Pipe Creek - 925 East Rd to 275 South Rd (1.3 miles)

Pipe Creek, Indiana, US


925 East Rd to 275 South Rd (1.3 miles)

Usual Difficulty I-II+(V) (for normal flows)
Length 1.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 20 fpm
Max Gradient 30 fpm

Low water

Low water
Photo of Will Crimmins by Andrew Cooper taken 02/03/06 @ 1 ft

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03333450 200 - 830 cfs I-II+(V) 01h13m ~ 149 cfs (too low)
Likely too low. Reference gauge (Wildcat Ck, about 30 miles S.E., drains 146 sq.mi.), may provide some indication of flow. (Flow possibly 1.2X gauge; Correlation not assured.)

River Description

The run is located about four miles north and west of Grissom AFB, or about two miles south and east of Lewisburg (near the confluence with the Wabash River). While it is a fairly short (1.3 mile) stretch, area boaters 'divide' it into two portions.

K-1 (kilometer one) - the upper section, which provides some warm-up rapids. There are three ledges which can be used for endless flat spins and surfs, in addition to a handful of other spots with (generally) sufficient depth to allow great squirt moves.

K-2 (kilometer two) - the second section, begins as the river approaches the road again, starting with Grumpy's Ledge. There are several more ledges, building up to two larger V-shaped slots that develop good holes and wave trains. The last of these is Widowmaker, which (at more than 3 feet on the boaters gauge) contains a massive green wave backed up by a foam-pile. Below Widowmaker you'll find a few waves, and a minor clearing where the road is immediately adjacent. This is the recommended take-out at higher levels, so that you aren't in jeopardy of inadvertently being swept over the dam and falls downstream.

There is one more nice combination, a ledge/hole and a deep hole, Bear Claw, that is good for endless play (even the aerial variety). However, not far downstream lies a 16ft dam and roaring falls, so extreme caution is urged. At lower levels, there is sufficient pool to make playing Bear Claw reasonable for sufficiently skilled boaters.

While the dam/falls reportedly has been run, it should be carefully scouted. The left lands either on rock or in a hole backed up by rock. Fairly well toward river-right the falls is a 'two-step' affair. However, the step/slab of rock is back-cut sufficiently that (at low water) it is possible to paddle back in under the rock and behind the water. While there is another wave/playspot just downstream, there is also another dam downstream which is posted against trespass and a property owner is reportedly very 'boater unfriendly'. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you complete your trip (I.E., take-out) above the first dam.

Comparing to the Big Pine (70 miles to the southwest), Pipe Creek at 2.5 feet (by one report) "has ...far better eddy service ... with a couple of waves comparable to S-Curve (on Big Pine). At just over 4', Pipe is massive! Big waves, sticky holes, and lots of fun." Additionally, its watershed is fairly large, so "the Pipe" will usually be runnable for a few days (to most of a week!) after a good rain in the area.

Thanks to Shaun, Matt, and Doug for providing information.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2006-02-08 01:16:44


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Drainage: ~175 sq.mi.N/A

Rapid Descriptions

Drainage: ~175 sq.mi. (Class N/A)

Drainage area at our listed put-in is approximately 175 sq.mi. (as calculated via USGS StreamStats Beta software).

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
August 24 2014 (1611 days ago)
jstruble (156583)
Beware of VERY unfriendly land owner down stream. We ran this at 720cfs (on the wildcat guage which
by the end of the day it was 1,200) on 5-17-14 and it was a great run. (bridge has a visual guage
that said 2 1/2 feet) We were driving along the road to scout before running and the land owner
must have seen us drive by. At the put in, we were minding our own business and he apparently got
in his black pickup truck and drove up there. He pulled up and rolled his window down to which I
said hello. He asked if we were going to paddle. In short he made sure we knew he owned the land
below the first dam / falls and not to step foot on his property. I said we want to be respectful
to his community, him, and his property. I asked about portaging the low head dam (which is
adjacent to his property) and I explained the dangers of low head dams and that I wasn't sure but
thought there may be an easement immediately around the dam. He said there was no easement, and I
was not about to argue with this guy. I expressed the danger to my two boys and myself that the dam
presented and that I would hope he would allow us to portage and not risk my children's lives. He
said "That's your problem! if you paddle down there you go over the dam" (implying he could care
les about the risk... step on his land we would go to jail). I asked him very politely stating that
we were trying to be good stewards and neighborly... did he have a bad experience with paddlers or
why would he not allow portage. He said they were dragging their boats across his land and
trampling his wives flowers. The reality is this guy has some issues and there is NO changing his
mind. Regardless it is his land so as paddlers we should respect it despite him being unfriendly. I
explained to him that we had no intention of paddling down to his land. He then drove off without
any further words. FYI the dam is breached in the middle 1/3 so it is not 100% uniform or all the
way across, so scout from bridge and use caution if you run it. We took out above the falls, and
made the run twice. We met a VERY friendly lady named Nora who had no problem with us parking at
the pull off right by widowmaker rapid. In fact they put the retaining railroad ties (4x6 wood)
along the road to make pulling off easier. So be respectful to them, that's our last and only spot
to park. There is one more rapid downstream before the falls which we didn't run. After meeting the
land owner we decided to skip it and be extra careful. Turns out you can run it and safely get out
and get back on the road to walk back up to your car. at 720 cfs (on the wildcat guage, 2' on the
Putin bridge) it looked as if you could paddle right up to the lower low head dam (NOT THE UPPER
16' DAM) and probably get out onto the damn, get over it, and back into your boat (dam has center
opening and is higher on the sides). I don't know if that is still trespassing. I called the local
DNR and asked for clarification and he said he didn't really have the answer. Best bet is to avoid
the guys property or don't portage. I will not recommend running a low head dam. The rapids above
widow maker had small surfable waves and eddys. I would call the rapids above at this level still
class I or II- tops. The widow maker at this lever was a legitimate class II or II+. The wave
surfed more like a class III in size. Great safe wave to play. Worth the trip.