Photo Credit Cheryl Wood
Slab Creek Reservoir - A Hidden Paddling Getaway
The reservoir is wider at the Slab Creek Road western put-in, and the reservoir’s water level does not affect the put-in. However, the last mile of Slab Creek Road is a narrow, dirt and wash-board road that runs along the side of a steep mountain, and there are only a few small turn-outs for negotiating oncoming traffic. You could literally be forced to back up this narrow, winding road, similar to the access road to Thomas Edison and Florence Lakes.
The gate at the road entrance automatically opens at dawn and closes at dusk. On a weekday, consider arriving at dawn, when there’s less chance of wind on the return trip or difficulty parking. Due to the limited number of parking spaces available, if you find a space when you arrive, park your vehicle and hand carry your kayak to the water, to avoid someone else taking your parking space.
Avoid using the eastern put-in during windy conditions. If the wind picks up, you may have to paddle against strong head winds or against a strong current on your return trip. Also, when the reservoir’s inflow increases, it can be very strenuous paddling against the swift current to get back to your vehicle.
On a windless, sunny day, Slab Creek Reservoir reflects the surrounding scenery onto perfectly still, glass-like water, but unfortunately, the reservoir is subject to gusty wind conditions throughout the year. Spring and summer days are usually warm and sunny and the nights are pleasantly cool. As you head into the chilly fall and winter months, the reservoir setting becomes more pastoral and serene.
Slab Creek Reservoir also offers excellent opportunities to see many different species of wildlife that come to the water in their daily search for food and sustenance. Those who paddle this serene reservoir may see deer, squirrels, chipmunks, bear, raccoons, beavers and birds native to the area.
Cutting a quiet path across still, crystal clear, blue waters, while taking in picturesque panoramic landscape vistas is a unique experience you don’t want to miss. It can be one of the most emotionally and physically rewarding experiences you'll ever have. All in all, once you paddle Slab Creek Reservoir, you'll be yearning to come back for more.
The reservoir’s water is crystal clear and cold. Should you capsize, even though you can swim to the shore, there are two things to consider: the water is extremely cold, and the mountain slopes rise straight out of the water, providing little in the way of shoreline access.
The terrain is almost impassible on both sides of the reservoir, unless you want to hike through steep, poison oak covered terrain. There is limited shoreline fishing access, but it is a fabulous spot for fishing from your kayak for rainbow and brown trout, pike minnow and bass. Kayak anglers can take pleasure in reeling in pike minnow, which can be very aggressive and fun to catch.