Barton Creek, Texas, US
|Usual Difficulty||II+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||13 fpm|
|Barton Ck at SH 71 nr Oak Hill, TX|
|usgs-08155200||150 - 10000 cfs||II+||01h04m||90.4 cfs (too low)|
|Barton Ck at Lost Ck Blvd nr Austin, TX|
|usgs-08155240||200 - 10000 cfs||II+||00h20m||135 cfs (too low)|
This section of Barton Creek is very scenic, is surprisingly continuous (very little flat water), and is generally runnable at lower flows than the sections below Lost Creek. With the exception of the dams and other man-made obstacles (all of which are described below), the rapids are all Class II. However, if there has not been a flood recently, the natural rapids will likely become clogged with saplings and strainers and may require some Class II+/III- moves to avoid these. This stretch of the creek is also notorious for downed trees, some of which can create river-wide must-portage hazards, so be vigilant. The banks are all private property, so there is no way to shorten the run.
Distances and gradient measured using GIS tools in 2015.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||State Highway 71 Bridge||N/A|
|4.4||Low-Head Dam/Low-Water Crossing||N/A|
|9.3||Barton Creek Blvd. High Bridge||N/A|
|9.6||Car Dealer Dam/Low-Water Crossing||II|
|11.5||Foot Bridge/Low-Water Crossing||N/A|
|11.8||Bend of the River Dr. Low-Water Crossing||N/A|
Very limited parking is available on the river right downstream (southeast) side of the bridge, by accessing the highway easement via a turnout located near the end of the bridge guardrails. If you are heading toward Bee Cave, this turnout will be on the right before you cross the bridge. Despite being a high bridge, the abutment is gently sloped and can be used as a ramp for accessing the creek below.
Diagonal dam/low-water crossing creates a mild hydraulic at low runnable flows (behavior at higher flows is unknown.) It can be run at river left if there is sufficient water. A manky creek line exists at river right, although it can frequently become clogged with debris, and its runnability is unknown. Scout & portage on river left.
This dam/low-water crossing creates a significant drop, and the downstream side of it is effectively undercut due to the culverts that run through the dam. Thus, it creates a significant recirculating hydraulic when the water is high enough to overtop the dam (which is known to be the case at low runnable flows. Behavior at high flows is unknown.) Can be boofed at river left by experienced whitewater paddlers. Scout & portage on river left.
Reference point (no access.)
Trivia: this bridge, which was built in 1986, is the only single-girder fin-back bridge in the U.S.
Remnants of a broken dam (formerly called "Car Dealer Dam") create a straightforward rapid. The low-water crossing just downstream of the old dam should be fully submerged-- and thus should not present a hazard-- at all runnable levels, but always use caution around low-water crossings. Scout & portage on river left if necessary.
Should be runnable by whitewater paddlers, but always use caution around low-water crossings. This particular one has a portruding pipe that must be avoided. Scout & portage on river left.
Cart crossing for the Lost Creek Country Club. The low-water crossing is known to be a must-portage sieve hazard at low runnable flows, and the foot bridge likely creates a hazard at higher flows. Portage river left.
This low-water crossing (the former route of Lost Creek Blvd., before they built the high bridge) has numerous narrow pipes, so it is frequently clogged with debris and creates a sieve at low flows, and it creates a deadly recirculating hydraulic at high flows. Portage/take out at river left.