Information on Bobtail Cr.
Location: Searcy Co.; Go south from Richland Campground 3.6 miles
on FS 1205, then east (left) 2.0 miles on FS 1219, and
finally north (another left) 3.0 miles on FS 1219A. From
this point turn east on a barely visible 4WD road that
descends a hill. If conditions are bad you may have to
carry the 0.7 mile down to the creek on this road.
Take out is on S2 of Richland Cr. Optional takeout is to
carry approx. 1.0 miles along trail back up to the Richland
Topo Quad(s): Moore
Gradient: 125 fpm (1 mi @ 165 fpm)
Length: 2.5 mi. (+ 9.5 mi on S2 of Richland Cr.)
Gauge: Richland Cr. Campground bridge should have above 1 ft. of
airspace (About 4.0 ft or higher on the USGS web gauge).
Recent heavy local rains are a must for this run.
Look for Falling Water Falls to be runnable all the way
across. This is a good indication of water on Bobtail. Look
for 1.5 inches or more of rain in the last 12 hours on
the Tilly and Ben Hur rain gauges on the BNR site.
Hazards: undercuts, hydraulics, difficult rapids, and, of course, strainers
Description: This one was first run in Jan, 1994, by Cowper Chadbourn,
Jim McDaniel, and Paul Newton. It contains about ten very
significant rapids and lots of class III action in between.
For the first 0.75 miles, the creek is shallow fast class II-III with
willows. Good place to warm up, this section is also prone to downed
trees. Be on the lookout for a sweeping bend to the left terminating in a
log jam. Sometimes the logs can be jumped, many times a portage on the
left is needed. Immediately below this jam is the first set of good drops.
First 'Zorro' starts with a tight slot back to the left behind a pin rock.
Cut back to the right after the slot, avoid the undercut on the right and
line up for the wave/hole train that follows. Snake through the
rock gardens below with a 4-foot double ledge in the middle. A
large boulder rising vertically from the right signifies time to
eddy left. The next drop is 'Go Left Falls' aka 'Cowper Dam'. Most
of the water flows off a rock slanted to the right and into a narrow slot and
undercut. Get up plenty of speed and go off the end of the flat rock.
Several encounters with the slot have produced bruised bodies and egos. Next
is 'Coliseum' originally known as 'Go Right Falls' due to a tree in the left
slot on the first runs. Main channel goes right and over a 6-foot
stairstep. Alternate route is to run the slots on the left and boof into
the eddy. Take the straight line in the runout through a 3 foot wide slot.
Now the pre-show is over and you get brief intermission of more fast class
II-III water as Little Bobtail and Short Bobtail enter to pump up the
volume. When the creek cuts back to the left over a horizon line, you're
ready for the feature presentation. The next 0.75 miles is Ozark steep
creekin' at its best. Major rapids are 'Bail-Baby-Bail', 'Werewolf', 'The
Funnel' and 'The Slot'. 'Bail-Baby-Bail' starts at the horizon line and is
a long drop with undercuts, trees, holes and pin potential. Main line is
to enter down the slide right, avoid the rooster tail rock and tree, over
the ledge, around the corner to the right and down through the series of
holes to the left. The holes tend to push hard to the right and into the
shallow rocks on the bottom right side. Finish through some tight slots
after the recovery eddys below the holes. Creek turns left again and
enters 'Werewolf'. Enter on the slide right and catch the right eddy,
ferry back to the left above the Fang rock and down through the series of
holes. A couple nice ledge drops follow before the entrance to the
'Funnel'. Again trees growing in the middle of the rock garden hide the
horizon line. Enter right and punch the ledge hole, and ride the flume
down through a couple more holes into the eddy-pool below. Several more
good rock jumbles follow. Be on the look for a rapid where the flume
narrows to 10-12 feet and ends in a house sized boulder on the left bank as
the creek cuts sharp right. A large eddy to the left is a good place to
stop and prepare for 'The Slot'. The creek bends back to the left and cuts
back right as it funnels between two large boulders slanting in from each
bank. Build up speed to punch the entrance wave-holes and the final hole
at the bottom. This hole has provided numerous creekboat rodeos. The meat
of the hole is river left, but the right bank below the hole is undercut,
so the best line is to punch through the center. The eddy/pool below feeds
a 5 foot offset ledge drop. The left bank below the drop is very sharp
limestone. Best line is to boof straight of the far right side, but avoid
the left edge of the right half of the ledge or you will likely piton on
the lip and fall into the hole. Some more class III follows to the
confluence with Richland. Paddlers need to be very, very confident
on Richland before trying this run. It is a mean little steep creek,
on par with Beech or Shop Cr., only shorter. Thanks go to Cowper
Chadbourn and Lance Jones for a description of this one.
See Lance Jones' Pages for more info on Bobtail Cr.
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