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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 Water Level
click here to check the river level at Hwy 79

SECTION 3

OVERALL DROP: 23'

DIFFICULTY: 2 - 3

HAZARDS: Up to Class 4 rapids

SECTION 3 LENGTH : 3.4 miles


PUT-IN: U.S. Hwy 231 (aka State Hwy 79). See map below.

The put in is under the U.S. Hwy 231 (State Hwy 79) bridge or just downstream on the left. Directly under the bridge is steep but short. The other put-in is a trail through the woods on the left bank at highway level that is gradual but longer. Take your choice. Parking is on a very wide shoulder, so you won't have any problems being well off the road. WARNING! Some vandalism has been experienced at this put-in!

This section of the Locust Fork is "whitewater" and can range from a bottom-dragging, rock-picking trip up to Class 4 rapids depending on the water level. The rapids occur from the State 79 put-in to Scarum Bluff (Section 4); after that there are shoals only to just below the County 160 bridge.

This map was made at a water gauge reading 2.1. At this level you can float through everything and the rapids (Class 1 and 2) are no particular hazard although they are still perfectly capable of destroying your boat.

THIS IS NO STRETCH TO BOAT ALONE! Only skilled river canoeists should venture on it at a level of 2.6 or better. Above 4.0 it's best to stay off of it.

The river is about 100 feet wide at the put-in but averages 50-75 feet with much "necking down" to less than this by rocks out from the shore. This is an extremely scenic stretch. Numerous rock formations occur in the river and on the shore, and there are some quite pretty sand beaches scattered along. Several high cliffs plunge straight into the water, and a lot of lower ones pretty up the hillsides back off the bank. There are no signs of civilization except the bridges themselves, and the whole valley is lovely.

Most of the shoals and rapids have a very noticeable drop in elevation; a few have an abrupt drop. At higher water levels many of them will have big standing waves that are quite likely to swamp an open boat.

The first rapid likely to cause you any trouble is "House Rock", so named because of the enormous boulder on the left of the river and just below the rapid. Rock formations on the right squeeze the river to the left toward House Rock. When running this, stay to the right side of the rapid (about a five foot, 45 degree drop). If you go to the left side, you may be swept under House Rock. Watch for the powerful eddy on the right side below the rapid. It, too, can flip you.

At mile 2 the river takes a long downhill curve. The rock ledge on the map has to be avoided by ferrying to the left. This is complicated a bit by having to enter the stretch on the right because of the shallowness of the water. If you just follow the outside of the curve, you'll be swept over the ledge. Immediately below this curve is "Double Trouble" -- so called because it is two trouble spots separated by a short pool.  The upper part is in a blind curve to the left. Pull out on the left and scout it if you've never run it before. To run it, approach it as close to the rocks on the left as you can. You may run to either side of the pyramidal rock halfway down the drop, but don't rely on the current to take you by it -- it won't. At the end of the pool you may run through the rocks and far to the left and have a 12 inch drop or less depending on the water level, or run just to the left of the big boulder on the right-hand shore. By just to the left, I mean practically scraping. This is about a 30 inch straight down drop, but the slot is clear. Most of the rest of the rough spots from here to Swann Bridge should give you no great trouble. The rapid just pas mile 3 is best run on a long diagonal from right to left. All of them will have big standing waves at 3.0 or better.

Some of the prettier places along here are the high cliffs on your left just above mile 2 and mile 3 and the sand beaches on your left at mile 3. The most spectacular cliffs are about .3 mile above Swann Bridge on your left.

TAKE-OUT :The take-out is on the right just at the covered bridge. Parking under the bridge is easy and you can drive right around in a circle and back onto the road.







GOOGLE MAP OF THE LOCUST FORK RIVER




PHOTOS and LINKS FOR SECTION 3


View of bluffs from Swann Bridge


OTHER LINKS

Kayaking Double Trouble

Alabama Whitewater



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