Swan Creek starts in Taney County and ends it’s journey near Forsyth Missouri. The first put in for this wonderful creek is at the Hwy. 125 bridge in Garrison, MO and continues its journey south through the Ozarks, eventually flowing into Lake Taneycomo 21 miles downstream.
The Swan is one of the best whitewater runs in southwest Missouri and if you have not had a chance to try out this creek than I would highly recommend it to experienced paddlers. This little creek is a hidden gem right in our backyard and can be one of the most exciting runs in Missouri after a good rain. The creek rises quickly after a good rain, but it will drop back down almost as fast as it came up, so make sure to catch it a day or two after heavy rains. If you do manage to catch it at the right water level you will be in for quite a ride.
The majority of Swan Creek has a flat bed-rock bottom, this makes for a great run with big waves and rapids when the water is up. Unlike some of the streams in the Ozarks where the river features and rapids get washed out in high water, Swan Creek just keeps getting bigger and bigger the higher the water is. Under the right conditions this creek can support 4-5 ft. waves that can easily swamp an open boat, so make sure to bring something to bail with or a spray skirt, and sections of rapids that last for a couple hundred yards.
In my experience this tends to be a pretty safe creek to paddle with very few rock hazards, but like most streams in the Ozarks downed trees and debris can cause problems, so take extreme caution when the water is up. When the water is up this creek is swift with very few spots to get out, expect to swim for quite awhile if you do go in. This creek is typically floatable in early spring or mid to late fall, but every once in awhile you can catch it after a nice summer storm.
One of my favorite sections of this creek is the Hwy. AA Bridge to Forsyth. This section offers some of the best scenery and rapids, plus the shuttle is short and easy. At 14 miles this might seem like a long day float, but fear not, because of this creeks flat bed-rock bottom the flow rate of the water stays a pretty consistent 3-4 mph, which is pretty swift in comparison to other Ozark streams. So without even paddling your already moving at a great pace. Swan Creek is an easy 1 hour drive from Springfield, this makes it a great choice for those looking to do something close to home.
Again please note that I would only recommend this creek to those with a good amount of paddling experience. The upper sections of Swan tend to be littered with downed trees and strainers making it very dangerous when the water is up. The lower sections don’t tend to be as cluttered but you should always proceed with cation. If you would like more information about Swan Creek stop by the shop or give us a call. We would be happy to fill you in on the need-to-knows of this creek.
If your not much of a whitewater paddler and more of a fisherman then make sure to check out this creek at lower water levels. It has beautifully clear water that is perfect for fishing and a great population of Small Mouth Bass!
Best time to visit
Mid to Late Fall
I (During normal flow)
II-III (When the water is up)
There are currently no outfitters operating on this creek.