Just to confirm - took my first run down Big Creek yesterday ... 1.8' on the Dan River/Francisco guage indicates much frustration on Big Creek. Loop-de-loop was unrunnable.
However, really looking forward to hitting this sweet little Triad gem at 2.5' the next time it's hitting.
CAUTION: I just spoke with the owners of the land at the put-in and take out referenced on this page. The land currently being used for the put in is private, and the landowner is no longer willing to permit paddlers to use his land - because people have been blocking his driveway. DO NOT USE THE RECOMMENDED PUT IN, or you may be towed or charged with trespassing. The landowner was very polite, but simply no longer wishes to provide public access on his private land due to the behavior of paddlers abusing the privilege.
That call was followed up by a call from the the landowner at the referenced take-out, who has similar concerns. He expressed his view that their is no legal way to access the river near the mentioned take out and that even paddling down the stream constituted trespassing. He was clear that he intends to call the sheriff if people access the river on his property, and maybe even if they paddle through. While it is unclear if there is an easement at the bridge sufficient to provide public access at the takeout, until this is researched by someone paddlers are encouraged not to use the take out either.
AW staff have not visited this area or researched this matter fully, but based on the calls we just recieved it appears clear that boaters should no longer use the current put in which is clearly private and should avoid using the take out as well.
It is illegal to walk over someones land to get to or from a river in NC without permission. It is totally legal to paddle down any stream capable of being paddled in NC, based on the opinion issued by the attorney general in 1998. The grey area surrounds the right to portage or scout from the stream bank.
No matter what, if you choose to paddle Big Creek, make every effort to not get out of your boat or at least out of the streambed. Do not put in on these folks land. Part of supporting the public's right to paddle downstream is supporting private landowners wishes and rights, so be considerate and respectful.
Concerned paddlers are welcome to call me at 406-543-1802 to discuss this matter.
Takeout has been secured with the state of NC and the sertoma 4h camp....this entails paddling down the river about an extra mile or so on the Dan River and taking out on river right at the Moores Springs Campground....please paddle up into the mouth of Cascade creek and you will see the parking area from the creek.....Please see Paris Worthy....he lives across the street in the Big Red House....336-593-8290....call him or stop in and let him know you wish to park there....he is a paddler and an instructor at Hanging Rock Outdoor Center....
NCs laws concerning the navigability of NCs stream....
Although riparian owners have certain rights to use water, they do not actually own the water itself. All surface and ground waters are legally "waters of the State." The water, plus the fish and other aquatic life belongs to the State. (There is an exception for fish in private ponds if the fish cannot escape to or enter from public fishing waters.) Even when all of the submerged land under a water body belongs to private owners, the State owns the water, although the riparian owners continue to enjoy their riparian rights.
If the body of water that lies over privately owned submerged land can be navigated by any craft such as a canoe or a raft, then the public has a permanent right to use the water surface for all purposes of recreation and commerce, including fishing, whitewater canoeing, etc. It is not clearly settled whether the public's right to use such water bodies includes the right to wade on the privately owned stream bed for fishing or other recreation. When a stream is so small that it is no longer navigable by smaller craft such as a canoe, there is clearly no public right to wade, fish, or otherwise use or enter upon the stream.
I just wanted to pop on and mention that 2 of the 3 mentioned access points are private and the owners do not want people on their land. forrest Rd. Is private and the old access on the Dan at 89 was leased to the state, but the lease has ended. Hanging Rock Outdoor center is closed now as well. I am working on a possible access up stream of the gorge. will update if it happens
The Little Yadkin@ Dalton USGS gage can be used as a indicator of flows that may be more accurate.
The drainage is in close proximity of Big Ck and the drainage size is almost identical. If driving from afar, one might want to skip it if the Little Y is 150 cfs or falling
p.s. at the put in we didn't use the private property or at least the driveway we found a rock path from forrest road before the bridge on forrest road and parked the car down the road just a little ways on the side of the road. At the take out instead of taking out on the big creek we toke out on the bridge up stream on the dan river. It has a sign as private property that belongs to the state which personally I like better then private property owned by someone. it was a very hard paddle up stream but its only around .1 mile up stream I walked alot of it.
I ran this creek this weekend at 2.2 ft and the mill rapid was doable and fun but the rest of the trip was alot of walking. I would not go back unless its at least running around 3 ft.
I made my second trip down Big Creek last weekend. While Mill Rapid was fun at 2.5 feet, I wanted to confirm what has already been mentioned in the comments. There is no legal method of entering the river where it nears Forrest Road. The landowner allowed us to put-in that day, but he stated clearly that we were not to do so again. And it doesn't matter if shuttle is arranged or if you park elsewhere, he does not want people crossing his property to get to the river.
I was able to run Big Creek this past weekend, thanks to some needed rain. There are still put in issues , so please be sure and use a shuttle or have permission for parking. The creek is clear and safe except for Mill Rapid ..... river left or left of the big rock has a tree across the creek so scout before dropping.
Big Creek does not have a gauge yet but I do plan on making one at the Lynchburg Road bridge.
For now, you can tell what it's doing by looking at the Dan River at Francisco gauge; Big Creek enters the Dan right below Lynchburg Road. I've run it between 2 and 3.5 ft., but I know others who have run from 1.5-4.0 and the higher it is the more fun it is.
It takes a lot of rain to get it up and it usually runs off fairly quick so for instance, if the Dan has been running around 2 ft. for a few days then Big Creek may not be runnable.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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Mill Rapid - Big Creek
Big Creek / Stokes County
Big Creek/Stokes County, NC
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