Information on Upper Ellis Br.


Upper Ellis Br.

	Rating: III-IV
	TDCR: 7672
	Location: To get to the put-in, take Hwy 170 from West Fork to Devils 
		Den State Park.  Three miles before you reach Devils Den  
		turn right (west) on the Zinamon Church Rd. (unpaved).  
		Follow this road for 1/3 to 1/2 mile and turn left by  the 
		American Trash sign (the second left off of the Zinnamon 
		Rd.).  Go approx. 1 mile down this road and take the 
		first dirt road to the right (if you reach a house you've  
		gone too far).  This road is very rugged and steep and 
		you'll  pass several "NO HUNTING" signs on the way down.  
		It's private land, and getting permission from the hunting
		club that owns it might not be a bad idea.  I spoke with
		a man who lives close to the creek, and he said no one would
		mind, but it never hurts to double check.  Go as far down this
		road as you dare (4WD is mandatory); the road ends very 
		near the creek.  Carry down and put on the creek, or carry 
		downstream on the old roadbed on river left until the creek 
		widens a bit.  When you get past the last big rapids, carry 
		back up the old road on river left.  No shuttle required. 
		If you want an extended run, you can take out at the bridge 
		near Devils Den, just before the creek joins Lee Cr.  It's 
		4.5 miles to the bridge and chock full of trees most of the 
		way.  You can't say you weren't warned.     
		Area Map
	Topo Quad(s): Strickler
	Gradient: 180 fpm
	Length: 0.25 to 0.5 mi. (or 5 mi. to Lee Cr.)
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: None. Only runnable soon after heavy local rainfall.  
		Drive to the put-in or the bridge near Lee to check the creek. 
	Hazards: tight and continuous rapids, overhanging limbs and strainers 
	Description: This small stretch of Ellis Br. was first run in November  
		1996 by Bill Herring and Randy Childers.  The entire creek 
		is runnable, but the most challenging rapids are 
		encountered in the first 1/2 mile.  After that point the 
		gradient diminishes and the trees close in - an 
		unpleasant combination.  The  uppermost part of the creek 
		is very, very narrow and steep, and with enough water (a 
		rare event) the rapids are continuous class III+ for 1/3 
		mile.  After a couple of warm up drops, a large class 
		III+ staircase drop is encountered.  After some serious 
		tree dodging there's another big drop.  This rapid got 
		the name Runaway Rapid when Bill Herring dropped his boat 
		while portaging a tree on the steep left bank above the 
		rapid.  The boat successfully made a first descent of the 
		rapid before it was extracted from the creek.  This rapid 
		is actually a series of falls dropping more than 15 feet. 
		The right side of the second drop is a vertical pin 
		waiting to happen, and the last two drops are the largest 
		and fastest.  Hit an eddy very quickly after Runaway  
		because a deadfall blocks the creek just around the 
		corner.  After quite a bit of fast action another large 
		drop comes into view.  This one consists of a fairly 
		straightforward single drop over a slanting rock.  This 
		is the last of the big drops on the creek, and it may be 
		to bony to run if the water is not high.  Unless the 
		creek is really roaring, it's probably a good idea to 
		pull out on the left just below Runaway, and start the 
		short drag back up to the car.  If you go further down, 
		the gorge gets deeper, making it harder to carry out.  As 
		a result of it's proximity of Fayetteville (35 min) and 
		the potential for a very short but exciting kayak run, 
		Ellis Br. makes a good one to catch when heavy midday 
		rains bring the creeks up but there's not enough 
		daylight for a longer run.  All boaters should be good at 
		rock dodging in tight class III-IV rapids, and a flip 
		could be a very bruising experience.  Pinning is par for 
		the course, but bank support for pinned paddlers is easy 
		to set up ahead of time on this ultra narrow creek. 

See the Photo Gallery for photos.

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