Difficulty I-II
Length 3.6 Miles
Flow Range 200 - 2500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 21 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2019 12:56 am

River Description

NOTE: Currently the cited put in and take out locations are being claimed by local land owners as "private property" despite being road easements (thus within the auspices of Illinois Department of Transportation). Until further notice, please review the map and find alternate put in and take out locations.

Rapid Descriptions

Tres Pas

Class - N/A Mile - 1.54


Gage Descriptions

The gauge for Bear Creek is located right at the put-in at the bridge on County Road 900 E. The drainage area at the gauge is 349 square miles, so it doesn't take much rain to the north and east to bring the water up. Between 0.2" and 0.5" of rainfall north of Marcelline, Illinois is usually sufficient to make this a class II run (between 800-1200 CFS).

Water levels drop rapidly once the tributaries stop getting runoff, so check the gauge frequently. The creek can rise to maximum runable levels in as little as 12 hours and drop just as quickly.

Bear creek is a floatable class I even at low levels (lower than 50 cfs), though the riffles will have you out of your boat more than in it.

The rapids start shaping up around 500 cfs, with ideal levels between 800-1200. Higher water (in excess of 2500 cfs) is boatable, but there is usually so much debris that it becomes very hazardous and the water quality is poor.


Gauge/flow analysis based on data from a gauge at or near the put-in location 1944-03-01 to 2008-08-18
Drainage area at gauge 349 sq.mi.
Minimum mean daily flow during stated period 0 cfs
90% of time flow exceeds 1.1 cfs
10% of time flow exceeds 414 cfs
Maximum mean daily flow during stated period 21,300 cfs (2002.05.12)
Average days per year over recommended 'low' threshold ( 100 cfs)  92
Average days per year over recommended 'high' threshold ( 4,000 cfs)  4

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports






clinton begley


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1211696 04/02/19 Rob updated image position
1207350 03/20/17 Rob minor edit
1194165 08/19/08 clinton begley n/a
1195321 06/04/09 Rob