Saluda - 4 - Lake Murray Dam to Broad/Congaree confluence

Saluda, South Carolina, US


4 - Lake Murray Dam to Broad/Congaree confluence (Saluda Shoals County Park to Senate Street Boat ramp off US #1)

Usual Difficulty II-IV (for normal flows)
Length 11 Miles

"Throwin' ends" in the Pop-Up Hole

"Throwin' ends" in the Pop-Up Hole
Photo @ ~4800cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02168504 700 - 20000 cfs II-IV 00h25m 916 cfs (running)

River Description

Great play run located in downtown Columbia. Lots of cool routes and playspots at a wide variety of levels. Radio Tower, Stacys Ledge, Maytag, Lap of Luxury, Mill Race, Cookie Monster, Blast'o Matic, Pop Up Hole/Mosh Pit are some of the named spots near the zoo. On the right side of the island near the zoo is a popular creek line with a small slide and some cool moves.

Mill race rapid is just to the left of the Island under the power lines. Beware of the right side of the Mill Race at higher flows. A dangerous hole forms, and there is some very sharp rock and re-bar in the streambed.

There is a nice trail below pop up hole on river right that can be used to walk back up to the top of the mill race. There is good river access on river left at pop up hole.

Pop up hole is munchy 2500-3500cfs
Pop up is optimal at 4000-4500 cfs

It can range from a pourover to a meaty ledge hole. It is best around 3500 to 4500 cfs (easy to link moves). Most of the time you can only cartwheel to the left but at higher flows you can wheel either way. It has a good access eddy.

At low flows it is perfect to practice your enders, pirouettes, cartwheels, and mystery moves.

The water is cold all the time (around 50�F) and is always running (dam controlled), so you can count on a playspot there in one form or another.

How to get there:
Heading towards Columbia on I-26 get onto I-126 towards Columbia. Take the River Bank Zoo exit. Turn left at the stop sign. Turn left towards the zoo. Turn right into the parking lot. Take another right after you cross over the railroad tracks. Then head to the end of the parking lot. There is a short trail here that leads to the river. Now paddle around the little Island and head upstream to river right for the hole.

AW article on 1993 Saluda River Festival

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2005-09-21 16:42:57

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Hope Ferry Landing / Saluda Shoals Regional ParkPutin Access
3.5Gardendale (SCE&G) Put-InPutin Access
5.5Oh Brother RapidsII
5.6Ocean Boulevard RapidsII
7.0Stacy's LedgeIIIPlayspot
7.4Blast o'maticIII+Playspot
7.5Mill Race RapidsIVHazard
8.0Pop Up Hole/Mosh PitIIIPlayspot Photo
9.0Shandon RapidsII+
9.5White House RapidsII+
10.0Hampton Street RapidsII
10.5Senate Street LandingTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Hope Ferry Landing / Saluda Shoals Regional Park
Upper run put-in. Saluda Shoals is on river left, Hope Ferry is on the South side of the river, river right.

Stacy's Ledge (Class III, Mile 7.0)
Moderate sized riverwide ledge. Good holes at some levels, good waves at higher levels.

Blast o'matic (Class III+, Mile 7.4)
Awesome surf ledge just above Mill Race.

Mill Race Rapids (Class IV, Mile 7.5)
When the water is above about 800 cfs it's a class III (technical). The water can be as high as 20,000 cfs. At that point, it's a monster and I'd seriously think twice about running it. It's easily a class V. The problem with mills race is that it's an old dam that was dynamited years back and is rumored to have rebar (steel rods that reinforced the concrete) all through the area.

Pop Up Hole/Mosh Pit (Class III, Mile 8.0)

The Loop

The Loop
Photo of Jeff Wilson taken 01/03/03 @ 4300cfs

Good down to 300 cfs. Munchy from 2500-3500 cfs. Optimal at 4000-4500 cfs, above that it turns into a wave and then quickly washes out.

Shandon Rapids (Class II+, Mile 9.0)
Take the right fork. Run the rapid on river right. A straight shot, with a decent hole and a side surfing wave at some levels.

White House Rapids (Class II+, Mile 9.5)
A riverwide shoal type rapid with lots of playable waves and holes. Run just left of the rocks in the middle of the river.

Senate Street Landing
Below Gervais Street Bridge

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