On father’s day I decided to see how practical it is to tube on Barton Creek and how much water is required for a good trip. I started at Lost Creek Boulevard and planned to get to Sculpture Falls, a distance of about two miles. When I started the USGS stream flow gauge at Lost Creek was showing about 40 cfs. This is higher than normal, but well below flows that are common after a heavy rain.
At the beginning of the ride the water was fast enough to move me along fairly well, but the creek flattens out for several long sections which resulted in lot of paddling. In a couple of sections I hit a strong headwind and ended up walking a bit. On the bright side the scenery was great. I saw a couple of water birds, and almost no people except at the popular swimming holes.
Total elapsed time for the trip was about two and one half hours. Although it was fun my conclusion is that this isn’t enough water for tubing unless you’re willing to work at it. There was enough water for a fun beginners kayak trip, but unfortunately the only practical access point to haul out is the 360 trail head, and at this rate of flow there isn’t enough water to get there. Downstream from Twin Falls the creek gets pretty shallow.
Here’s a video of some of the faster parts of the creek.