Spring Creek - Route 1171 to NC Route 209 in Hot Springs

Spring Creek, North Carolina, US


Route 1171 to NC Route 209 in Hot Springs

Usual Difficulty III-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 80 fpm
Max Gradient 100 fpm

good view of first rapid

good view of first rapid

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03453000 200 - 2000 cfs III-IV(V) 00h32m 62.1 cfs (too low)
Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

Spring creek cuts a deep gorge as it drops into Hot Springs. This run really starts off with some good drops. The major rapids begin a few yards from the put-in and when the creek is really running they are somewhat intimidating. The first mile consists of almost non-stop ledges and boulder gardens. Unfortunately these things can't keep up forever and Spring creek begins to slow after the first mile. By the end of the second mile, all of the big stuff is done and the creek consists of small ledges or rock gardens. There is one major exception. After Spring Creek emerges from the gorge and reaches NC 209 it has one final big drop. The most dangerous and largest rapid on the creek is less than a half mile above Hot Springs. The rapid drops over 10 feet into a monstrous rocky hole and then slams into a rock wall. Unless you are dead set on running this rapid it seems logical to take out above the final drop and skip the last urban section of Spring Creek. There are no real rapids so if you can get to off the river safely after the NC 209 intersection go ahead and do so. Otherwise paddle down into town and take out.

Here are some correlations:

The multiple numbers represent the level at the beginning and the end of the day.

Spring Creek 9 inches
FB 8000-5000
Ivy 500 - 400

Spring Creek 12-13 inches
FB 10,000 ->8000
Ivy 1000->500

Spring Creek 18 inches
FB 13,000
Ivy 1100 - 700


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2014-03-23 16:40:37


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.1Chutes and LaddersIII+Putin Photo
0.3Cookie MonsterIII+Photo
0.5Mini VortexIVPhoto
1.0PlayspotsIIPlayspot Photo
2.0Banana SplitIII+Waterfall Photo
3.0Surprise LedgeIIIPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Chutes and Ladders (Class III+, Mile 0.1)

1st Rapid

1st Rapid
Photo taken 03/23/14

Chutes and Ladders
There is a trail on river left that can be used to scout the entire first rapid. This rapid is a decent sample of the gradient and difficulty of the river.

Cookie Monster (Class III+, Mile 0.3)

2nd Rapid

2nd Rapid
Photo taken 03/28/14

The second rapid has a nasty hole in the middle. You can either scrape left or run right to avoid, although the right line is harder to boat scout and may have wood in it.

Mini Vortex (Class IV, Mile 0.5)

3rd Rapid

3rd Rapid
Photo taken 03/28/14

This is the longest rapid of the run. At 18 inches it's quite a ride. At 9-12" it's not that bad.
I start right, working left for a 4-5 foot drop then immediately back to the right. I call this one Mini Vortex because it reminds me
of Vortex on NFFB, but not as big.

Playspots (Class II, Mile 1.0)

Playing on Spring Creek

Playing on Spring Creek
Photo of William "Hawk" Reeves by Shane

There are lots of easy 360 holes in the first mile of the run at least if the water is up.

Banana Split (Class III+, Mile 2.0)

Banana Split

Banana Split
Photo taken 03/23/14

There is around a mile of calm until you get to the Banana Split Ledge. Scout right. Going far left or far right looks nasty, start in the middle, hit the ledge in the middle and boof.

Surprise Ledge (Class III, Mile 3.0)

Surprise Ledge

Surprise Ledge
Photo taken 03/23/14

There is a ledge that sneaks up on you quick that has a pretty decent hole at most levels. It may be more forgiving to the right, but if you hit it straight on paddle hard and boof if you can.

U-Turn (Class III, Mile 4.0)

Not difficult at all, but it often has a tree in the middle. There is a giant rock in the middle of the river, start on the right then go all the way
across to the left, do a U Turn around the big rock and go all the way back to the right. Behind the rock is where wood ends up, you can scout it from river left or right to check.

After this there really isn't much to the bridge.

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