Hominy Creek is an overlooked urban river that winds through Asheville's malfunction junction, the intersection of interstates 26, 40, and 240. It passes under 12 bridges in the 7 miles between Sardis Road and it's confluence with the French Broad, but it's not all crumbling infrastructure and highway noise! Cattle graze the riverbank in unfenced pasture and (in places) mature forest thick with rhododendrons make you forget that you're touring the underbelly of southwest Asheville's light industrial zone.
Hominy is a good run for a class II-III boater with a sense of adventure who is prepared to portage around a strainer or two, or a local boater looking for a low impact training run with a very easy 3 mile shuttle. The natural riverbed is deep and sandy, with some rapids the result of natural geography, but most are formed by the artificial constrictions of the bridges. The rapids tend to form wave trains with good eddies and powerful eddy lines at the run out.
Free flowing Hominy Creek has a good sized water shed and runs often. The water quality is about what you'd expect from an agricultural, residential and mixed use watershed.
Things to look out for:
A sewer line follows the course of the river, in the first 3 miles it crosses the river 3 times. Half a mile down from the put-in you reach the first crossing. At high flows you can pass over the pipe, at low flow you can pass under only if you're willing to flip over, float under and roll up on the downstream side. At medium flows the pipe is right at river level becoming your first portage (recommended on river-right). The second sewer crossing you can float under at all but the highest flows. Be on the lookout for wood as the water moves fast here. The third crossing is only seen at lower flows when you can pass over the pipe. It forms a kind of play feature, but because it is a straight pipe forming a hole, there is no place that naturally releases your boat, so take care.
Wood: Log jams and strainers come and go. As of May 2014 there was one mandatory logjam portage, and a couple of other spots where wood almost forced portages.
Rocks: Beware of sharp rocks that line the river banks at the bridges. These are not friendly Appalachian river rocks!
First significant rapid, about 1/2 mile past the Interstate 26 bridges. You can boat scout above the drop. Aim for the river right eddy bellow the drop to set safety or attempt a surf.
That's right. Science of Mind.
Near the take out on Hominy Creek Rd. Painted gauge on the abutment of the old bridge under the tall Brevard Road Bridge. Pull out in front of the old bridge to check the gauge, once you know where the gauge is you can check it from your car in a drive by!
The best levels for play are between 1 and 3 feet. Minimum is maybe .6 or .7 ?
Hominy Creek correlates well with the realtime gauge on the West Fork of the Pigeon. If the West Fork has hit 500 cfs in the last 4 or 5 hours Hominy will be running nicely, at least 1 foot probably higher.
If you think it might be too low, take a look at the rapid right bellow the gauge, this is one of the shallowest sections, if it looks good the rest of the run will be fine.
Permits are not required for this reach.
240 Brevard Rd. exit
Take out is at Hominy Creek Park at the end of Hominy Creek Rd. Paddle out to the French Broad and take out at the canoe launch, very civilized.
To reach the put in drive back up Hominy Creek Rd. take a left on Sherbourne.
*If you are on a bike look for the Hominy Creek Greenway on your left, you can have a nice ride up the greenway and end up on Sand Hill Rd.
At the stop sign in about .5 mile take a hard left on Sand Hill Rd.
Follow Sand Hill for 2.2 miles to the put-in.
The put-in is a bridge over Hominy Creek, there is an unmaintained pull out on the far side of the bridge.
on Hominy Creek @Sand Hill Road to French Broad River
S Bear Creek Bridge Rapid
Oil Spill clean up
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