Trip Reports for Sugar Creek

Trip Report submitted by Chuck Smith of Cabins & Candlelight:

On June 4, 2013, our Boy Scout Troop paddled Sugar Creek in 7 recreational kayaks from C.R. 1100 East in Montgomery County to the covered bridge in Darlington. This is nice section of the creek that is often overlooked, but it's important to catch it at the right water level.  On the day of our trip, the Crawfordsville gauge was at 2.7 feet.  Anything less than 2.5 is getting a little low/rocky in spots.  Anything much over 3.0 feet brings some pretty strong currents.  Either way, this section is probably not best for novices, in that some river-reading ability is helpful to navigate certain areas and avoid spills.  There is decent parking space for 2-3 vehicles at the C.R. 1100 East bridge.  The descent down to the creek is a little rough and may be somewhat overgrown, but anglers usually keep a path beat down.  This section of the Creek might not be quite as dramatic as the Turkey run area, but is still interesting and largely secluded.  Very few signs of development are obvious from the creek at this time of year.  I have also seen a wide variety of wildlife on this section.  It's also unlikely that you will encounter any other float groups.    The river section from C.R. 950 East to 700 East is the most noteworthy from an excitement and navigation perspective.  There are some nice choppy areas in here that are pretty fun, but keep in mind that rock gardens are what create the excitement, and many of the rocks are pretty well hidden by the rapids at this water level.  There is a nice section of rapids just as you cross under an old railroad bridge.  Keep you eyes open at this point however, because the next section of rapids hides a shelf that appears to cross the entire width of the creek.  I was unable to see any spots where you could get through without scraping over it.  I also did not see if portaging the shelf was a reasonable option.  There is a "public park" of sorts at the Darlington covered bridge that is open from dawn to dusk.  The largest part of the park is before the bridge on the right bank.  This bank, however, tends to be overgrown.  The best take-out option was on the left bank just before the bridge.  There was ample parking room for 2-3 vehicles on the south end of the bridge.  The trip took our group about 2.5 hours, including one paddling break and time to upright and re-enter rolled kayaks.  Four out of seven paddlers rolled at least once, so be well-prepared for the possibility.  PFD's AND helmets are mandatory for our group.   

Chuck Smith 
Boy Scout Troop 753 
Thorntown, IN

 

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