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Class 2-6 (X)
Map Barhal


Mouth Coruh Nehri/en

Other rivers

Barhal (also called Altıparmak which means "six fingers") is one of the classic rivers in Eastern Turkey. Till now there are no dams in the valley although HEP projects are in planning.

One can camp on the picnic site above Barhal village, or in Yusufeli, at the Greenpeace campsite (at the end of the lower section). There is plenty of pensions in Barhal village. A good choice is the Barhal Pension at the end of the middle section as you are directly at the river and you can pitch your tents there. Prices are negotiable. The access with the car (via the suspensiuon bridge) is not for the faint-hearted!

Spis treści

River Sections

Upper Upper

One can scout the whole section while driving to the put-in. It is worth doing as afterwards you do not have to scout while paddling. In 2012 we put-in below a long class 5-6 rapid (the road climbs up really steep there), but it is possible to drive a few km further to see what does the river look like there. The beginning is steep, class 4-5, with a nasty 5+ slide in the end (river-wide hole with cliff on the right) which you maybe better portage on the road.

Afterwards slightly easier, class 4-4+, sometimes even class 3-2, but afterwards with class 4 rapids. The river flows through many small gorges. Warning: trees (we had 2 portages due to trees). The river is quite small, fast flowing, quite steep. Just before entering the village there is a difficult drop with a huge towback (one can portage or take out before it).


This section is more interesting than the upper one. At the beginning slightly easier, but with a few class 5 rapids. The first one is a small canyon with a siphon at the beginning. The siphon is very dangerous! Check the take-out while driving up the valley. One can portage a siphon and put-in the the gorge (if there are eddies) or portage the whole gorge.

The second one is a staircase cataract with big boulders (which means big holes) and an undercut on the left just before a small footbridge. Easy to scout and to portage. Afterwards a few rapids 4+, big boulders. Later when the Barhal cuts in a deep wooden gorge there is a long "S"-rapid with big holes. Better scout that. Also there are two bed rock ledges (1,5 m) with huge towbacks. Bad for swimming but easy to run after you checked the line.

In general difficulties are regular, class 3+-4+, all the time quite steep, sometimes a bit easier or a bit harder. Most of the time scouting is not necessary (eddy hopping essential though). If it's your first run, it is worth continuing with the middle section.


Sarıgöl is the start for everybody who aims for fast, crystal-clear whitewater but don't need the adrenaline of the upper sections. Nevertheless this section is like a high-speed train, the pools are short if available. Two rapids merit a 3+. The first we call "long rapid" and can be seen from the road high above, it is pretty continuous but the lines are fairly visible from the boat. The second is a steep boulder garden right before a concrete bridge. At least some of the rocks seem to be placed artificially, depending on the water level there is the chance of getting pinned on the far left. You might finish the run at the pension (if you come from Upper Barhal), have a lunch break or directly attach the lower section. Middle and lower Barhal are commercially rafted.


Similar to the middle Barhal. The first half is rather easier. After the confluence of the right hand tributary of the Oguz valley the river gets more interesting. In summer 2012 there was constructed an artificial slalom course on the banks of Barhal. The course looks impressive regarding the number of kayakers in Eastern Turkey but was not opened yet in July 2012. Afterwards more interesting, the climax is the long rapid in the city center of Yusufeli (3+). Right after the bridge a runnable boulder weir.

Water level

The kayak season on the Barhal is very long. You can start as early than April (although it might rain a lot), all sections are runnable in June and July, in August and September at least the upper section is possible. There are a few gauges along the Barhal river. Normally we refer to the one at lower Barhal. it is next to the road and hard to miss, just watch out for the blue DSI metal tower. As sometimes it is swept away by the flood it is not 100% reliable. In begin of July 2012 we read 140 cm (MW), three weeks later the gauge showed 1,15m (LW). This level will be too low for the upper upper Barhal.

GPS coordinates


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