Difficulty I-II at this flow (III normally)
Length 0.1 Miles
Flow Range 200 - 4000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 362 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2019 1:06 am

River Description

This is the premier park and play spot for Central Illinois.

Depending upon river level, play ranges from small waves, to big waves and a big hole.

A huge eddy houses debris (anything from trees to garbage to the namesake fish) so stay on your toes.
Extended description, pictures, maps, and video clips available at http://www.rivers-end.org/sangamon/

Rapid Descriptions


Class - N/A Mile - 0

Some of the fun which may be had (flow/level unfortunately unknown).

Low-water surfs

Class - N/A Mile - 0

Even at just 300 cfs, there is a wave for some boat time!


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8 years ago

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10 years ago

Paddled the DCD yesterday at 2500. It was too high for any significant play opportunities. There was one shallow play hole that only allowed flatspins on far river left and a pretty small surf wave on far river right. The DCD hole was very much washed out and only remained as a completely green (brown) wave. Perhaps if you had a long boat, surfboard, or body board you could surf it well. But no luck in my playboat.

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clinton begley
16 years ago

Definitely worth the drive for a beginner looking to get some surfing or hole playing experience under his/her belt. The whole length of the sangamon river is pretty tame class I stuff except for this nice little drop in petersburg. We drove 2 hours and weren't disapointed. More experienced paddlers may be bored with it or feel it wasn't worth the trip, but if you live close and are looking for a whitewater fix, this is the place!

Gage Descriptions

The USGS gauge is approximately 30 miles upstream. At times of rapid waterlevel change, there is approximately a 20 hour delay from the level at Riverton to this playspot in Petersburg.

The drainage area at Petersburg is 3,063 square miles, whereas the drainage at the gauge in Riverton is 2,618 square miles. Thus, one might expect (on average) the actual flow at this playspot to be 1.17 times (or 1 and 1/6th as much as) the flow on the cited gauge.

Gauge/flow analysis based on Riverton gauge 1908 to 2008:
Minimum mean daily flow during stated period: 3 cfs (1914.10)
90% of time flow exceeds: 84 cfs
10% of time flow exceeds: 3,490 cfs
Maximum mean daily flow during stated period: 67,700 cfs (1943.05.19)
10/90 ratio ('flashy-ness'): 41.5 (under 3 is fairly steady, over 10 is quite 'flashy')

Average days per year over recommended 'low' threshold (75 cfs): 223

Directions Description

This is a park-and-play, therefore the 'shuttle directions' are meaningless. However, use the text box below to enter your home or other starting address to get drive time, distance, and directions to this spot.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

Illinois proposed "Exclusion Zones" threaten boating

Kevin Colburn

The state of Illinois has proposed a new dam safety law.  The proposed law includes the establishment of a 300 ft upstream and 50 ft downstream exclusion zone around “dams” identified by the law as a threat to boaters. The law would prevent portage at many dams, effectively preventing public recreation.  It would also senselessly end use at at least one popular whitewater feature.




Erik Johnson


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1208804 01/27/18 Rob minor edit (gauge analysis)
1193213 10/25/08 Erik Johnson n/a
1211713 04/02/19 Rob updated image position