Elk Creek, East fork, Virginia, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||165 fpm|
East Fork of Elk Creek is located along Forest Service Road 35 just outside the James River Face
Wilderness Area in central VA. I wouldn’t suggest driving far for this little gem, but if
you’re already in the area and everything else is high it’s worth a look. This small
micro creek rarely has enough water, but when it does it rewards paddlers with 2 miles of
non-stop class III-IV boulder action with the best rapids contained in the final 1/2-mile. The
continuous nature of this creek is reminiscent of paddling in the Smoky Mountains of TN and as
with all small creeks paddlers should be on the constant lookout for wood. Luckily much of this
creek can be scouted from the road while running shuttle. When it has enough water to paddle
there are few eddies on the entire creek so take the time to check for wood before putting on,
then you can enjoy bombing down. On 10/7/06 we only had to get out around 2 trees.
With its easy access I wouldn’t be surprised if this creek had been previously explored, however it runs so infrequently I have my doubts. Anyone with additional information or photos is encouraged to comment here or contact me. My knowledge of the history of this run is as follows: Craig Granfield and I (Adam Goshorn) ran a section of this creek including Folded Falls early in the spring of 2003. John Howard also reports a run on Folded Falls later that same spring. Brandon Hughett and I made a run on 10/7/06 from a little below the first road bridge (near Sulfur Springs Trailhead) to the rapid below the second road bridge.
Lat/longitude coordinates are approximate, from Google Maps.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.7||Bow Up (part 1)||IV|
|1.7||Bow Up (part 2)||III+|
|1.8||Above Folded Falls||III|