Hominy Creek, North Carolina, US
|Usual Difficulty||II+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||20 fpm|
|Max Gradient||20 fpm|
|W F PIGEON R ABOVE LAKE LOGAN NR HAZELWOOD, NC|
|usgs-03455500||250 - 1500 cfs||II+||01h05m||~ 430 cfs (running)|
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!
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|2.5||Pond Road Rapid||II+|
|3.5||Science of Mind||II|
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.