Walnut Creek - Hwy 6 in Urbandale to Raccoon River (7 miles)

Walnut Creek, Iowa, US


Hwy 6 in Urbandale to Raccoon River (7 miles)

Usual Difficulty I-II(III) (for normal flows)
Length 7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm
Max Gradient 10 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Walnut Creek at Des Moines, IA
usgs-05484800 120 - 750 cfs I-II(III) 38d23h57m 40.3 cfs (too low)
Too low to bother (no whitewater)? (We need your input to more fully characterize what happens at different flows. Add a comment or report!) Gauge (78.4 sq.mi. drainage) is on reach, so accurately reflects flow at that point. Put-in is on small trib, so expect much less flow until confluence.

River Description

This creek only flows after local rain, and can rise and fall fairly quickly. The water is primarily street run-off and can be pretty dirty unless it has been raining for a couple days. The run is class I-II except that you need to be prepared to deal with the likelihood of severe strainers. There are often downed trees that can completely block the creek and require you to portage, though sometimes experienced boaters can slip under or over them.

There are several small drops and waves which form at different locations along the run depending on water level. The best drop is near the top of the run, behind the City of Clive's baseball field as you pass under a bike trail bridge. As you approach the Walmart section in Windsor Heights, there is a series of three small drops that are great fun, but hide some old bridge pilings at higher flows so be prepared.

The last good take-out opportunity is below a small drop at 63rd & Grand, where parking is available. There is a wave that forms here at medium-to-high flows.

If you proceed beyond this point, you are probably doomed to float into the Raccoon River and take out in Waterworks Park. You can continue down the Raccoon River if you like, but it is a wide and typically slow float. Also, there is a low-head dam as you pass under the Martin Luther King bridge that can cause trouble if you aren't ready for it. Best to portage unless the water level is high enough that it is completely submerged, at which point it doesn't appear to pose a problem. Still, better to be safe.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-06-01 15:02:42


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.

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