From Cherry Street Extension Walnut quickly enters into a narrow gorge, (except for the part you can see from Barnes and Noble and the Wendy's drive thru where the creek is much wider) but the whitewater remains tame for a while. The first 2 miles are mostly Class I with a few downed trees that you have to portage and few Class II ledges interspersed. I live close by this section and maintain it with a chainsaw, but new strainers are a pretty frequent. At mile 2.1, a footbridge marks the beginning of the larger ledges which are sometimes too shallow to be interesting, but nonetheless, two Class III ledges abound after this point. The two Class III's are 10 to 12 feet in height dropping over 30 yard stretches. The first one is right beside the Kentucky Fried Chicken (The Colonel's Rotisserie.) You can recognize it by a tall metal gate on the right side of the creek and extends part way into the water. Here a small wide drop leads into a cascade that crashes into the right bank and pours into a round pool that has a nice wave train in it at some levels. The round pool offers great eddy access to the wave train. You can ride "The Rotisserie" upstream to surf in the wave train. Immediately downstream, a wide ledge (Barnes and Noble Ledge) leads into a small drop off. The drop off hole is good for surfing at some levels, especially on the right side. After one more small ledge beside the Wendy's (Dave Thomas's), you will pass under Peach Street and the creek once again becomes flat and flowing with a few riffles down to the Bridger Park take out (near the old Dollar Theater and Erie Institute of Technology.)
Use caution with water levels on the section! There is a narrow window of acceptable levels due to some nasty strainers that come up quickly on blind bends. Please read the gauge information carefully on this page.
This section is very narrow throughout most of the run and has a very small catch basin. For this reason, the reach may be available after a brief summer thunderstorm with torrential rains of 1/2" or more. The strange thing is, Lower Walnut and all of Elk Creek may not even run on such a day! Such a flash flood spreads out as it moves downstream and doesn't significantly affect the water levels on larger reaches. I call these short severe thunderstorms "gauly washers."
Access is really good for this section. To get to the Put-In take Kuntz Rd across Peach St from the mall. Go 2 or 3 miles until you come to a T at Cherry Street Extension. Go down the hill to a substation before the bridge. There is room for a couple of cars, but don't block access to the site.
Park anywhere from Sears Auto to the parking lot near the Erie Institute of Technology. The best is across from Bridger Park on the left side of the creek. The bank is slightly steep, but is set up for erosion control and offers good footing. You can literally park 20 feet from the water. You can park at Bridger Park on the right side but there is only one non-handicapped parking spot and it makes the shuttle a little longer. None the less, this park is very nice and is a great addition to the fantastic parks program for Millcreek Township. Thank you to all who contributed to making this site beautiful with the hiking trails.
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Oh, I remember you Ryan from the Three Rivers Message board. Sorry I haven't been on for a while. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone is 814-402-0882. Hope to see you on the water soon!
5 years ago
by Jonathan Janicki
The Walnut gauge is not very useful for this section. By the time the water gets down to Manchester Road (where the guage is located) the level of Upper Walnut may have gone up or down dramatically.
Use caution with water levels on the section! There is a narrow window of acceptable levels due to some nasty strainers that come up quickly on blind bends. The best way to check the level is to scout the big ledge from the Barnes and Noble parking lot or from the Wendy's drive thru. If this wide ledge looks very boney but runnable, you should have enough water. If it looks really fast and deep enough to not scrape much, you may have too much water to deal with upstream trees. Brandy Run is useful for this section. The level in Brandy should rise .2 ft from it's pool level for Upper Walnut to be available. This correlates to .85 ft in the summer or .95 ft in the winter.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Canoes at the Gate
Upper Walnut Gorge
Colonel's Rotisserie rafting
Upper Walnut Put-In
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