Information on Richland Cr.
Rating: S1: III-IV
TDCR: 6656 (S1)
Location: Newton and Searcy Co.;
S1: Take Hwy. 65 north of Conway from I-40 and then Hwy.
16 west of Clinton to Ben Hur. then NFR 1203
north to low water bridge at put-in. Take out at
Richland Cr. campground north of Hwy. 16 on
S2: Take out by driving north of Richland Cr. Campground on
NFR 1205 and then turn north on NFR 1201 and go to
Topo Quad(s): Moore, Eula
Gradient: S1: 55 fpm (some sections approach 80 fpm)
S2: 20 fpm
Length: S1: 6 mi.
S2: 10 mi.
Season: FALL and SPRING
Gauge: Low water bridge at the put-in should have between
18 and 5 in. of airspace showing. Richland Campground bridge
should have 3 to 1 ft of airspace. The ACC Bulletin Board
gauge should read between 3.5 and 5.0 ft. A level of 3.3 on
the the Corps On-Line gauge (follow link below)
corresponds to approx. 12 in. of airspace at put-in bridge.
Levels over these maximum limits easily push the creek into
the class IV-V range. You can also predict the levels using
the Buffalo R. rain gauges which are linked below.
LINK BUFFALO NATIONAL R. GAUGES (UPDATED HOURLY)
LINK TO USGS GAUGE
Hazards: dangerous rapids, undercut rocks, bad hydraulics
Description: S1 is one of the premier advanced whitewater runs in
the state. The first mile is relatively calm but the next
five contain several class III-IV rapids including a six
foot drop at Richland Falls and others such as Crack in
the Rock (III+), Knuckle Buster (III+), Upper Screw Up (III),
Lower Screw Up (AKA Shaw's Folly) (IV), and Maytag (III). The
most dangerous drop is Lower Screw Up which has a badly undercut
rock in the far right hand slot which is the preferred entrance
to the rapid, but many of the other rapids can be rough on an
inverted paddler (especially at lower levels). At higher
levels the water volume and steep gradient can be a very
dangerous combination making for a solid class IV-V run (if
Richland is too high try Falling Water Cr to the south). A hike
up to Twin Devils Fork falls (below Richland Falls) provides
some extra scenery, and the rest of the run is very scenic, but
it's hard to take your eyes off of the rapids! Only confident
intermediates to expert boaters should attempt upper Richland.
Be sure you have the requisite eddy hopping, ferrying, and
rolling skills or you may be doing more hiking than boating.
S2 is more tame, but still provides plenty of good action in
the first few miles. The end of this stretch is relatively
flat as it approaches the Buffalo R.
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