Hinkson Creek is Columbia’s staple whitewater run. If it rains enough to bring up the creeks, Hinkson will be up and will most likely hold for a day or so depending on the amount of rain and how saturated the soil was prior to the rainfall.

If the level on the Broadway gauge is above 3 feet, and you have time for a nice long run, put in on the upper Hinkson. It is more remote than the section that runs through the city and adds a little something to the experience.

At levels of 1.5-3′, or for a shorter run with the most features, Walnut to Capen Park is the way to go.

The section from mile 0 to mile 2 has one low water bridge (formed by a landowners driveway) and some mild surf spots. I would recommend driving up the road and scouting this spot, if it looks like something you’d like to play in, put in at mile 0, otherwise, put in at mile 2, Mexico Gravel Road. Here, there are some natural bedrock shelves that form some nice waves above 3′. Just below the bridge there are 2 pipeline crossings that form river-wide waves that everyone in your group can surf at the same time!

As you approach the city, you’ll navigate the maze of bridge pilings formed by the I-70/hwy-63 interchange. Below the bridges, you’ll come across the two low-water golf cart crossings at the country club. At most levels these are nasty recirculating holes with long boil lines, boat scout before attempting to run these. Usually the 1st one can be sneaked river-left and the 2nd one sneaked river-right/center. At levels above 8′ they become huge glassy waves, but everything else on the creek is pretty much washed out.

Rainbow falls on river left brings in water from the Walmart/Sam’s Club/Lowe’s parking lot. This is a great spot for squirts and at some levels a wave forms above and below the rock that divides the water.

Walnut Street bridge is at mile 5. Below here, you’ll find some more pipeline crossing waves, a natural rock ledge that forms some nice waves and the remains of an old stone bridge that forms some nice features just before the broadway bridge. At high water a nice wave train forms under the single lane Eastgate bridge.

Just after Old 63 is photo pipeline. This is a super glassy river-wide wave with clean eddies on either side! In my opinion, the best consistent surf wave on Hinkson.

The next play spot is just before the stadium bridge, where the creek is constricted and forms a surf wave that is difficult to stay in due to it’s angle. The Capen park take-out is at mile 8.5. Below Capen Park there are some small surf waves but at Hinkson Recreation Fields, there is a low water bridge that should be scouted, and at some levels can be a nice play hole! Take-out here (mile 10.5) or at Reactor Field (mile 10.75).


Class I-II+


0 = 1st Bridge on Hinkson Creek Road
2 = Intersection of Mexico Gravel Road and Hinkson Creek Rd.
5 = Walnut Street Bridge
5.75 = Eastgate Bridge (Green Valley Drive)
8.5 = Capen Park (Capen Park Dr.)
10.5 = Hinkson Recreation Area (Recreation Dr.)
10.75 = Reactor Field (old rt. K)


Painted on the left piling of the Broadway bridge looking north

1.5′ is about the lowest you’d want to run this one.

Ideal level: 3′-7′ above 8′ huge waves form at golf cart crossings, but everything else washes out.

This information was provided by Steve Witzig.