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Old 01-24-2013   #1
bobbuilds's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2007
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boating in the south east

I am looking for sugguestions on where to start and also the diferances in the whitewater in the Tennessee area as compared to colorado.

I have just broken into the class iv here in colorado, I do not have a ton under my belt and I do not want to roll into the south east with the idea that it goes right down the middle.

can anyone compare these areas and simmilar runs or rapids for me to relate to? i am trying to gauge how it will be, the first thing i learned is that being rain fed there is no real steady flow, it seems to be rising or falling with a day or two and could be to high or dropping out by the time you get to the put in?

any help is appreciated, i found housing.

Also, does anyone know what level it takes to bring in the center line on little river canyon falls? 30'er in GA?

any falls i could run that i dont know about, in the area or a days drive? I am in cookeville area.

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Old 01-24-2013   #2
Bugtussle, Kentucky
Join Date: Jun 2005
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You are in the Cumberland Plateau area, my personal favorite. All free flowing, lots of classic remote runs on the Plateau and Waldens Ridge closer to Chattanooga.
Almost all of the stuff in eastern TN is pool drop, some more continuous stuff in the Smokies. Depending on water levels, some of the stuff down here may seem easier than CO runs, some may feel harder.
Plateau classics...class III-IV...
Caney Fork near Crossville.
Daddys Creek near Wartburg. Catoosa Rd is closed a lot to hunting but will open up again in March.
Crooked Fork Creek..Island Creek...Little Clear Creek...Big South Fork...too many options to list.
a great resource, other than BoaterTalk and AW...

The Smokies has some of the best kayaking in the southeast in the Park. Lower Big Creek will feel more like home to you, and the Middle Fork of the LIttle Pigeon (Greenbriar). Little River is another classic over there. Tellico River is the easiest waterfall run in the SE, falls and ledges and only class III+/IV- depending on level.

You also have Little River Canyon in Alabama.

We travel down every other weekend to TN to paddle on the Plateau and the Smokies, mostly III/IV stuff. Feel free to get in touch.


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Old 01-24-2013   #3
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Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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If you are in Cookeville, just south is Rock Island where Jackson Kayak is located. Great play, waterfalls, and class 2-5 whitewater all around you on the Cumberland Plateau. Northeast of you is the Big South, Obed, and Emery Rivers with good sections for your abilty. Little River Canyon in Alabama has good intermediate sections. I don't know flows of the top off my head. Chattanooga is also an amazing area with North Chic and many other fun funs all around.

I would say the main difference in the southeast would be the amount of undercuts compared to Colorado. There seem to be a lot more of them there. Also runs are more rain dependent instead of snowmelt driven. Some are dam controlled also. Be careful, but have fun! Check out Rock Creek Outfitters in Chattanooga, and I believe Riversports is still in Knoxville. There are some fun runs in the Smokies as well. Check out the Chattooga on the boarder of South Carolina, and Georgia.
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Old 01-24-2013   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Not super close to you but not that far, check out the new play spots on the Chattahoochie in Columbus /Phoenix City.Says they run year round. Cutbait looks kinda' scary at high flows.Pics and beta on AW.

I am picking up a mini van in Florida around mid March....hope to hit Columbus and some easy access /simple logistics III -IV,preferably creeky, runs in Alabama and Arkansas (I found some stuff in Oklahoma that sounds interesting too) along the way....maybe you 'll know some runs by then and be willing to loan me a creek boat I can fit in for a run...I 'll have my Force ducky....can anybody recomend any campspots on or very near easy creekin ' between Columbus and Memphis?
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Old 01-24-2013   #5
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Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
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Most of the SE creeks do not go "down the middle." The old rock beds in the SE are typically filled with undercuts and sieves, so be very careful if you don't know what you're doing and you don't have a guide out here. Otherwise you can bet that most of the runs out here are more "technical" than the ones out west, but that you should have plenty of down time to recover after each rapid. Lots of drop/pool on the creeking scene out here.

I think a lot of runs out here remind me of Bailey in terms of consistency, boogie, and tighter lines.
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Old 01-24-2013   #6
bobbuilds's Avatar
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thank you, and are you still around the GA area? i'd like to pick your brain about some obscure stuff my friends have mentioned. I am aware of the undercuts and will be heads up while i feel out the area. i am so excited to paddle a new place. i will be there next week.

is there anything right off that you could think of where i could show up and shuttle with folks pretty easy? i have to be at work next mon, so i was thinking thurs fri sat?

thanks gang...
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Old 01-24-2013   #7
Bugtussle, Kentucky
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 161
It will depend on rain. Things are primed down here right now, wont take too much. Ideally some weather moving in next thursday/friday will bump up some goods. Keep lurking BoaterTalk and check the weather every 10 minutes...get used to that. If TN is wet next weekend we will be on the Plateau. Join us.

Desertrat75 at
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Old 01-24-2013   #8
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As mhelm said, Rock Island will be in your back yard. Great play spot(s) and a perfect 20ish footer, dam release. The Jackson crew is always available for tips. Good guys, take advantage of what they have to offer and you could probably even boat some easy stuff with them.
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Old 01-25-2013   #9
Fayetteville, AR and Banks, Idaho
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by cayo 2 View Post
I am picking up a mini van in Florida around mid March....hope to hit Columbus and some easy access /simple logistics III -IV,preferably creeky, runs in Alabama and Arkansas (I found some stuff in Oklahoma that sounds interesting too) along the way...
I am not trying to discourage you but anything in Arkansas or Oklahoma is going to require a lot more rain than just about any of the runs out east because our drainages are significantly smaller. You are also going to have to be in the area to catch something, i.e., I wouldn't plan on driving to Arkansas or Oklahoma the day after a rain event hoping to get on something. That being said there are some really incredible rivers and creeks in both the Ozarks and Ouachitas. In the Arkansas Ouachitas I would keep an eye on the Cossatot, Baker Creek, the Little Missouri, and/or Crooked Creek (this run being the more difficult of these). In the Ozarks I would keep an eye out for Richland Creek, Hailstone, East Fork of the Little Buffalo (EFLB), and any of the EFLB's tributaries (if you are looking for Class IV and up whitewater). My personal favorite run in the area is Clear Creek in Oklahoma, it is very elusive high quality Class IV-V steep creeking with some real noteworthy drops, this creek would be a gem just about anywhere in the country. Here are some links to help you with connecting with paddlers in this area and beta/river levels:

- • Index page - Arkansas Canoe Club message board

- Ozark Creek Information Summary - River Levels

One last piece of advice is do not rely on the river levels shown on the OWPs website for steep creeks. Generally the gauges are way down the drainage system, so by the time water has reached them it is out of the steep creeks (unless it is just a massive event). Also for Alabama check out:

Alabama Whitewater Paddling Guide

I would recommend South Sauty Creek, Short Creek, or the Chairlift Section of LRC if you are looking for things in the Class III-IV range there that run with decent frequency.

Hope you get some good stuff!

- Matt
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Old 01-25-2013   #10
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Thanks Farpastgone! I know that Arkansas flows are notoriously unreliable but want to drive that route anyway (more interesting than I -70) hopefully I can at least get on something.The good thing is we have the net to check things at the last minute.

The Alabama Whitewater page is excellent.Seems 'Bama should be a lot better odds of catching something.

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