Wabash - Markle to County Road 150 S (1.2 miles)

Wabash, Indiana, US


Markle to County Road 150 S (1.2 miles) (Markle bypass channel)

Usual Difficulty I-II(III) (varies with level)
Length 1.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm

Wabash, Dan

Wabash, Dan
Photo of Dan Koontz by Jay taken spring -01 @ 550 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03323000 300 - 3000 cfs I-II(III) 00h42m ~ 132 cfs (too low)
Too low for meaningful whitewater play. USGS gauge (532 Sq.Mi.Drainage) is about 15 miles upstream. A number of fairly small tribs intervene, so gauge should still be fairly accurate for this run.

River Description

Put in on south side of a dike at the end of Wilt Street. Walk past the gates and down the stone road to the river's south channel. (The north channel is all flat water.)

The rapids start 600' downstream of Hwy.3 bridge and continue for 1,500'. Class 1 riffles are followed by a river wide ledge that has a wave to surf. The next ledge is broken with 1.5' to 2' waves.

Scout the next one -- the waves and hole are close together so look at them both. The entrance is a sloping drop of 3' to 4' with some bigger waves and a good eddy on the left. Just below is a river wide hole with good eddies on both sides so you can stop to play. This hole can be a stopper (hard to get out of at some levels), with 500 cfs or a little more being a good play level. At higher levels this hole gets bigger than any on the East Race.

This is followed by a smaller rapid that has a fast chute with a strong eddy line on the right with deep water that is fun to play in. A bit of flat water leads to the take out on river-left at the end of County Road 150 S.

At 2,000 cfs the waves can reach 3 to 4' and the holes get big. Rescue could be difficult and scouting is recommended.

At 2,500 the river starts to go out out of it's banks, with big waves and holes which are stoppers (though they don't seem to keep you). The current is very fast so be careful!

This is a man-made channel which tends to change a bit each year. If the water is high, Rock Creek is a good warm up which uses the same take out.

The following YouTube video shows Markle at 1300 cfs.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-01-29 19:44:00


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.3First ledgeIPlayspot Photo
0.4Second LedgeIPlayspot
0.4Wabash WaveIPlayspot Photo
0.6The Big DropII+Hazard Playspot Photo
0.6Brian's HoleIIHazard Playspot Photo

Rapid Descriptions

First ledge (Class I, Mile 0.3)

Wabash, First ledge

Wabash, First ledge
Photo of Brian and Brent Koontz by Jay Koontz

A small ledge that has some play spots

Second Ledge (Class I, Mile 0.4)

This ledge has a smooth surfing wave on river-left

Wabash Wave (Class I, Mile 0.4)

Wabash Wave 2

Wabash Wave 2
Photo of Brian Koontz by Jay Koontz

A wave with deeper water and an eddy on river-right

The Big Drop (Class II+, Mile 0.6)

Big Drop

Big Drop
Photo of Jay Koontz by Dan taken spring-01 @ 2550 cfs

A sloping drop of 4 to 5 feet into some big waves. A good eddy exists at river-left. Scout this from river-left.

Brian's Hole (Class II, Mile 0.6)

Wabash River

Wabash River
Photo of Graig by Ross Frank taken 09/05/04 @ 287

A big hole comes quickly after the waves of Big Drop. This can be a stopper at some levels, or a play spot for some at lower levels. (Scout this when you scout Big Drop.)

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 29 2014 (1540 days ago)
jstruble (156583)
We ran this twice now (at 350 cfs and 950cfs). As stated the rapid has changed and we ran it twice
recently at two different levels so here is what we found. Big drop & Brian's Hole are really one
rapid in my opinion. The rapid is easy to recognize as you can see the river clearly falling away
on the horizon as you approach. The combined total drop of the rapid from entrance to final pool is
maybe 10-15 feet (two slanting drops of 4' plus some gradient in the entrance and in between the
drops). Eddy out on river left to scout. As you approach there are small waves as the gradient
increases. We'll call that the "entrance waves". Once through the entrance (if you didn't eddy
out), you approach Big Drop, there is a small surfable hole river right at the top about 20-30 feet
before the drop which is why we call it the "hero hole". You can play that wave/hole but your roll
better be lighting fast if you flip as there "might" be enough time for a roll, and its fast
current and shallow. Screwup factor is increased if you play that upper hole and flip. The drop is
a slanting drop with a hole at the bottom. At 350 cfs there is a curling tongue on river right that
flows towards right of center which was the more hero route. The middle line is pretty straight
forward...punch the hole, and left of center is the more conservative route. Catch the eddy on
either side (river left is preferred) then run the drop into Brian's Hole. Brians Hole: Center and
right over this drop put you into the meat of the hole. Run center angled to the left and punch /
skirt the left side of the hole. Far River left misses the hole at both 350 cfs and 950 cfs. The
hole was very retentive at 350cfs, yet very playable at 950cfs. Don't let lower water level fool
you on this one, I don't think the classification would change much between 950 and 350. I'll
upload a photo. Although I never ran this before the changes, from what I have head about it, I
think with the changes to the rapid, calling it class II is maybe under rated. I would rate it more
like a class II+ or III- depending on levels. This definitely has more going on than S-Turn on Big
Pine Creek II-III? or Widowmaker II+ on Pipe Creek. Also we tried parking at the ball field once
and hiking up over the levee. Not recommended unless you are park n playing and have to walk back
up to your car. Walking down the levee over the big loose rocks was tricky while carrying a boat
and it was a longer walk than we thought. Happy paddling!