Information on Beech Cr.


Beech Cr.

	Rating: III-V
	TDCR: 8888
	Location: Newton Co.; Put in is off of Cave Mtn. Rd. west of Boxley.
		You must hike down to Edgemon Cr. from near Ryker just past
		the Whitaker Point (Hawksbill Crag) trail head.  GET 
		PERMISSION FROM LOCAL LANDOWNERS BEFORE TRESPASSING ON
		PRIVATE LANDS.  Take out is at the Beech Cr. bridge at
		Hwy 21 at Boxley.  You should park at the Boxley bridge over
		the Buffalo R., since there is no room to park at the
		Beech Cr. bridge.
		Area Map
	Topo Quad(s): Boxley
	Gradient: 90 fpm (some sections approach 120 fpm)
	Length: 7.5 mi
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: The Buffalo R. should usually be running very high - over two 
		feet of water over the low water bridge at Ponca is a good sign. 
		There is a gauge painted on the river-right side of a pylon
		on the Beech Cr. bridge at Hwy 21.  A minimum put-in level would
		be around 4 feet and rising.  If the creek is already falling
		look for at least 5 feet on this gauge.  The creek drops out very
		quickly (forming many boulder sieves at low water), so plan
		for that.  The creek has been run at levels over 7 feet on
		this gauge, but at really high levels the creek is incredibly
		pushy with several near-terminal holes.  You may be able to 
		predict the levels using the Buffalo R. rain gauges which are 
		linked below.  The Ponca and Buffalo Tower gauges are the ones 
		to watch.
		LINK BUFFALO NATIONAL R. GAUGES (UPDATED HOURLY)		
	Hazards: continuous tough rapids, strainers, undercuts, etc., etc.
	Description: Beech is quite possibly the toughest overall run in 
		the Ozarks.  The first runs/walks of Beech may have occurred in 
		the early 80's but the first complete run of the creek was 
		probably done by a small group including Jeff Green in the Fall 
		of 1986.  The rapids are long, continuous, and demanding and the 
		penalties for mistakes are usually severe.  The creek runs through
		an almost inaccessible gorge, so hiking out is very unpleasant,
		though more than a few boaters have done so.  Pins and swims are
		not uncommon events, even among boaters who know the creek well,
		and equipment can easily be broken or lost if a mishap occurs.
		The drops are non-stop, with one drop feeding right into the
		next for more than five miles.  Multiple slot drops abound,
		and paddlers unfamiliar with the creek will need to take
		plenty of time to scout to avoid the many dead-end slots and 
		other hidden traps.  A few drops do stand out of the crowd.
		The first mile is known as the Jungle Gym, which starts with
		a nasty hole just 30 yards from the put-in, and provides
		only small eddies to stop in from there.  Just before the
		confluence of Edgemon Cr. and upper Beech Cr. (or Beech 
		"Proper" as it has come to be known), Beech Ball is a class
		IV drop with a tough move to miss the "Ball" at the end.
		At the confluence with Beech Proper, would-be hair
		boaters can hike up to look at a series of class IV+ drops
		just upstream on the merging creek - if time permits.
		About 150 yards from the confluence is White Lightning,
		a long slide with huge waves and a big hole at the end!
		The last drop that really stands out is Beech Falls, a nasty 
		looking class IV ledge with a reasonable line just to the 
		right of the rock splitting the drop at its lip.  It's best to 
		run angling hard left after you come around the rock, since the
		rooster tail on the right tends to knock the ever lovin crap
		out of paddlers who hit it (to quote creek pioneer Jeff Green).
		Of course, this description of the "highlights" omits dozens
		of other long, technical drops, some with thin lines around
		dangerous hazards.  Beech Cr. basically throws everything in
		the book at you for five miles in a row, wearing paddlers
		down and making it arguably the most difficult overall run 
		in the Midwest.  Several of the area's best creek boaters have 
		come away from the creek with damaged egos, equipment, and
		bodies!  Regardless of your skill level, the best way to 
		tackle Beech is to run it behind someone who has been there 
		before.  The creek is a BIG step up from creeks like Richland, 
		EFLB, etc.  Make sure you're ready for it and take your creek
		boat with you for this one.  Thanks go to Ryan Johnson and Shelby 
		Johnson for information on this legendary Ozark creek!

See the Photo Gallery for photos.

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