Tag Archives: Newburg

Float #103: Little Piney Creek

20 Jun

Newburg to Jerome

F103_LittlePiney

Little Piney Creek
Phelps County, Missouri
Sunday, June 15
6 Miles

This is a short little float from Newburg access on the Little Piney down to the confluence with the Gasconade River. We have always wanted to do this float in order to complete the whole Little Piney and this past Sunday was our opportunity. We met up with our friend Richard who lives near St. Robert and is always down for a Piney float of Little or Big variety. The shuttle between Newburg and Jerome access did not take long and we were on the water shortly after noon. It turned out to be a warm, sunny day despite driving through some storms on the way there.

The Little Piney is more creek than river and has excellent fishing and technical paddling. It doesn’t often get cleared of debris, so there are a lot of fallen trees that can cause jams. That is where the technical part comes in. If you are in a kayak you may be able to wriggle around most of them. In a canoe not so much. It also takes some precise turning to get around the jams, so if you are a novice you will be either be portaging or falling out of your boat a lot (both good options).

Little Piney Creek

The bridge at Newburg access

Little Piney Creek

Little Piney Creek

Floating under a fallen log

Little Piney Creek

A heron poses on a tree

The water was at a good level for this float, we didn’t bottom out much at all. The Little Piney does have a year round source at Lane Spring and a few smaller creeks that feed it, but it is usually best to float in the spring when there is more rain. In the late summer it can get pretty low in spots. I didn’t bring my fishing pole on this trip, so of course I spotted a few big fish in the creek. We also saw plenty of herons, turtles and a couple of turkeys.

Little Piney Creek

Little rapid on the Little Piney

Little Piney Creek

A decrepit bridge

Little Piney Creek

RR bridge

Little Piney Creek

We floated under several bridges on this trip. The first was an old concrete bridge that hopefully has been closed. It looked pretty scary and unstable. There was a lot of debris jammed underneath it and one little section that was clear to float through. I would not want to approach that sucker in high water! We also floated under a railroad bridge, I-44 bridge and another railroad bridge at the confluence.

Little Piney Creek

DW floats by

Little Piney Creek

Floating under I-44

Gasconade River

Looking upstream at the RR bridge across the Gasconade

Gasconade River

Jerome access

The water was flowing at a nice pace so we didn’t have to paddle too much. We stopped for lunch on a gravel bar about a mile above the Gasconade and swam a bit too. Once you pass under I-44 the confluence is just around the corner. The Gasconade was up a bit and flowing rather quickly. The Gasconade is usually a painfully slow river, so it was nice to not have to slog through it for a change. Jerome access is just a mile down from the confluence. You can’t miss it as it is an imposing pile of limestone that glows brightly in the sunlight. Jerome access has a nice boat ramp, plenty of parking and a restroom. We arrived around 3:30, loaded our gear into Richard’s truck and he shuttled us back to Newburg to our car. We had a great time and it was nice to finally complete the Little Piney.

The next trip is an overnight fishing float on the Big Piney and then we are scheduled to do the Eleven Point for the 4th of July!

Critter Count: Herons, Turtles, Turkey

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Float #65: Little Piney Creek

16 Apr

Lane Spring to Newburg

F65_LittlePiney

Little Piney Creek
Phelps County, Missouri
Friday, March 29
13 miles

Every year at Easter DW and I go camping and floating. It’s kind of our kick off to the camping season. Some years it is pleasant and warm, other years it’s really cold. Most every year it rains at some point during the trip. This year we planned to go to the Buffalo River in Arkansas, but that plan got rained out. So we decided to stay closer to home and float some rivers we hadn’t done in a long time. This year we picked the Little Piney and the upper Huzzah. We left our house early in the morning on Good Friday and set up our camp at Hazel Creek Recreation Area near Potosi in Washington county. Hazel Creek is a small forest service campground that serves as a trail head for the Ozark Trail. There are picnic tables, fire rings and lantern posts provided and there is no fee to camp. However there is no trash service and also no bathrooms (not even pit toilets). So bring your shovel! We hastily set up our tent and then continued on to Rolla to meet up with our friend Richard and his son, Mike to float the Little Piney.

The Little Piney is a small stream that is only floatable for about 18 miles. It starts out at Hwy. 63, just south of Rolla and flows into the Gasconade River. The Little Piney is a Blue Ribbon trout stream for the majority of the waterway and White Ribbon on the lower end. We started our trip at Lane Spring (mile 0.0 on float maps), a forest service recreation area and campground with a small spring branch. You can put in above Lane Spring at Yancy Mills which is an access under the Hwy. 63 bridge and maybe a mile or two above Lane Spring. However both of these access points are only usable in good water conditions and best attempted in the spring.

As we ran shuttle from Newburg to Lane Spring we tried to take a shortcut across one of the county roads. However, we soon came upon a small creek that had risen over the road. The water was fast and muddy. Not wanting to take any chances, we turned around and went the longer way on the county highway. We finally got our boats on the water around noon. Right around the first bend we came across a tree blocking the stream. This would be the running theme for the first half of the trip. Not many people float the upper section of this creek so it does not get cleared often. We carried our boats over many such obstacles during the first couple hours of paddling. During one portage I stepped on what appeared to be a solid gravel bar, but was actually quick sand! With a yelp I found myself sunk up to mid calf in wet sand. So much for dry socks! It provided some humor for everyone else though.

Little Piney Creek

Little Piney Creek

DW wiggles under a fallen tree

Little Piney Creek

Low water bridge off Hwy. W

Little Piney Creek

The first few miles of the trip the water was clear and that beautiful milky, turquoise color you only find in Ozark streams. However, we soon passed the creek that had been over the road and it turned the whole stream brown. But at least it gave us some more water to float on! The Piney stayed brown for the rest of the trip. We never saw any rain, the sky was mostly sunny and the weather was pleasant, but I guess it rained heavily somewhere up that creek branch. About three miles down from Lane Spring is a low water bridge. There was enough water for DW and I to float over it in our kayaks. Richard and Mike were in a canoe, so they portaged it.

Little Piney Creek

Little Piney Creek

Little Piney Creek

Little Piney Creek

As the float progressed the portages became fewer and the water more plentiful. There were even a couple of bends with some choppy water. We floated past farmlands and forests and small bluffs topped with pine trees overlooking the creek. There were many birds on this trip, but we didn’t see any eagles this time. We did see an eagle’s nest, but no birds were around.

Little Piney Creek

An eagle’s nest

Little Piney Creek

Fence across the creek

Little Piney Creek

Little Piney Creek

Hwy. T bridge at Newburg

Toward the end of the trip we came across a fence in the creek. It wasn’t all the way across, so there was plenty of room to float over it. I’m not sure if fences across the water are legal on this stream or not. Those rules vary from county to county and stream to stream. Right before you reach Newburg there is a railroad track that runs along the creek. As soon as you see the tracks you are pretty much done. Soon you see the village of Newburg and the Hwy. T bridge and access. We had a great day and enjoyed floating with Richard and his son. The Little Piney is a stream I always enjoy floating or fishing. It is always beautiful, never crowded and there is usually some kind of adventure along the way!

Critter Count: Herons, Ducks, Turtles, Turkey, Hawks, Kingfishers