Deer Creek


Deer Creek is a small creek near Delphi, Indiana that I ran once a couple of decades ago and decided to try again since the water level was reasonable and one of my friends had mentioned it on another (aborted) canoe trip. So we got together at the Highway 75 bridge at Camden, Indiana, making a trip of about 10.5 miles (16.9 km).

The put in point was rather difficult: there is no real access. There's a place by the northwest corner of the bridge where you can maybe slide a canoe down to the creek, but we wound up talking to the landowner of the property at that same corner and used a path across his land to put in. The county needs to develop this access point, especially since it is listed as being present. But a determined paddler can get a canoe in here with some work.


The day we made the trip, the flow was ~150 cfs and water level at the Delphi guage was ~2.5 feet. I would recommend these as lower limits for a canoe trip - kayaks might be okay with marginally less height, but much less flow would be a problem.

The trip started of immediately with a long riffle, and then we ran into a real obstacle. We had to get out and pass our craft underneath a downed tree. Thus began one of the more interesting trips I've been on recently; one rapids after another, some approaching whitewater status, and all of them littered with rocks. Three or four times we had to pull the canoe through shallow spots, but that wasn't too bad. Twice we got stuck on boulders in the middle of a rapids, but our canoe maintained its reputation for stability and we never dumped.


The scenery was great though; we passed through miles of slate beds, some twenty feet or more high, as well as the more usual deep till cuts and sandstone or conglomerate formations.
More slate!
Our friend is filled with confidence as she maneuvers her kayak.

The were numerous little waterfalls as well.
Little waterfall.
Big waterfall.

At one point during the trip we passed through what seemed to be a whole community of German Baptists ( a similar group to Amish or Mennonites) with the adults in usual dress sitting on lawn chairs on a rocky beach while the children played and swam in the creek.
There were a couple of interesting bridges to pass under also; a relatively rare functional iron truss bridge, and a very tall (for Indiana) railroad trestle (no longer in service).
Iron truss bridge.
Railroad trestle.

The most remarkable thing, aside from the rapids, was the near-perfect silence at some points along the way. In the flat water we could float without any noise at all. Add up the great scenery, the challenging canoeing, and good friends, and you have a pretty good trip.




National Forest