small ledge drops lead into a 12-ft slot waterfall. Take a little speed into the tongue and a good boof stroke to clear the hole at the bottom and smile for the camera! Look back up stream and give it a wolf whistle for how good it looks!