Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Indian Creek (Trinity)

This is a long overdue and hurriedly typed blog about a creek that many people have been missing out on.  Indian Creek requires driving on side roads through much beautiful scenery.  Turn off HWY 299 onto Hwy 3 in Douglas City, and precede to take the first major left turn (more of a Y) onto Reading Creek Road.  After several miles you will reach the well-marked Indian Creek Road, turn left.  Several more miles bring you to a bridge, which is the take-out if you have optimal flows of 125-175.  If it looks bony, you can take out at the We Be Jellin Claim for a sampler upstream.

The rumors are not true--it isn't a gnarly run, in fact its mostly really fun class III-IV creeking, although it is extremely sensitive to flow.  Indian Creek is amazingly high quality though.  And if you want to scout or portage any drop, you have that option...up to a certain flow.  That being mentioned, it flows rarely and takes a substantial set of storms to trigger good flows.  Last year (2010) saw a good extended season and this year appears to have ample flows too.

Me and Fishbone at Put-In 

Most of these pictures were taken with flows close to 100 cfs.  It was bony, but manageable.  I'd prefer 200 or maybe 300 if I had a solid crew, but it would depend if anybody knew the wood situation recently.  That being said, this run is good enough that the loc's should keep some sort of tabs on it from now on...please.

Fishbone sticks another IK Boof Stroke

Although the creek is roadside, because it cuts into a small canyon it is generally not visible from the road.  Wood Hazards were not an issue except for one sharp turn just below a "railroad flatcar" bridge where wood always seems to accumulate.  you can see this from the road and the entry to the wood drop.
Here is Fishbone still well above that

And Sticking the drop

Lots of Slate Bedrock makes for some even bedrock ledges and east-coast style creeking.  There is one rapid in the upper mile that should be portaged at lower flows due to pin potential, but forms a sweet boof as flows increase.  Downstream you reach the Redneck Bend where perhaps the best continuous gradient lies.

Even further downstream is Scalpers, where a sweet boof leads into a pinch slide

And then Another Sweet Boof--at the "We Be Jellin'" Mining Claim..This isn't an 8 foot drop

Unless your nickname is Fishbone

But I have to seriously give my buddy some props for always givin' er!  Here's to Fishbone!

To be honest the two times I've paddled this run, flows were low enough that I was ready to get out at this point.  However, downstream the creek cuts into another bedrock canyon that is worth doing if you are hAving a good time and have better flows (~150).  This makes for an easy access point if you are over it, however.  Downstream from here to the bridge are more fun ledges and one spot where an old dam creates an interesting hazard that is negotiable.

Go get you some, Weaverville Locals...It's Flowing, so is Brandy Creek!


  1. On March 25th there were two wood situations, one below the low water portage, but above the rail car bridge (with our flow we ducked under, would be harder at higher flows), and the other below the rail car bridge on the sharp bend, portaged on the left. Other wood, but all passable. The gauge was reading 183, but was similar to what your pictures show-snow line was just above the put-in. We took out at the mining claim

  2. Hi Alex,
    Thanks for the beta update...Interestingly enough it makes lots of sense that when we did it late in the year (off snowmelt runoff) proportionally more water was coming down the mainstem from higher up. These colder storms must juice up the Tribs down below, thus upping the ideal flow required for the run. Keep on it!

  3. Did you get on Brandy creek and hit that 50 footer?

  4. It had wood, and its more like a 35-40

  5. Today, 5 of us paddled from about 1/8 mi. below upper bridge putin down to about 1/4 mile above the lower bridge (Indian Cr. townsite). Indian Cr gauge was about 160 to begin with and was dropping to about 135 cfs/hr. Very boney at these flows. Lots of gear abuse on rocks and many small breaches and pins. Should have taken out sooner as the brush and low hanging trees get oppressive down low. Besides a couple of nice boofs, none were impressed with the run. It definitely needed more water, but then the lower overhanging section and the limbo logs would have really sucked. I think the problem is Indian Cr is way past due for a big flushing flood event to rip out encroaching vegetation again. I have seen this watershed flood once or twice the past 30 years. When that happens, I may go back again to a cleaned up run.

  6. Hi Ron, lets hope that crazy storm, and Indian Ck hitting 900 cfs will be enough to clean this one up again. Definitely important to hit it with water! Thanks for the update