Information on Lee Cr.
Rating: II+ (S1: II-III, S2: II+)
Location: Crawford Co.;
S1: Put in south of Devil's Den Park on NFR 702 and take out
at Hwy 220 bridge.
S2: Put in at the new Hwy 220 bridge (which replaced the classic
"steel bridge" in 2000. There's a dirt road on the river
left side upstream of the bridge that leads to a parking
area. Take out at the great new NFS take out by going
south on Hwy 200 from the bridge about 200 yards and then
turning right onto Lee Creek Community Rd. (gravel). Go
about 1/4 mile and follow the signs, turning right to
drive to the parking area for the take out. You can
drive right to the river to pick up boats, but please
park in the designated area. This is an easy shuttle
to walk if you don't want to mess with two cars.
Topo Quad(s): Strickler, Rudy NE
Gradient: 15 fpm
Length: S1: 10 mi., S2: 1.5 mi.
Season: FALL, SPRING
Gauge: The USGS gauge at Short Oklahoma should be more than 4.5
feet to scrape down. Above 5.0 the play is fairly good.
Above 6.0 it's much better! S2 can be fun up to very high
levels for advanced boaters, but most folks will think
it's getting pretty crazy at anything over 8 feet or so.
LINK TO USGS GAUGE
Hazards: heavy strainers in S1, powerful hole at Buck and Flush at high
Description: S2 is one of the most popular play runs in the area.
Fun can be found at almost any runnable level. The gradient is
not great, but the short run seems to be filled with action.
At higher levels waves and holes are abundant. After a longish
pool, the first drop is fast and powerful - and studded with
rocks at lower levels. It doesn't have any well known name,
but the rest do. Football Field Rapids is a 100 yard long,
wide series of ledges. This one is usually shallow with some
surf holes on the right and the hard to catch Touchdown Wave at
the end. At very high levels (>12 feet) the entire rapid is
filled with large irregular waves and wave-holes! The next drop
is El Horrendo, which used to be less than half it's present
width. A tree washed out on the left bank in the mid 90's and
the result was a much weaker, straightforward ledge at regular
levels. After a pool comes Surfing Ledges (also known by other
names), where holes can be surfed, and enders can be had on the
river right at levels of about 9 feet. After another pool,
Buck-N-Flush is waiting. This rapid was long feared in the 90's
for it's grabby, punishing hole at levels of 7+ feet. Testing
oneself in Buck-N-Flush hole was sort of a right of passage for
Northwest Arkansas kayakers for a decade, and many a bold boater
tangled with the hole and lost, providing an opportunity to test
PFD's and throw ropes. While not terminal (swimmers generally
flushed out almost immediately), this spot was maybe the most
infamous stopper in the state. But after the record flooding
of June 2000, a gravel bar downstream of the main ledge was
formed, the pool level was raised and the result was a kinder
and gentler hole. At least for a while. One of these days
another flood could relocate some gravel and surprise some
boaters once again. In any case, the main part of the hole
can be avoided by staying to the left and riding down the
seam of green water. After Buck-N-Flush waves continue until
the takeout at high levels. Look for rock steps up the bank
at the end of the long rock shelf on river left to take out.
S1 is a different run entirely. It has a few nice rapids,
but the play is not nearly as good as the lower section.
Also there is one of the worst strainer jungles in the Ozarks
just upstream of the Blackburn Cr. confluence. Due to the
ugly hazards and lack of nice drops, S1 is not often run.
S2 is a good run for agressive beginners, but S1 is much
more dangerous and boaters running that stretch should
have experience negotiating strainers and holes.
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