Big Pine Creek - Rainsville to Twin Bridges (0.5-6.7 miles)


Big Pine Creek, Indiana, US

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Rainsville to Twin Bridges (0.5-6.7 miles)

Usual Difficulty II+(III) (varies with level)
Length 6.7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 13 fpm
Max Gradient 39 fpm

IN, Big Pine, S-Curve


IN, Big Pine, S-Curve
Photo taken 01/09/05 @ 1ft Rainsville bridg

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
BIG PINE CREEK AT PINE VILLAGE, IN
usgs-033356848 250 - 5000 cfs II+(III) 01h04m 62.4 cfs (too low)
Almost certainly too low for reasonable whitewater. (Flatwater may be paddled at almost any flow.) Gauge (172 sq.mi.drainage) is 6.6 miles upstream, so should be fairly accurate (at least for the early part of this run).


River Description

In what most folks think of as the 'flatlands' in Indiana, northwest of Indianapolis, this run has considerable merit for its play potential and its scenery.

The run begins less than a mile southeast of Rainsville, where a gravel 'ford' (to cross thru the river at low water) exists. The creek is quite uniformly wide, and trips across a bedrock base in the next quarter-mile to create numerous playable waves. In general there is a lack of eddy service, so most features tend to be catch-on-the-fly, one-shot play, or a fight to regain, or a carry-up to re-play.

After the opening sequence, a few more playable waves (strung out a bit more than the first series) lead to S-curve. The river turns left, where it encounters a bedrock ledge extending at least halfway across the stream from river-right. At low water (under 2.5') the ledge will be dry, funneling all the water to the left, creating a playable wave/hole followed by good current through the large pool below, heading toward a wall of rock (the left bank) where it is diverted back to the right to proceed downstream. At high water (somewhere above 4'?) water will pour over the ledge on river right to create a potentially nasty, uniform hole. Beware!

The gradient then dies down for an extremely scenic float until the next features. The stream is regularly flanked on one or both sides by rocky bluffs (I believe mostly sandstone and shale). The presence of mostly deciduous trees make this an extraordinarily beautiful reach to paddle in fall.

Eventually one encounters a few more playable features in the lower stretch. The best of these are All Day Wave and Hawaii 5-0.

Many local boaters just do the initial 0.6 mile of river as a 'park-and-play', carrying up the country road which parallels this part of the river. However, the scenery of the rest of the run (especially if you catch it at fall colors), and the good eddy service for the playspots on the lower river make it worthwhile to do the full run.

In addition, at the take-out at Twin Bridge, a side stream (Fall Creek) flows through a Nature Conservancy preserve. It has cut a very interesting gorge filled with potholes in the bedrock, and makes an enjoyable side hike at the end of your trip.
Note: While it may appear tempting (if it has enough water) to carry up and boat this reach, be aware that all the best legal opinion suggests it is illegal to do so. There is a specific 'no swimming or wading' provision in force (subject to a fine, reportedly $90 per violation), as well as the fact that the stream is deemed "not navigable" according to state law.
For more information, check out the Natural Resources Commission - Navigability webpage.
Additional information about The Nature Conservancy, and this preserve, can be obtained at Nature.org, or by Email: Indiana@tnc.org.

The following slide-show presentation (of an April 2007 outing, from 'BoilerBlues', via YouTube) gives a fine feel for the features and the beauty of the run.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-07-12 15:56:42

Editors



IN, Big Pine, Side Surfin

Detail Trip Report  IN, Big Pine, Side Surfin  Big Pine Creek, IN(1.64MB .jpeg)

IN, Big Pine, Surfin the S-curve

Detail Trip Report  IN, Big Pine, Surfin the S-curve  Big Pine Creek, IN(1.49MB .jpeg)

IN, Big Pine, Rocky ford flat spin

Detail Trip Report  IN, Big Pine, Rocky ford flat spin  Big Pine Creek, IN(65.19KB .jpeg)

IN, Big Pine, S-Curve

Detail Trip Report  IN, Big Pine, S-Curve  Big Pine, IN(189.28KB .jpeg)

S-Curve 1.5 ft 10-14-14

Detail Trip Report  S-Curve 1.5 ft 10-14-14  @Big Pine Creek Rainsville to Twin Bridges (0.5-6.7 miles), IN(158.88KB .jpeg)


Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

The best indicator is to watch weather patterns, 'live' weather radar, and rainfall totals for the LaFayette, IN area. A boater's gauge is painted on the downstream end of the middle bridge pier in Rainsville. When there is rain there, the Hoosier Canoe Club Message Board has a board where actual readings of the painted gauge are posted. Some boaters report reasonable runs (and fun) at readings of 6" (usually skipping the first half-mile or so, which will be very boney). A reading of 1' gives a more enjoyable float trip with decent (tame) play possible. Two feet makes pretty good play, 3' is sweet. Above that is great, but gets pushy, and some of the features on the lower part of the run wash out (though some build to be very nice).

*The cited gauge is for the N.Fk.Vermilion in Illinois, which is the immediately adjacent watershed to the west of the Mud Pine / Big Pine. It is a relatively similar sized stream, and usually provides a pretty good indication of runnability here. Obviously, much will depend upon the track (and the overall width and size) of storms, so correlation is not assured. (I.E., cited gauge may imply river is too low when it may be runnable or vice versa.)

