Otter Creek Alpena Gap to the Dry Fork

Hendricks, West Virginia

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Otter Creek flows out of a roadless wilderness that’s home to black bear, turkey, and visiting backpackers. It’s little, steep, and hard to catch up. A hiking trail, the remains of an old logging road, parallels the river for most of its length. It’s well worth walking this beautiful stream even if you have no intention of running it. Upper Otter Creek is very steep and isolated. It should be considered an expedition, and only the most capable boaters should even consider it. The “hard” drops on the lower section are similar to the “easy” drops on the upper section! There are also a number of steep slides and boulder rapids to contend with, as well as one waterfall. The upper stretch has fewer downed trees than the lower, but you still need to watch out for trapped debris. For the first 4 miles, Otter Creek meanders through a marshy area before beginning its 200-fpm descent to the Big Springs Gap Trail. About 6 miles into the trip the river steepens noticeably, entering a 4-mile stretch with a gradient of over 240 fpm. After two slides, a large tributary enters, greatly increasing the flow. Below here, a 15-foot waterfall lands on rocks!
A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia

DESCRIPTION FROM:

A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia

by Charlie Walbridge et al (Menasha Ridge Press)

Otter Creek flows out of a roadless wilderness that’s home to black bear, turkey, and visiting backpackers. It’s little, steep, and hard to catch up. A hiking trail, the remains of an old logging road, parallels the river for most of its length. It’s well worth walking this beautiful stream even if you have no intention of running it.

Upper Otter Creek is very steep and isolated. It should be considered an expedition, and only the most capable boaters should even consider it. The “hard” drops on the lower section are similar to the “easy” drops on the upper section! There are also a number of steep slides and boulder rapids to contend with, as well as one waterfall. The upper stretch has fewer downed trees than the lower, but you still need to watch out for trapped debris.

For the first 4 miles, Otter Creek meanders through a marshy area before beginning its 200-fpm descent to the Big Springs Gap Trail. About 6 miles into the trip the river steepens noticeably, entering a 4-mile stretch with a gradient of over 240 fpm. After two slides, a large tributary enters, greatly increasing the flow. Below here, a 15-foot waterfall lands on rocks!

©  Charlie Walbridge et al/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Hendricks
Distance: 27.1
Duration: 2 sections range from 3 - 7 hours
Class: Class IV-V
Local Maps: USGS Bowden, Parsons, Mozark Mountain
Driving Directions: Directions to Otter Creek: Alpena Gap to the Dry Fork

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