The factors associated with the timely creation of distal vascular access for hemodialysis initiation are unclear. We aimed to explore the association between the slope of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and the successful usage of vascular access upon hemodialysis initiation. This single center retrospective cohort study enrolled chronic kidney disease patients who undertook a multidisciplinary care program from 2003 to 2016. Using eGFR slope as predictor, we evaluated the vascular access created timely upon hemodialysis initiation. Among the 987 patients, vascular access was created at a median eGFR of 5.8 min/ml/1.73 m 2, with a median duration of 3.1 months before hemodialysis. The proportions of vascular access created timely, created not timely (vascular access immature), and not created were 68.5%, 8.8%, and 22.7%, respectively. There was a significant negative association of eGFR upon vascular access creation with eGFR slope (r = − 0.182, P < 0.001). The fastest eGFR slope patients (the first quartile or < − 10 min/ml/1.73 m 2/year) had the lowest percentage of vascular access created timely. In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, only higher eGFR upon vascular access creation (P = 0.001) and eGFR slope (P = 0.009) were significantly associated with vascular access created timely. The adjusted odds ratios of each quartile of eGFR slopes for vascular access created timely were 0.46 (95% confidence interval 0.27–0.86), 1.30 (0.62, 2.72), 1.00 (reference), and 0.95 (0.48–1.87), respectively. eGFR slope is associated with the timely creation of vascular access for the initiation of hemodialysis in a reverse-J-shaped pattern and may help determine the time of vascular access creation.