Big Creek (Stokes Co.) - Forrest Road to Lynchburg Road

Big Creek (Stokes Co.), North Carolina, US


Forrest Road to Lynchburg Road

Usual Difficulty II-III(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 3.5 Miles

Big Creek/Stokes County, NC

Big Creek/Stokes County, NC
Photo of Robert Myrick by Greg Simoneau taken 02/23/03 @ 3.3 feet

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02068500 2.00 - 4.00 ft II-III(IV) 01h10m 2.42 ft (running)

River Description

Big Creek is about 40 mins. from Winston-Salem. There is a flat water paddle before you come to the short gorge section. There are a few small drops and then you come to Mill Rapid, the biggest on the creek. Get out on river right to scout. After Mill Rapid there are a few more fun drops and then you come to loop-de-loop the 2nd biggest drop on the creek, it is about a 6 foot drop on river right that can squirt you at the bottom. At high water there are some small surf waves on the lower stretch before you come to the bridge at Lynchburg Road.

This creek can be run in anything from a playboat to a creek boat to an OC.

Take out:
Go hwy. 89 above Danbury and and take a left onto Lynchburg Road. As soon as you turn onto Lynchburg Road you will cross over Big Creek. Park on the right side of the road before you cross the bridge, this is the side of the creek that you will carry your boat out from under the bridge (river left).

Put in:
Continue up Hwy. 89 and take a left onto Forrest Road. About .9 miles down Forrest Road you will see a driveway on the left and an old tobacco barn -- this is the put in. DO NOT block the driveway, park on the side of the road and out of the way.
There is another put in that will eliminate the long flat water paddle before the gorge section but it is private property and NO PARKING is allowed. You may arrange to get someone from Hanging Rock Outdoor Center to drop you off.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2004-07-13 17:41:05


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Entering Mill RapidPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Entering Mill Rapid

Big Creek/Stokes County, NC

Big Creek/Stokes County, NC
Photo of Greg Simoneau by Robert Myrick taken 02/23/03 @ 3.3 feet

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 6 2011 (2757 days ago)
bkelble (152975)
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
November 17 2009 (3353 days ago)
x (1)
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
June 10 2009 (3513 days ago)
zack88sipper (150530)
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.
June 10 2009 (3513 days ago)
zack88sipper (150530)
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.
April 13 2008 (3936 days ago)
Delane HeathDetails
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.
October 31 2007 (4101 days ago)
Mike ClearyDetails
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.
September 11 2006 (4515 days ago)
x (1)
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.
September 5 2006 (4521 days ago)
x (1)
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 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....
September 1 2006 (4525 days ago)
Kevin ColburnDetails
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.

Kevin Colburn
January 12 2004 (5489 days ago)
Dale SwansonDetails
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