Holston, South Fork - Damascus to Alvarado

Holston, South Fork, Virginia, US


Damascus to Alvarado

Usual Difficulty II(III) (for normal flows)
Length 8 Miles
Avg. Gradient 30 fpm
Max Gradient 30 fpm

Kevin on the South Fork Holston

Kevin on the South Fork Holston
Photo of Kevin Kelley taken 12/31/07 @ 500 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03473000 200 - 3000 cfs II(III) 00h57m 143 cfs (too low)

River Description

This river is a great run during every season. There are several nice drops and there is one class three at higher levels. It's very fun to run any day of the week. If you have about three hours to spare, grab your gear and come on down to the South Fork of the Holston. At higher levels the river runs very swiftly. This is due to the fact that in most places it is 50 feet wide at the most. If you happen to come out of your boat be prepaired to swim hard and for a long time. The most interesting rapid is about a 1/2 mile from the metal bridge (you will know the bridge when you see it). This rapid is frequently refered to as Tripple Drop and Three-Falls. In order to run this correctly, start off river left and go towards the right. There are some major rocks that one could hit and bust a boat up really well. Half-way down the rapid you want to stay towards the right.


There are several put-ins. One is located right past the Drowning Ford bridge on Route 58 going towards Damascus. Take 58 towards Damascus. You will go down a hill for a good distance and then the road will go to the right around the side of a mountain. There is a road on the right just after you cross the bridge. Take a right and you will see an area that is safe to park your car. You can carry boats down to the river, across the Creaper Trail, and hop right into the river. Be ready as soon as you enter the water because one of the major rapids (Drowning Ford) of the river is just downstream. Other Put-Ins are along Drowning Ford Road.

In order to get to the take out, follow the signs on Route 58 to the Vineyard. Go past the Vineyard for about 1/2 of a mile and you will see an opening with picnic tables and cars parked in a lot along the road. This is Alvarado. DO NOT PARK IN THE GRASS! The owner gets very angry at those who do.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-05-07 11:22:42

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

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