On June 6th a few friends and I decided to tube down Barton Creek. I had checked out the flow earlier in the week so I thought conditions would be pretty good. We started at Lost Creek Boulevard and planned to get out at either Sculptured Falls or Twin Falls depending on how things went.
The last time I tried this the flow was only 40 cfs which resulted in a lot of walking. This time the creek was running at just over 200 cfs and conditions were great. There was plenty of flow to keep us going in the slow sections and most of the rapids and smaller dams had enough water to tube through.
I had my phone in a dry box which turned out to be not so dry, so I don’t have an accurate log of the trip, but my guess is that it took a little over 2 hours to get to Sculpture Falls and maybe another hour to Twin Falls. Although we stopped there there was probably plenty of water to continue to 360 or beyond.
We all had fun, even though between us we lost a hat, sunglasses, a wedding ring and one waterlogged phone. It’s probably a good idea to leave anything valuable at home.
Based on my two experiences I think that 200 cfs is plenty of water for a fun ride. More would be fine as long as the creek is still in it’s banks, but I don’t have a feel for how much is starting to get unsafe. On the other hand, 40 isn’t enough for a good ride. You’ll end up walking a lot in the slower sections.
Here’s a short video to give you any idea of the trip. Unfortunately my camera fogged up regularly and I’m not very good at video, but you can get the idea.