Plum Creek is the best play run for Louisville area boaters. 5 miles with over 50 playspots. Point your bow up stream and catch a wave, if you miss one another will quickly follow. Flowing along the Bullitt and Spencer county line the creek runs only a few days a year. Look for thunderstorms bringing 1.5"+ of rain to the area. Before the rain stops head to the river as the water will not last long.
As far as hazards, it's a narrow stream that is pretty much a flush from top to bottom, with very few eddies, strainers are a possibility. There are 3 bridges on the run and each of these should be approached with caution since the pilings can trap logs pretty easily. Class II-III skills are adequate if you are comfortable reading water on the fly.
Best rafting day of my life: Ran Plum at 1 foot as it drained down to 6 inches. Hazard to include: Below KY 155 about a third of a mile is a low water bridge. The 3 foot ledge wasn't runnable on right at such a low level, but we were able to climb up that side to re-run this rapid, which I did 4 times. Left middle was the most fun, and far left is broken in to two ledges with no hydraulic whatsoever. The only bad experience I had was on this 3 foot drop: The main current flushes out in the very middle and creates a very nasty keeper hydraulic that tossed my raft like a raging bull, and I only escaped thanx to my throw-rope and my brother pulling me out. We also encountered a ledge that was very sticky; we fell in the middle and we were only able to escape this hole by eventually making are way to the very left of the creek. Another ledge had a very sticky hole on the middle right. There were tons of eddies at 1 foot, and if your inexperienced this is a great level for you. If you ever get scared just stay to the left EXCEPT for the class III rapid under the forth bridge, run it far right.
-Note- To view the pages below: Copy the URL(http://www.whatever.com) and paste it in your web browser's Address bar, and press Enter. I have invented two different ways of figuring out whether it's runnable. The first is a gauge of a creek named Cedar Creek, a high-water stream (that is, streams that can only be run after exceptionally heavy rains) just like Plum Creek is, and with a similar gradient as Plum (17 FPM average, 35 FPM max). The only difference is that Cedar Creek isn't as wide, and it has a gauge. But since both of these creeks are highwater creeks, with the same gradient, and the gauge is located 10 miles west of Plum Creek; it's a great way to see if Plum is running. The next method is to look at the precipitation gauge at the Ohio river. If 1.4 inches of rain falls in 4.5 hours, plum will be running as long as the same storm that hit downtown by the Ohio has hit Plum Creek, then this method is very accurate I think. Or you can just watch the weather channel to find out how much water has fallen. I think it flashes up super quick at the very bottom during your local on the 8's. This is a picture fully explaining everything using USGS charts and some explanations, and it is to be used as an example to see what it is going to take rain wise to get to run Plum:
Below is the URL to the Cedar Creek gauge and you can check it all the time after every storm and you will soon learn that it is definitely a highwater creek just like Plum. If the creek were 5 or 10 feet wider it would be Plums exact clone as far as the way it fills up and drains water. If this gauge said that Cedar Creek maxed out at 3 feet and it's currently at 1.6 feet, then plum should be at 1 foot(as long as the storm hit both creeks, there only 10 miles apart). It would be even better if you got in Plum when Cedar was at 3 feet of course. I wouldn't recommend running Plum just cause Cedar maxed out at 1.5 feet, because Plum and Cedar would loose that amount of water very quickly. I have found my cedar gauge to only be accurate up to 1 foot, if cedar says one foot then plum should be at half a foot. This has been tested on four different occasions or more, and all of the tests were in my theories favor. Here is the URL address to the Cedar Creek Gauge:
To find out how much it has rained at Downtown Louisville, use this URL address to the Precipitation in inches gauge, it is at the bottom of the page: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?cb_00065=on&cb_00
UPDATE: Here is a link to tons precipitation gauges all around Louisville:
If the storm is going from west to east, then TR08 (Fern Creek) plays an important role in finding our if Plum is runnable, especially if the storm is heading north east.
TR07 (Floyds Fork) also plays an important role, if both of these gauges say that there has been a total of 1 inch of rain, Plum might be at a low runnable level, but if they say 1.4 inches, and if it’s wet season, and if all of that rain fell in 4 hours, and the storm is heading in a western direction, then you can bet it’s running. TR15 might also play an important role, I forgot I’ll have to go rummage through my notes and give a more in depth explanation later, and yes I’m serious lol.
*Important put in instructions*
The property owner at the put in asks that paddlers take the gravel drive down the shore line and park at the second barn on the right. Pull into the fenced area outside the barn and park along the fence. DRIVE SLOW ON THE PROPERTY. The property owner has many dogs, and kids. Plus wet ground causes ruts. Obey her rules or don
The gauge is on the Rd. 1633 bridge. But is best to drive to the putin, and if it looks fun putin. 6" is a scrape. 3 - 5.5ft is a blast. Over 7 then watch your head on the bridges.
Permits are not required for this reach.
The property owner at the put in asks that paddlers take the gravel drive down the shore line and park at the last barn on the right. Pull into the fenced area outside the barn and park along the fence. DRIVE SLOW ON THE PROPERTY. The property owner has many dogs, and kids. Plus wet ground causes ruts. Obey her rules or don't park on her property. On a side note: The stone house is on the National Register of Historic Places.To putin: Take Taylorsville Road out of Louisville toward Taylorsville Lake. A couple miles past the Gene Snyder Freeway (265) you'll pick up Hwy 155.
Approximately 6 miles on 155, you'll see a road on the right just before you pass over the creek, Wilsonville Road Take this right approximately 50 yards to the "T", take a left at the "T" (1633) and cross the bridge. Take a right on to 1319. 1319 will make a right at the putin. (Kings Church Road) Cross the creek at the putin is on the left.
To takeout: re-cross the bridge and turn right (onto 1060). The road parallels the creek heading down stream which allows for car scouting along the way. Make a left on Hwy 44. The takeout is at Waterford Park just across the creek.
Bottom of Sycamore
First Surf Wave
First Bridge Waves
Great Surfing Wave
Plum Putin Parking
Plum Creek Access Map
High Water Plum Wave
The Jim Gunn Show
Buddy's from the top Eddy
Surfing Below Buddy's
Upper Hole Buddy's
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