|Class:||II - III||Put-In:||Narrows Rd (Dirt)|
|Gradient:||70, 20, 10 (1.5)||Take-Out:||SR 79|
|Shuttle:||Narrows / Kiowa / SR97||Delorme Gazeteer:||P. 31 A7|
|Water Q:||Primary Gage:||None|
|Links:||TOPO MAP||Required Level:||Visual|
|PICTURES||Indicator Gage:||Cahaba nr Mtn Brook|
|TRIP REPORT||Required Level:||800 (rising preferred)|
|Gurley creek goes through the Narrows of Gurley Creek Gap north
of Birmingham. It flows out of a series of lakes east of SR 75 including Mountain Lake. This is a short run that
can fill out a day in the Birmingham/Locust area. This creek is narrow but not nearly as skinny as one might expect.
It goes to prove that with enough water, almost any creek north of Birmingham, east of Arab, and south of Huntsville
can be run. The run begins with simply fun III- and III. These non-threatening, delightful rapids continue for
the better part of a mile. On the way, you paddle through the remains of an old broken down railroad trestle. Few
logs are in the upper part though you will have to take evasive maneuvers towards the bottom of the run. Once you
are past the fun rapids, the action gets pretty darn flat but moves for the most part. A really easy front surf
and 360 wave is not far above the bottom. Just upstream of the take-out is a 7' dam that can be run though it is
scrapy. If the dam can be run there will be enough water for the entire run. This run is not worth it as a destination
unto itself but in combination with other runs makes a sweet day.
We put-in where the road comes close to the creek on Narrows Lane. You could put-in higher up but there is little gradient. The run length listed is from the confluence with Sand Valley Creek, although it may be hard to actually put-in right there.
There may be another section with low (20'+?) gradient above the confluence with the Locust south of Trafford...
Renee Clark has a few words of caution:
Has anyone had trouble with the landowner on river left at the dam? We were there Saturday (1/26/02) and right after I took out on river right, a woman came running to the bank on river left yelling at the two paddlers in their boats. They were boat scouting the dam, but did not plan to run it. At first I thought she was trying to warn them not to run the dam, but then she got louder yelling about private property and get out immediately, pointing (actually waving madly) across the river. She then yelled that she was calling the cops and left when the boaters got out. We walked up the dead-end road to hwy 79, where we were parked. We saw her drive by, turn around and drive back by and then go back home. Anyway, it was unnerving. We had not planned on getting out on river left, but had observed when we parked that there was a church parking lot that we considered, which would have been on river left. That would have put us taking out on her property or having to walk down hwy 79 from river right to get to the car. Anyway, if you paddle there, watch out for her. She's got some real anger inside.
Editors note: I believe the case to be in Alabama, as it is in most states, that if you can legally access a run at the put-in and take-out, you can legally make the run. You can portage or scout up to the high water mark. No irate property owner wants to hear this, but I find it comforting in times of seemingly impending legal action.