Information on Blackburn Cr.
Location: The put-in can be reached by driving down off of Hwy 74.
The only real "public" access is off of the Holt
Road Loop near Devils Den State Park. Take Hwy 74 west off
of I-540 until you are just about to drop down the hill
into the State Park. When you see a "steep grade"
truck warning sign take the dirt road on your left. This is
just past a gated road on the left, and it is before the
main access to the Holt Road (near the parking area). Past
this point the roads are 4WD only! Follow the dirt road
about 1 mile. Look for a road to turn left and go steeply
downhill toward the creek. Follow this road for about 1 to
1.5 miles until you reach the creek. The road is extremely
rough in wet weather, so you may want to stop and walk down
if it looks too bad. The take out is (unfortunately) at Lee
Cr. at the Hwy 220 bridge (the put in for section 2 of Lee
Cr.). It's best to shuttle back to I-540 and then down
through Chester, because Fall Cr. will probably block you
if you take the route through Devils Den and up Hwy 220!
You can also put in by carrying down off of I-540 where it
crosses one of the far upper tributaries if there is a lot
of water in the creek. This hasn't been done yet, as far as
I know, but it is possible and will add quite a bit of
class II-III water onto the run.
Topo Quad(s): ???
Gradient: 25 fpm
Length: 8 mi.
Gauge: Lee Cr. should be above 6.5 or so for a possible Blackburn
run. If Lee is above 7.5 and assuming an even distribution
of rainfall in the watershed, Blackburn will have plenty of
water. Be careful that all of the water in Lee isn't
comming from Fall Cr. and Upper Lee Cr. (i.e. Devils Den
Park), which can happen. If Lee Cr. is over 10 feet expect
a much more serious ride down Blackburn. At over 15 feet on
the Lee Cr. gauge, strainers make much of the creek a death
trap, and other good area creeks are just hitting their
prime. A flood run on Blackburn would just be a dangerous
waste of time.
Hazards: Strainers and downed trees are the main hazard. There are a
few good hydraulics to look out for too though.
Description: Blackburn Cr. is a great class II+ wilderness run that has
been overlooked for years. The creek was probably first
run in the mid 80's, but very few boaters have ever done
it. The biggest problem is finding a put-in. When I-540
first opened, one of the comments I heard the most from
boaters was that it crossed Blackburn Cr. tributaries
several times and would provide a potential public access
to the creek. While I still don't know anyone who has
tried this, it is a very real possibility. Asuuming you
can find a good way to get to the creek, you'll have a
bouncy run through several miles of wild country. There
are plenty of strainers along the way and lots of fast
curves and swift rapids. Other than the trees, there are
no really serious hazards for competent class II-III
boaters. If the water is high (e.g. Lee Cr. is over 10 to
12 feet), watch out for some dangerous hydraulics,
especially an almost river-wide "hole-o-death"
that forms just past the Hart Cr. confluence on Lee Cr. At
high levels, Blackburn becomes pushy enough to elevate
some rapids into the class III category, but the strainers
become nearly unavoidable. It's probably a good idea to
find another run when the creek is running full tilt. At
any level, all boaters should be experienced with fast
class II-III water and dodging strainers.
Return to Index