Beware of downed wood in some of the willow jungles and the low water bridge above Knopper's Ford. This bridge is in a blind corner with many willows obstructing the view with fast current making for a dangerous combo. Watch for the yellow/orange blaze on trees and stop to portage before entering the willows above the bridge. This bridge is about 1/2 mile below the house on river left along a long pool in the creek.
This is a sweet class II+ to III creek as the name sugests. Consists of small ledge type drops with a few larger ones thrown in to go along with some tight willow jungles.
The first rapid 'Wake-up Call', just below the put-in bridge, is a short offset drop next to a small bluff wall. Some of the bigger rapids are located within the next mile. Some nice ledge drops are located between the hazard bridge and Knoppers Ford. The largest drop 'Sugar Falls' is located at the end of a series of ledges below Knoppers Ford. The Falls is a 3-4 foot ledge with the most popular routes being down the a narrow tounge or a tight boof on the left side.
A steep drop along side the river right cliff, turning towards the left.
From the pool just below Wake-up Call, the creek runs fairly straight through a series of rapids and ledges for almost half mile. There are eddies throughout and at least one good side surf hole. This long section of the whitewater ends with a sharp turn toward river right along massive rocks on river left. There is rock in the run-out at the very bottom that forms a hole at higher levels that can flip the unsuspecting paddler.
There is a strainer blocking the main channel on the upper section of Sugar Creek. The strainer is located in a rapid that comes after one of the first long pool on the creek. The course of the creek turns to the right as it exits the pool. The strainer is blocking the main channel on river right. The strainer is visibale from the top of the rapid. It was possible to bump down the left channel at a level of 1 foot on the guage. The left channel would be easier at hgiehr flows. Distance from putin is a very crude approximation.
Pool adjacent to Knopper Ford campgrounds (USFS). Just above is a fairly good rapid at optimum flows. This photo was taken at very low water. Just downstream, paddlers need to takeout to cross a low water bridge. Can be used as put-in for running Sugar Falls section or a take-out.
Rapid is described in the description for Sugar Falls.
Sugar Falls is located between the low water bridge at Knopper's Ford and the Take-out at Jack Creek Recreation Area. Approaching to the falls Sugar creek follows a backward C shape course. This approach can be recognized by a slab of rock extending into the creeks path that has a barb wire running across it. The initial part of this course is through rocks and willow jungles. The second part consists a few small ledges. At most levels, there are eddies on river right from which Sugar Falls can be scouted. At higher flows, most people boof off the thumb/finger projection of the ledge on the river left side of the level. At lower flows, there is a tongue that can be run just right of the finger proection (see AW photo 39920). There is a huge pool immediately below the falls. If yu carry up along the river right bank to re-run the falls watch out for the remains of a barb wire fence.
Pool typically used as a take-out for runs on either Jack or Sugar Creek. Photo was taken at a very low flow. Recreation area is closed. Camping is permitted upstream at Knopper's Ford.
Paddling may be possible downstream of Jack Creek Recreation Area if a take-out is identified.
The low water bridge upstream of Knopper's Ford can be difficult to see when floating downstream due to a willow jungle. An eddy upstream of the bridge on river left has been marked with a yellow blaze painted onto a tree. A trail between the bridge and eddy has been marked with yellow blazes also so that paddlers can view the eddy during the shuttle.
As of March 19, 2006, there are 2 barb wire fences extending across the stream between Knopper's Ford low water bridge and the next low water bridge upstream, 2nd upstream bridge.
10 years ago
by david brauer
11 years ago
*The cited 'reference' gauge (on Dutch Creek) should provide decent correlation, as its headwaters are south of Sugar's. Also look for the Petit Jean near Booneville to be going big as well. (however this gauge reacts slow as it is well down on the watershed.
There is a painted gauge on the downstream side of the middle bridge support at the Jack Creek Rec Area bridge.
Minimum = 1 foot
Optimum = 1.5 to 2 feet
High = >3 feet
Permits are not required for this reach.
Take-out: Go South on Hwy 23 from Booneville and turn left on 116 (Jack Creek Road). Continue on this road for 7.4 miles. Shortly after the road enters the National Forest, it comes to an intersection with FS Road 19 (gravel to the right). Turn left to stay on the paved Jack Creek Road and continue for 1.2 miles to the Jack Creek Recreation Area.
Put-in: Go back upstream on Jack Creek Road and turn left on FS Road 19 toward Knoppers Ford Recreation Area. Continue past Knoppers Ford and put-in at the second bridge upstream (water flowing from right to left under the bridge)
Strainer on Upper Sugar Creek
Willow Jungle Alley
Willow jungle alley
Looking up at Wake up call
Boss on the rock
Pool at Knopper 's Ford at low water
Take-out pool at Jack Creek Rec Area
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