Information on Middle Fork of Little Mill Cr.


Middle Fork of Little Mill Cr.

     Rating: III-IV
        TDCR: 6786
        Location: Traveling south on Hwy. 215 from Fern, go one mile then take
		a left (east) on a gravel road (if you go 100 yards past it there is
		a yellow two-story house indicating you've gone too far). Follow
		this road for about 200 yards until it turns to the south and 
                begins to go uphill where the road widens and there is
                plenty of room to park. Park you car here, and carry down to the 
		put-in, a short 100-150 yards due east. This is the confluence of
		the middle fork and two tributaries; slides and waterfalls
                abound!  The take-out is found by going south on 215 from Fern,
                turning left at the Ozark National Forest sign, and then taking the first
                right. This will follow a finger ridge, then a steep slope down to
                the mouth of the Middle Fork Gorge (this is also the put-in for Little
		Mill Cr.). From the highway to the take-out is 1 mile. This is
		definitely a road for 4WD's only! If the Middle Fork is up then this
                take-out will be an adventure in itself, class IV driving at least!
        Topo Quad(s): Mountainburg SE
        Gradient: 187 fpm
        Length: 1.5 mi.
        Season: Flood
        Gauge: Creeks such as Spirits and others larger creeks like
                Hurricane must be in full flood. If Mill Creek appears to be
                bank-full at the Mill Creek Bridge then it is ready. If it
                just looks runnable then it may be too low.  Two or more
		inches of very recent rain are a must for this creek.
        Hazards:  undercut rocks, downed trees, strainers, undercut grottos
        Description: The defining characteristic of the Middle Fork is the
                exposed sandstone bedrock that literally forms a sandstone 
                sluice for a large part of this section. This sluice
                varies from 6 to 20 feet in width and drops over shale and
                sandstone falls that are at times partially blocked by
                sandstone boulders. There are at least two drops over
                boulders into grottos that need to be scouted due to the
                possibility of vertical pins or lodging under undercut
                ledges. It is a unique run in that civilization (I-40 is
                less than 8 miles away) is close, but the extreme relief
                so effectively isolates the paddler that one feels as
                though it is a wilderness run. To not do the rest of
                Little Mill would be silly indeed, especially when one
                considers the condition of the access road to reach the
                take out.  Middle Fork of Little Mill is a tough creek that
		gives the paddler very little room to maneuver.  You had
		better be a very competent class IV boater, or you may find out
		just how extreme the relief is as you are hiking out of the
		gorge.  As with all super-narrow Ozark creeks, trees can be
		a huge factor in the difficulty of the run.  Deadfalls can
		easily create some overnight class V traps on the Middle Fork,
		so scout ahead as often as possible.  Thanks go to Steve Roberston,
		the pioneer of the Little Mill/Mill drainages, for information
		on this terrific run.

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