Boaters who frequent this reach have been reporting a pretty fair 'rule of thumb' is that each 1000cfs on the cited gauge equates to (roughly) a foot on the boaters gauge. Again, this correlation will not always be 100% 'on', but shouldn't be too far off most of the time.

Using this rule-of-thumb, the listed 'minimum' reflects this 6" level on the boater's gauge. While it is no doubt possible to float the stream less than this, it would be more of a bump-and-scrape swiftwater/flatwater trip than real whitewater.

The listed 'maximum' is only an indication of higher, pushier levels. Many boaters love these levels, and will look for this run to 'go purple'. In truth, with the requisite skill and knowledge of the river and the concerns any river in flood can pose, this reach should be boatable at virtually any high level.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
BIG PINE CREEK AT PINE VILLAGE, IN
usgs-033356848 250 - 5000 cfs II+(III) 01h04m 62.4 cfs (too low)
Almost certainly too low for reasonable whitewater. (Flatwater may be paddled at almost any flow.)
Gauge (172 sq.mi.drainage) is 6.6 miles upstream, so should be fairly accurate (at least for the early part of this run).
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
0 - 150 cfs extremely Low-somewhat Low II+(III) Almost certainly too low for reasonable whitewater. (Flatwater may be paddled at almost any flow.)
150 - 250 cfs somewhat Low-barely Low II+(III) Likely very marginal (gradient will be a scrape), but possible E.L.F. (Extreme Low Flow) run. (Likely 0' or less on Rainsville gauge.)
250 - 500 cfs barely runnable-med runnable I-II(III) Low-boatable flow. Expect a bit of scrape, but some light play. (Perhaps 0'-0.5' on Rainsville gauge.)
500 -1000 cfs med runnable-a bit pushy runnable II+(III) Low-moderate flows. (Perhaps 6" to 1' on Rainsville gauge.)
1000 -2000 cfs med runnable-a bit pushy runnable II-III Moderate flows. (Perhaps 1' to 2' on Rainsville gauge.)
2000 -3000 cfs med runnable-a bit pushy runnable II-III+ High-moderate flows. (Perhaps 2' to 3' on Rainsville gauge.)
3000 -4000 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable II-III+ High boatable flow. (Perhaps 3-4' on Rainsville gauge.)
4000 -5000 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable II-III+(IV) High boatable flow. (Perhaps 4-5' on Rainsville gauge.)
5000 -6000 cfs somewhat High-somewhat High II-III+(IV) VERY high flow. (Perhaps 5-6' on Rainsville gauge.)
6000 -9999 cfs somewhat High-extremely High III-IV Flood levels! Extreme caution! (Likely over 6' on Rainsville gauge.)

Report - Reports of Big Pine Creek Rainsville to Twin Bridges (0.5-6.7 miles) and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

Reports

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Big Pine Creek [IN] IN, Big Pine, Rocky ford flat spin n/a Craig Nyquist
Big Pine Creek [IN] IN, Big Pine, Side Surfin 3 ft Will Crimmins
31d14h45m @Big Pine Creek Rainsville to Twin Bridges (0.5-6.7 miles) [IN] Old guys on the Big Pine 0 cfs Craig Nyquist
3y63d11h24m @Big Pine Creek Rainsville to Twin Bridges (0.5-6.7 miles) [IN] S-Curve 1.5 ft 10-14-14 n/a Jason H. Struble
3y63d17h48m @Big Pine Creek Rainsville to Twin Bridges (0.5-6.7 miles) [IN] 1.5 ft on bridge guage was a nice level. low runnable level Jason H. Struble
> 10 years Big Pine [IN] IN, Big Pine, S-Curve 1ft Rainsville bridg Craig Nyquist

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Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.1Rocky FordIIPlayspot Photo
0.6S-CurveII+Playspot Photo
3.5All Day WaveIIPlayspot
6.3Hawaii Five-OhPlayspot

Rapid Descriptions

Rocky Ford (Class II, Mile 0.1)

IN, Big Pine, Rocky ford flat spin

IN, Big Pine, Rocky ford flat spin
Photo of Chris Clark by whth20

The put-in is at a 'ford' (low-water crossing) in the river. Immediately the boater encounters a fine series of ledges, waves, and holes. Many are playable (at good flows), but few have any eddy service, meaning most will be 'catch-on-the-fly', 'one-and-done' play. Not a problem, because the next wave/hole is always just downstream.



S-Curve (Class II+, Mile 0.6)

IN, Big Pine, S-Curve

IN, Big Pine, S-Curve
Photo taken 01/09/05 @ 1ft Rainsville bridg

At most levels, this is the biggest and best playable feature on the run. A bedrock ridge extends from the right shore. At low-to-moderate flows, it diverts all water into a couple good waves and a wave/hole. Downstream current pushes through a large eddy and heads into the river-left wall/bank. At higher flows, water will spill over the ledge, and may form a bigger wave/hole.



All Day Wave (Class II, Mile 3.5)

A bedrock ledge/intrusion creates a sweet wave here. Boaters exclaim "You could surf all day on this," hence the name.



Hawaii Five-Oh

At high water, this area contains some wild wonderful waves.




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 Rainsville to Twin Bridges (0.5-6.7 miles), Big Pine Creek Indiana, US (mobile)