The Big Branch is easily regarded is one of the best runs in the entire Northeast. Rarely does a lap on this classic disappoint. Guessing levels can be a bit tricky as there is no gauge on the river. The Big Branch generally requires more water than other area creeks to run and typically runs in the spring and fall. Springtime snowmelt provides the most dependable flows but if you are dependent on rain look for .5-1 inch minimum depending on ground saturation levels. For a river gauge look to the painted gauge on the bedrock on river right in the takeout pool. There are 10 marks with the middle one marked as “0”. Look for 1-2 as low, 3-5 medium, and 5+ as high although runs down to -5 have been made in desperate situations. Aside from great whitewater, the Big Branch has reliable cell service, a pit toilet at the put-in, and camp sites close by.
This description is for the lower (most commonly run) section of the river. At higher flows you can potentially paddle the upper section (4 miles) although it is still unclear the wood situation is as its rarely ever run. This upper section is not as steep with easier rapids as compared to that of the more paddled lower section. Paddlers wishing to hike out after paddling the upper section will have a difficult scramble up the steep trail for the normal put-in. For your first time allow for plenty of time getting out of your boat to scout or check for wood. Ideally its best to follow someone down for your first time.
Forest rangers have currently closed off the put-in trail to the general public due to unsafe conditions and landslides in the past years. At request of the rangers do not remove the wood pieces where the old gate used to be. To gain access to the river go to the far right of the wooden fence and continue to follow the footpath down the ridge to the river.