Pohick Creek, Virginia, US
Hooes Rd. (Route 636) to Lorton P.O. (Route 1)
||II-III+ (for normal flows)
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 donÂt miss the graffiti art gallery beneath I-95.
If you donÂt 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
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 isnÂt 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.
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Last Updated: 2005-05-20 09:06:07