Harrods Creek is a fun and scenic Class II run with large boulders at the bottom of a wooded gorge. It averages 25-40 feet wide. You will find several islands but even at high levels you will easily be able to find the best route. The best part of Harrods Creek is between the KY 53 bridge and 393 bridge. You will find a few good Class II Surf Spots and one Class III surf hole a little before reaching the KY393 bridge.If you choose to run a different section other than KY 53 to KY 393 you will need to watch out for riverwide strainers. These are easily to avoid and portage.Sections:KY 53 to KY 393 (Whitewater Section) - 5.7 milesKY 393 to KY 1694 - 7.0 milesKY 1694 to KY 329 - 8.5 milesKY 329 to Ohio River - 8.5 miles
Early Spring 2006:
The Run: 53 to 393 to 1649 bridge, 800CFS
Someone on AWW.org said that 53-393 wasn’t runnable at 500 and to try it at 1000, but we were going to try 800 anyways. It was extremely boring and slow at first, but then we finally got to the first ledge. Surfing, laughing, and taking pictures the whole time with my waterproof disposable, I thought it was the best rapid I have ever been on. Next the whole woods open up and you will see this 1+ foot ledge on the left side of the creek only, hurry and don’t miss it. But at 800 CFS I couldn’t even get over it due to lack of water. I bet around 1600-2000 CFS this would be a great surf spot, the ledge is sooo wide. Right after that there are a bunch of tiny ledges in a row. I remember one drop being the coolest scenery ever, I thought I was in Daniel Boone forest for a second, big boulders along the sides of the creek. The drop was big but had a small wave train at the low level. Then there is it's prime attraction the class III ledge; it was exactly like the other ledge on river left, but I was on the right, and my brother is yelling “hurry get the camera” and I am yelling I can’t. I was sideways and highsideing allot to prevent being tipped in my 20 dollar 2 man raft. I can take that thing the worst way down the lateral wave on Elkhorn’s S-turn leaning to the side as it flushes me out trying to flip me over and over again, but it can’t. This wave at Harrods had some major power, but surely wasn’t a solid class III at 800 CFS, because escape was too easy. We lost the camera there of course, and one of my friends started becoming hypothermic on this 60 degree day and he had on his sleeveless shirt.
Right before you get to the 393 bridge, be looking up, there is some rock formations up there that look like something out of an Idaho desert. The perfectly slanted Grey muddy bank looked exactly like this creek I was looking at in California once. Be careful, the 393 bridge had a massive pileup, but I scouted back and forth and saw that there was a small and decent opening, the drop took my breath away, it was a decent one, I think the logs made the drop better because of the restriction. My friend starts shivering pretty bad, so we start moving along real fast. Along the way it looked like something out of Goonies, we saw 3 giant 100 - 200 foot waterfalls, some had muddy bowl looking slides for the first 100 feet. I wanted to paddle up the feeder creeks so we could see a much better view, but my friend was too cold, I never saw the bottom of a single one.
Next is where the danger happens. About 3.5 miles after the 393 bridge we see a giant massive logjam, and we all pullover. I try and tell my hypothermic friend to walk around while my brother and I catch this eddy located in the middle of log jam city. Without my knowledge he decides to follow us, and he tries to ferry across because I taught him that move earlier, but the current was too swift, and he ran out of juice. He is heading for the worst strainer I have ever seen. Two giant logs arranged like a V pointed downstream like this ^ and a giant suck-hole that was shooting water in the air and twirling allot. It looked like a picture of this killer whirlpool in one of my rafting books. My brother sees that there is a log crossing the creek above him and yells to him JUMP JUMP! I couldn’t believe he was able to jump and bear-hug this massive tree with his legs and arms like he did, hell I couldn’t believe the tree was even there. My brother already went running down a log to go get him after he yelled, and he leaned forward and grabbed him with one arm scooping him up. I couldn't believe what I saw but I think adrenaline had a lot to do with it. The whole time that was going on I was trying to get the rope which was in the bottom of our gear bag(a lesson learned: keep it on top). Finally we get to this guys driveway after 1649 only to find our car is gone. Our friends girlfriend got sick of waiting and drove off, we finally get our cell phone working and call her to come back and pick us up “ya your boyfriend is just about hypothermic right now and he almost died earlier”.
While waiting we talked to the guy who lived there and he said he had gone canoeing from 1649 - 329 the day before and the rapids were so big it sank his canoe, and he even lost it. I checked and it was running at 3000 – 8000 CFS all day. He swore it was the best section, but he had never even run the 53 – 393 section, ha ha.
Just ran harrods 4/8/06 from hwy 1694 to covered bridge. It was 580 cfs and more flow was needed i would recommend 1000cfs for standing waves and rapids class 2. at 580 it was a nice run without rapids.We couldn't start at hwy53 because of lack of flow. long story short run it at 1000 cfs and watch out for strainers. Most rapids are from hwy53 to hwy 1694. we saw wood ducks, geese, beaver, 7 deer, and a red tailed hawk on the bank eating a squirrel.
this is a great creek, yes its true class 2,s if the water is up. must rain for about two days straight for good levels. on hwy393 bridge walk underneath if the water is at the dinglehopper tag your in business. start at 53 and pull out at covered bridge road unless you want to go flatwater for a few miles to the river. all rapids are inbetween these roads. lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery grea bass fishing as well
The best level that I have seen on Harrods Creek is 500cfs from KY 53 to KY 393. At 500cfs Harrods Creek produces quality Class II rapids.
Although Harrods Creek can be ran much higher, one should keep in mind that it does not have much gradient and the character of the run will begin to wash out at higher levels. Please be careful with downed trees in this creek. The wood can be very dangerous at any water levels but more dangerous at high levels. A swim on Harrods Creek at high water levels could be very dangerous.
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