- Last Updated on Thursday, 17 May 2012 20:55
Like its neighboring Jackson, Bullpasture, and Cowpasture rivers, Back Creek has some of the best water quality and healthiest fish populations in the state. Draining a valley with almost no development, its waters run clear with a turquoise hue to the confluence with the Jackson at McClintic Bridge, passing first through a high valley of pasture of forest before cutting through a cliff lined gorge with mature hardwood forest.
Back Creek is an exceptional trout fishery, and the surrounding National Forest and private lands support outstanding populations of black bear, deer, and other game. It has two public campgrounds along it, including the convenient and beautiful Blowing Springs facility located off Route 39 just west of
Please note that written permission is required to pass through the two and a half miles or so of Back Creek gorge that is owned by Boiling Springs Rod and Gun Club. Game wardens in
- (daytrip) Mountain Grove to McClintic bridge: If water levels are high enough and the weather isn’t too cold I would recommend putting in along Route 39 near Mountain Grove and paddling the 7 miles to McClintic bridge.
- (daytrip) Gauging station or Blowing Springs to
: If water levels aren’t high enough or the weather is cold then the paddler can savor the highlights of Back Creek by putting in at either the gauging station or Blowing Springs for a four to four and a half mile trip. McClintic Bridge
Directions to Put ins and Take Outs:
View Back Creek in a larger map
Mountain Grove: Put in anywhere that isn’t posted along Route 39 just south of Mountain Grove; Back Creek runs next to the road.
Gauging Station: The gauging station, visible from Route 39 just east of the intersection with Route 600, has a small gravel pull off.
Blowing Springs: This campground is located at the foot of
McClintic bridge: Park in the large gravel lot on the east side of the river next to the one lane Route 603 bridge, called McClintic bridge. This bridge is at the top of
Sections of River to Run:
Mountain Grove to Gauging Station: These two miles or so consist of continual riffles and small ledges, except for a slightly larger cobble bar drop at the confluence with Little Back Creek. Note that it is often possible to put in at the confluence of these two creeks along Route 39 but not higher because Little Back Creek adds significant volume to Back Creek (which is also known as Big Back Creek, particularly above the confluence with Little Back Creek). Probably 250 cfs or so would be a good minimum for this section.
Gauging Station to Blowing Springs: This short (approximately ½ mile) stretch has a number of small ledges and cobble bars, and should be run unless some folks in the group want to hang around camp at Blowing Springs while others run shuttle. Putting in at Blowing Springs is convenient if one is already camping there (particularly site number 11, which has a short path straight to the creek), but one misses a half mile of enjoyable rapids.
Blowing Springs to McClintic bridge (Route 603): For the first mile and a third Back Creek passes through mature
Immediately below this ledge one will see several yellow signs denoting the property boundary of the Boiling Springs Rod and Gun Club (BSRGC). Due to the nature of conveyance of
After entering BSRGC property, Back Creek slows down for a couple miles, passing through scenic bottomland over small cobble bars. Large mountains are still visible on all sides. Near the confluence with the
A minimum of 200 cfs is required to run Back Creek gorge. At this level no rapids are harder than an easy class 2, and there are no hazards other than trees that may have fallen in the current. If there is enough water to run through the ledges near the gauging station or the cobbles near Blowing Springs then there will be enough water for the whole trip with only minimal scraping. A good pair of weekend trips is