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THE LOCUST FORK RIVER

WARNING: THESE PAGES ARE BASED ON A BOOK THAT IS MORE THAN 20 YEARS OLD. THE RIVER CHANGES. BRIDGES CHANGE. ROADS CHANGE. OUR HOPE IS TO UPDATE THIS INFORMATION AS WE LEARN ABOUT THE CHANGES.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT 'MOB MAPPING'

OVERVIEW SECTION 1 SECTION 2 SECTION 3 SECTION 4 SECTION 5 SECTION 6 SECTION 7

USGS River Level USGS River Level
click here to check the river level at Hwy 79

SECTION 1

OVERALL DROP: 7.4'  

DIFFICULTY: 1

HAZARDS: None

SECTION 1 OVERALL LENGTH: 10 miles

Hwy 14 bridge to Hwy 26 bridge length = 8 miles

Hwy 26 bridge to Cold Branch Road = 2 miles


PUT-IN: Hwy 14 bridge

County Hwy 14 in Snead, aka Lurleen Drive, bridge is a good access. Put in on river right, then park your car on the other side of the bridge.

This is a pleasant, easy run with frequent small shoals and a few harder ones thrown in for interest.   Minimum water level to float this trip with no problems is 1.4, but you will have to be a little selective of your path in places at this level.  A level of 2' should give you an easy float.

The river is about 50 feet wide at the put-in and holds this width to the take=out.  This stretch is typified by eight to 10 foot high dirt banks, usually steep and usually going back flat to very low hills off the river.  There are also a few low cliffs off the river.  The shores are heavily forested, mostly hardwood, and the ride is pretty and interesting.  There is a great variety of trees on this run and quite a few relatively rare cardinal flowers.

The length from County Hwy 14 to County Hwy 26 bridge is 8 miles. There are numerous small shoals, rocky peninsulas, and islands.  These peninsulas and islands would require some care at higher, swifter water level. After 4.5 miles there are remains of an old bridge. From this point there is a series of very small shoals with the area in between filled with small grass islands, small rocks, and rocky peninsulas out from the shore.  Many would become shallows or vanish at a level of about 1.8.  These shoals are all very easy with gradual drops not exceeding about 12 inches.

At the end of the long pool there is a rock island in the middle of the river with upturned 36 inch high slabs on it.  Watch this in higher water.  On the left by the next pool you'll see the only large rock formation on this stretch and past the next shoals you can spot a low line of cliffs off the river on your right.


The next couple of shoals are a little harder and would probably have standing waves at higher water, but they're still very easy. After the next long quiet pool you will find several more of these island, shallow, small shoal areas.  These are a little longer but simple as are the shoals following them
As you come in sight of the County 26 bridge, there is a shoal with about a 24 inch gradual drop.  Another similar shoal is just below the bridge.  Both would probably have standing waves at higher water. 

Just below the bridge, note the old concrete-filled 24 inch steel pipe bridge foundations.  The ones on the left shore are still standing, but the ones on the right have fallen into the river and could be a definite hazard at about 2.4 and up.

PUT-IN AT COUNTY HWY 26 BRIDGE:
The banks are high, steep and slippery and should be used with care. Take-out would be very difficult and not recommended. Parking is available down the road at an abandoned store. From the shoal below this bridge on down to the next take-out is a long pool with only two minor shoals.  You'll notice some clearings and fields on your left slightly back from the river.

PUT-IN / TAKE-OUT AT COLD BRANCH ROAD:
The take-out is easy.  A gradual dirt bank and only about a 25 foot carry.  Parking is down a little dirt road off the main dirt road with room for about six vehicles and no turn-around space.  Again you can park on the side of the main road but get off of it as far as you can. 


Map section 1





Links to other sites with information or photos of section 1:

Every Trail - 2010 outing by Southeastern Outings

Every Trail - Nelson's Gap

 

 




    Please contact us if you have any updated information about the river