Flat Creek - McDowell Low Water Bridge to Stubblefield Access

Flat Creek, Missouri, US


McDowell Low Water Bridge to Stubblefield Access (Winter Eagle Float)

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 7.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 6 fpm


Photo of Third Passage by David Jackson taken 02/25/09 @ 4.5 ft.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Flat Creek below Jenkins, MO
usgs-07052820 150 - 1000 cfs I-II 00h36m 126 cfs (too low)

River Description

FUN FACT: This is known as the "Winter Eagle Float" because it's renowned as a fine place for viewing eagles, especially in the winter (duh). Paddlers can see dozens of eagles perched on the bluffs along the river.

The putin is at a low-water bridge with many large culvert tubes for good surfing.  About a mile or so down from the putin lies the old flour millpond, a long, calm pool parallel to a steep rocky cliff and Farm Road 1165.  At the end of the pool is the millpond dam.  This dam remains mostly intact with three passages to exit.

The "first passage" on the far left is most dangerous due to a hanging locust tree and a hairpin turn around the dam corner. 

The "second passage", about 10 ft. right from the first passage is floatable at higher water levels.  When floatable, this passage is about 4 ft. wide and has a 2-3 ft. drop.

NOTE: As of 2-25-09, the second passage has become obstructed with wood and debris. 

The "third passage" on the far right of the creek is your safest choice.  This passage is a wide, broken section of the dam with a 2-3 ft. drop.

About 200 ft. after the dam is "Canner's Ledge," which forms good creek-wide surf waves. After the ledge is a recently formed logjam (as of March 2009), passable at lower water levels through a slot to the far left corner of the creek.

Approximately 500-600 ft. from the logjam will be another calm and deep pool, known as Eagle Alley.

NOTE: Due to recent tornado activity in this area, many trees on the hillside to the river right and near the creek have fallen, none of which pose any obstruction to boaters.

The Eagle Alley pool (approx. 1,000 ft. long) indicates you will be approaching another set of rapids. The first is a small surf wave that primes you for a creek-wide rapid called "Eagle Alley Ledge," which churns up some whitewater at all water levels (medium to high are best). Stick to the center of this rapid to avoid flipping.  We've referred to this rapid as "final ledge" in conversation.

NOTES: Most of all of the ledges on this section tend to smooth out more at high levels.

After the final ledge (Eagle Alley Ledge), you will float under the FR 2080 iron bridge.  This marks the beginning of some good surf waves and riffles that can be seen from the bridge.  The flat rock bed underneath these rapids makes them smooth as butter.

After these rapids and where the creek begins to bend lies Swallow Bluff, a great place to swim, fish, and picnic. I would approximate this as a halfway point on this run.

Approximately another 1.5 miles will take you under the FR 1182 concrete bridge.  From here you will float another approx. 1.7 miles you will arrive at the Stubblefield Rapids.

The Stubblefield Rapids are the biggest stretch of whitewater on this run and ALL of Flat Creek.  This fast set of rapids is very straightforward with no pin potential due to the smooth flat rock underlying.  The entire stretch of this white water section is approximately 200ft.  After these rapids is a large, deep, pool and the Stubblefield River Access Area (TAKE OUT).  

David Jackson

See also this Google Map, with a few points of interest highlighted.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-05-04 22:50:58

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
March 29 2010 (2676 days ago)
David JacksonDetails
As of a float on 10-31-09, the log jam after canners ledge has broken free. Boaters beware for
2010, each year new and more obstructive jams may occur.

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