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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 6

OVERALL DROP: 6''

DIFFICULTY: 1

HAZARDS: Low bridge at mile 5.7

SECTION 6 LENGTH: 10 miles

PUT-IN: Bridge at County Road 13. (see map below).

This put-in is a slab of rock next to the bridge pier.  There is a well-beaten, not very steep path up to the parking area.  The parking area itself is a local picnic spot and is clear and open.  You may prefer to drift on down about 25 yards and take-out just as easily at a clearing on the bank.  Either way, when you park, don't block the picnic area road.

This is a scenic, relatively peaceful stretch of river, despite the appearance of the shoal just below the put-in. The river is about 125 feet wide at the put-in but gradually narrows to about 60 feet at the first low water bridge and holds this width to the take-out. (We at FLFR would love to have a comparison of the reading at the bridge on County Road 13 compared to the USGS electronic gauge at Hwy 79)

Water level can be read on the upstream end of the right-hand bridge pier at the put-in bridge. The bottom mark is 2.2. You can just barely float this entire section at 1.2 if you very carefully select a path.

The banks in the section are generally low with alternating 15 foot high banks and low hills. It is pretty well forested, with some signs of fields and pastures along the way. Below the private low water bridge the forest is thicker, the hills steeper, and there are very few signs of civilization.

One word about this private bridge: It is private as is the road to it and the land by it. On the Nectar map it is identified as a covered bridge. If you decide to use this as a alternate put-in or take-out then get permission first and leave nothing on this property but footprints.

One other word: Both this bridge and the take-out bridge have only about six feet of clearance between them and the bottom of the river. Hence the name "low water" bridge. They are covered up at high water. Being low, they present two hazards to the boater -- for one they create logjams and for the other there may not be enough clearance below the bridge to float under it. Both cases could result in broad siding, capsizing and drowning. So at a water level of about 3.0 or higher be very cautious. Make sure that you can stop the boat if you need to and that you can control it well enough to go to shore and portage if necessary. And don't get overconfident -- it's not easy to halt a boat in a fast flowing current.

The shoals in this section are generally easy. The first one below the put-in is the hardest you'll have, although at some water levels the ones at about mile 1.8 and 4.0 could be a little turbulent and tricky. The rest of the shoals will be no problem at all; in fact most of them will vanish at a level of about 2.0

There's a long "rock garden" for about 1/3 mile above mile 6i. Again, a level of 2.0 will wipe this out for the most part. Run by to the left of the big island below the private bridge. to the right of the second one, and on the left again around the last little island. There are a lot of small grass islands and shallows by the big island, and you'll have to find your own path here unless the water is high enough to cover them.

Scenery on the river is mostly forest, but there are a few low cliffs and rock formations of interest. One of these cliffs is at about mile 1. There is usually a small waterfall off the low ledge on your left about mile 1.8. At mile 4.8 there is a tremendous rock formation on your right -- a solid sloping boulder with a waterfall right down the middle of it. Don't look for this fall in the dead of summer though. The most impressive cliffs are those about mile 5.7, slightly back off the river. Watch for them just after the huge boulder on your right about 1/8 mile below the private bridge. TAKE-OUT: Bridge at Armstrong Loop / Center Springs Road. The take-out is on the left downstream side of the bridge. It's a short (about 20 foot) carry to the vehicles. This carry will be extremely slippery if it's wet. Parking is very limited, but there is room to get completely off the road. If you prefer you can unload, then drive about 50 yards further and park on a paved road, but if you do, then park well to the side. The last 1/2 mile of road to the put-in is on a sharp slope and will present problems if it's muddy. If it0 is, I suggest you buy a topo map and come in to the river on the other side.

section 6




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