First (known) run in 1984 by Frank Loudermilk, Lythia Metzmeier, Cynthia and Barry Grimes, Howard's Creek is one of central Kentucky's most beautiful, interesting and historic whitewater streams. From the putin on Old Stone Church Rd. to the take out behind Hall's Restaurant at the Kentucky River, Howard's Creek boasts almost continuous class II-III rapids and numerous play places. Running through a narrow, remote and lush gorge, Howard's Creek is also littered with the remains of an 18th century "industrial park" including stone mill races and several historic ruins of 200 year old pioneer houses and mills.
For more info on the history of Howard's Creek visit: Lower Howard's Creek Nature and Historic Preserve
Howard's Creek is not a run for paddlers with weak rolls, lack of precise boat control, or who are inattentive to downstream hazards. Even at moderate flows (1' over the road) Howard's could be upgraded to a solid class IV stream with many blind turns, small infrequent eddies and should be considered very dangerous due to the numerous and ever changing deadfall trees, strainers, fences and cables that require multiple portages.
Chris Hellmann adds:
As of 5/28/04 there were 4 fences to be aware of. The first is the worst as you can not see it until it is too late as there are no eddies just upstream of it. Its about 1/4 mile down from the putin. Get out at the third bridge over the creek (starting with the putin bridge). Since 2" over the bridge is the minimum run it may be hard to see these bridges(just concrete poured over culverts) when the river is at a medium or higher level. The safest option is to walk the road that more or less parallels the river until you can see the fence and the third bridge down. Then run and portage.
The next three fences are easy to see and portage or paddle around at your discretion. Definitely eddy-hop the rest of the run to check for strainers.
History buffs will definitely want to look for Martin's Mill and the house up the road on the left 3/4 of the way down.
Gauge is where Old Stone Church Rd. crosses Howard's Creek.
minimum = 3" of water over road.
maximum = 2' of water over road (As always, max is subjective and depends upon skill level of individual)
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Howard's Creek,KY Putin
Howards Creek,KY Gauge
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