Information on Sulphur Creek (Richland)


Sulphur Creek (Richland)

	Rating: IV-V+ *
	TDCR: ????
	Location: There are many Sulphur Creeks in Arkansas; this is the one
		in the Richland Cr. watershed downstream of Bobtail Cr.
		Reach the put-in by going North on Hwy 377 from Witts
		Springs about 3 miles to the edge of the community of Magic
		Springs turn left on a dirt road. Take the first fork right
		and the second fork left (90 degree turns). Go about 3/4 mile
		look for a 4WD drive road to the right (should be on
		National Forest land now). Road ends very shortly at a
		small partial clearing with several berms. Park and drag
		down the ATV/Horse trail past the NF gate until the trail
		turns sharply to the left. Bushwack downhill, due North, or
		follow the first rivulet from the trail. Put-in on the
		South fork of the creek 0.25 above the confluence with the
		West fork. (elv. 1300 ft). Take out is at Richland Cr.
		Campground. If the water is high (very likely) may consider
		accessing from the East. Go North on 377 to Snowball and
		follow Point Peter road to Richland Creek. 
	Topo Quad(s): Eula, Moore, Snowball, and Witts Springs
	Gradient: 320 fpm (some sections 500 to 700 fpm)
	Length: 1.5 mi (plus 3.5 mi on Richland Cr.)
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: Gauge at Richland Campground needs to be above 6 feet. Look
		for 2" or more rain at the Tilly and surrounding rain
		gages, as posted on the ACC Resource Page. Rain must have
		fallen within the last 6 to 12 hours. 
	Hazards: Undercut ledges and rocks, overhanging branches, strainers,
		waterfalls. With 500 and 700 ft/mile sections, this one is
		steep! Several portages are advised. 
	Description: First known run was April 5, 1997. By Cowper Chadbourn,
		Lance Jones, Greg Churan and Nathan Kline. Sulphur Creek
		doesn't have any monsterly tall drops, just lots and lots
		of 3 to 15 footers. Very blind, very undercut, very tight
		and extremely beautiful. Several drops land on poorly
		padded shelf rock, and one funnels 90% of the water into a
		NASTY undercut cave. Sulphur Creek is 1.5 miles from
		put-in described to Richland Creek, then another 3.5 miles
		to the normal Lower Richland take-out. Average gradient on
		the creek is 350 ft/mile. First mile averages 400 ft/mile,
		with sections approaching 500 to 700 ft/mile. Sulphur
		starts out with a very tight slot move leading to the only
		"waterfall". Run the tight slot in a right hand turn with
		boat on edge (won't go through flat) onto the shelf rock
		and hug as close to the large undercut boulder on the
		right to go over "Sulphur Falls". There is a rock in the
		middle of the pool at the bottom. (I know, because my bow
		found it!) A few more tight boulder jumbles follow until
		the confluence with the West fork. Enjoy this shallow
		pool, because it's the only one you get. The pool feeds a
		two-step stair drop of about 6 feet. Scout the next drop
		from the right. Steep, tight boulder drop with wood in it.
		(at least during our run) After this, it's all a blur
		with too many drops to mention. My advice: SCOUT
		everything you can't see. Some of the drops that stick out
		are Pin-Rock, The Cauldron, The Cave, many good
		slots and boofs, and an 8-10 foot drop onto poorly padded rock.
		One of the last big drops funnels around both sides of a
		10-12 foot boulder into a hole in front of another 5-6 ft
		boulder. Past this one the creek funnels through an
		opening under two very large boulders. Enjoy a flush down
		the remainder of Lower Richland. It is highly recommended
		to hike this creek before attempting a run. Like other
		micro-volume creeks, meaningful ratings are difficult to
		establish on the accepted International scale. At lower
		levels, the creek will seem like a very technical class
		IV-V, with much rock bashing, scraping, and many portages.
		At higher levels, most rapids are expected to become solid
		class V. Make sure you have plenty of experience on other
		Ozark steep creeks before you try to tackle Sulphur, and
		it is a very good idea to hike it before running.
		(Thanks to Lance Jones for information on this creek!)

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