Pedernales - 2. Johnson City to Pedernales Falls SP (20 miles)


Pedernales, Texas, US

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2. Johnson City to Pedernales Falls SP (20 miles)

Usual Difficulty II-IV(V) (varies with level)
Length 20 Miles
Avg. Gradient 16 fpm
Max Gradient 132 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Pedernales Rv nr Johnson City, TX
usgs-08153500 1500 - 15000 cfs II-IV(V+) 00h58m 2930 cfs (running)
Recommended range per Texas Whitewater. The falls are Class V to V+ at these levels. Gauge is just upstream of the put-in.


River Description

The Perd doesn't go very often, but when it goes, it goes big.  The river bed is extraordinarily wide (often well over 100 yards), but unlike the Upper Perd, this stretch tends to channelize the flow much more, and thus it is runnable at much lower levels.  At very high water (10,000+ cfs), the features become Grand Canyon-sized.  For more specific beta, see Texas Whitewater

The crux of the run is near the end.  Pedernales Falls is a series of three features spaced about 200 yards apart.  At levels where the downriver run is worth doing, the falls are likely to be deadly, so most boaters choose to take out at river right in the large pool above the top drop and portage the rest of the falls, or to run just the top drop and portage The Slide and S-Turn.  The best time to huck the falls is when the river is low and the rest of the run is scrapey.  See separate description for the falls for level-specific beta.

NOTE:  As of this writing, the official park policy is to disallow boaters from putting in or taking out at the falls (although you may, of course, legally portage them.)  If you don't want to run the falls, you can take out at the park boundary and hike a mile to the Pedernales Falls parking area.  You can also portage/run the falls and take out 3 miles below them at the swimming area.  Please respect park regulations and be respectful to rangers.  You are legally allowed to run the river, but the park is legally allowed to control access to it.

Distances and gradient measured using GIS tools in 2015.  Average gradient from Johnson City to the top of Pedernales Falls = 14 fpm.  Maximum gradient measured from the top of 60/40 Falls to the base of S-Turn (0.34 miles.)

 


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-03-12 18:32:50

Editors

Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0LCRA Pedernales River Nature ParkN/APutin
0.1Johnson City DamN/AHazard
1.2Private Low-Water Crossing/DamN/AHazard
9.6Pedernales Hills Rd (Low Bridge)N/AHazard
13.1Miller Creek ConfluenceN/A
16.5State Park BoundaryN/AAccess
17.2Pedernales FallsVPortage Hazard Waterfall
20.0Pedernales Falls SP Swimming AreaN/ATakeout

Rapid Descriptions

LCRA Pedernales River Nature Park (Class N/A)

Parking/access at river right



Johnson City Dam (Class N/A, Mile 0.1)

Runnability unknown.  You can easily put in below the dam without leaving the LCRA park.



Private Low-Water Crossing/Dam (Class N/A, Mile 1.2)

May create a hazard at some levels (beta needed)



Pedernales Hills Rd (Low Bridge) (Class N/A, Mile 9.6)

Likely hazard at some levels



Miller Creek Confluence (Class N/A, Mile 13.1)

Reference point



State Park Boundary (Class N/A, Mile 16.5)

Alternate takeout for those who would prefer to carry their boat a mile rather than portage/run the falls and do the 3-mile paddle-out.  A trail system leads back to the Pedernales Falls parking area/trailhead.



Pedernales Falls (Class V, Mile 17.2)

See separate description for the falls.  Note that, if the river is within the recommended range for the downriver run, Pedernales Falls will be either a Class V or a V+.

NOTE:  As of this writing, the official park policy is to disallow boaters from putting in or taking out at the falls (although you may, of course, legally portage them.)  If you don't want to run the falls, you can take out at the park boundary and hike a mile to the Pedernales Falls parking area.  You can also portage/run the falls and take out 3 miles below them at the swimming area.  Please respect park regulations and be respectful to rangers.  You are legally allowed to run the river, but the park is legally allowed to control access to it.



Pedernales Falls SP Swimming Area (Class N/A, Mile 20.0)

Official takeout, accessible on river right via a 300-yard foot trail that leads from the swimming area parking lot.




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
March 28 2011 (1890 days ago)
wreevesDetails
Some You Tube footage of the river at high flow
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgU8YMRpjDQ&feature=related


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