Pohick Creek - Hooes Rd. (Route 636) to Lorton P.O. (Route 1)

Pohick Creek, Virginia, US


Hooes Rd. (Route 636) to Lorton P.O. (Route 1)

Usual Difficulty II-III+ (for normal flows)
Length 5.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 33 fpm
Max Gradient 110 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01654000 175 - 4000 cfs II-III+ 00h27m 79 cfs (too low)

River Description

Pohick Creek is formed near Burke, and flows for 13 miles to Pohick Bay. It is flat and braided for its first 5.5 miles, down to Hooes Road (the traditional put in). Because it is pretty flat for the next 2 miles as well, which usually also contain some fallen trees, paddlers found a downstream put in, amongst the new housing developments. Take Rolling Road to Northampton Road (heading west), and then turn left onto Pleasant Lake Drive. At the bottom of the hill is a sign and paved footpath into the park; about 300 yards carry brings you to the creek.
There are three particularly memorable rapids. Double Z (class III+) comes less than a mile from the put in, after several class II and II+ rock gardens. You have to make a very sharp left, right, left. With about a foot of water, the rapid is actually easier, because the route widens out and you can bounce through holes instead of crashing into rocks. Pohick Falls (class III) comes soon thereafter and is more straightforward, but it is easy to flip in the turbulence at the bottom, where the creek is funneled into a narrow chute. It too is less technical at higher levels. Lorelei Ledge (class II+), almost at the end of the trip, is wide and often scrapey; at higher levels it becomes class III because of the hole that forms at the bottom (except on a more gradual route on the far left).
Strainers can be a problem, but Jeff Davis organizes periodic strainer removals (one was in April 2002), which help immensely. The scenery is generally pleasant, although houses are encroaching. And don’t miss the graffiti art gallery beneath I-95.
If you don’t stop to scout or play, this trip takes only about one hour. But if you head down there after work from DC, allow more time than that for the drive on I-95. Below US 1, the creek continues for two miles, at 10 feet/mile, to Pohick Bay, which opens into Gunston Cove and then the Potomac River.

Ed Evangelidi testifies:<br>
A classic small creek intermediate run with everything from tight Z-turn rapids in the upper section to river-wide ledges in the lower stretch. Strainers and concrete footpaths thrown in too. Although there isn’t a trail along the whole way down, the safety factor is good here as there are trails along most of the way to get out in an emergency or scout around an obstruction. If the creek has lots of water, try the harder and more continuous South Run of Pohick.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2005-05-20 09:06:07


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 26 2018 (269 days ago)
Mike MartinDetails
From a report sent to members of the Canoe Cruiser's Assn. and the Blue Ridge voyagers canoe club.
"As of mid April 2018 a log jam was blocking the top part of Double Z Rapid. Exiting boat multiple
yards above is not difficult (at 300 cfs)."
March 16 2010 (3232 days ago)
Jared EspleyDetails
We ran the section on 14Mar2010 with 167-238 cfs on the Accotink at Annandale gauge. Fun but not
superhigh level. Fairfax Parkway (i.e. Hooes Rd. put-in) bridge had painted white mark without
numbers on the river left downstream side; 2/3 of mark was above water. Many strainers (10?),
especially in upper section, but with very creative limboing only two required portaging. Gorge
section was class III with lots of fun maneuvering. Next time would probably try to find the
suggested intermediate put-in to cut off some of the flatish water at the beginning.
June 5 2009 (3516 days ago)
x (1)
Watch out for the damn near the takeout. It is only about 2 feet high but feels and looks rather
powerful. My group blundered into in the dark and although we punched the corner without issue, I'd
keep an eye out for it.
October 28 2007 (4102 days ago)
Andy RollinsDetails
We ran this section of the Pohick yesterday 10/27/07 @ 470cfs. It was a great run lots of fun. We
had to portage 4 or 5 trees but none were in places too dangerous.