Chauga - 3: Route 290 /Cassidy Bridge Rd. to Cobbs Bridge Rd.

Chauga, South Carolina, US


3: Route 290 /Cassidy Bridge Rd. to Cobbs Bridge Rd. (Chauga Gorge)

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 9.8 Miles
Avg. Gradient 40 fpm
Max Gradient 150 fpm

Super Soc em Dog

Super Soc em Dog
Photo of Will Reeves

River Description

The Chauga starts with a bit of flat water, then goes over a big slide. The slide is worth a scout, there is an undercut on the bottom right that has some badly placed wood in it. The slide has multiple lines. Scout and carry left.

There is about a quarter mile of flatwater after the slide, then the river starts to gorge up again. When the gradient starts to pick up the river will go around a couple of blind bends leading up to the second big drop, Super Soc 'em Dog. This is about a 10 foot boof into a big pool. In the past the lead in to the dog has occasionaly had some river wide strainers blocking the stream. Approach with caution when things gorge up. As for the dog, scout left, and carry back up on the left for multiple runs

A little more flatwater leads into another gorge. The next couple of miles are the steepest on the river. There is some great boogie water, some big rapids, and some good ledge drops.

The named drops in this section include Black Hole, Zoom Floom, and Edge of the World. Edge of the World is worth a good scout. The rapid features a big undercut on the bottom left, and a large tree running lengthwise thru the rapid. This drop always has wood in it, but can usually be run.

The next four rapids are pretty good. The first one was a riverwide hole with a break on the right. Then a big s-turn type drop. Next was a big slide. Then finally a big low head damn looking drop. Then some more flatwater.

Eventually you come to a smaller second gorge. There were 4 more good rapids in that gorge.

Then there is a bunch more flatwater, possibly two miles worth. And after the stuff you just ran its going to feel like the current has come to a complete halt. But then there will be another increase in gradient. There will be two or three good rapids followed by Riley-Moore Falls. The falls is about a fifteen footer. Water levels will dictate where to run the falls. The falls is at one of the widest points of the river, hence the shallowest on the approach. Look for at least 6 inches on the gauge for the falls to be running. After the falls its about a mile and half to the takeout.

There is an option of a short take-out above the falls, but it takes 4 wheel drive and locked hubs to get down to the river. In my opinion, if the river is at a good level its easier to use the standard takeout. And if the river is at a good level, Riley Moore Falls is runnable. Why miss out on a perfectly good waterfall??

Brad Roberts
Updated August 2003

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2003-10-14 00:55:13


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.7First SlideIVPhoto
0.7First Slide - Right lineIVWaterfall Photo
1.2Super Soc Em DogIVWaterfall Photo
2.9Second Gorge SlideIIIPhoto
3.9Edge of the WorldIV+Photo
8.0Riley Moore FallsIV+Waterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

First Slide (Class IV, Mile 0.7)

First Slide Chauga

First Slide Chauga
Photo of Steve Besch by John Pruitt taken 02/23/03 @ 0' at the put in

The slide is about 20 feet tall. There is an undercut rock resting on the bottom right of the slide. Last seen the rock was stuffed with wood. There is also a line down the left thru a fairly narrow slot. Routes will vary with water level. Scout and carry left.

First Slide - Right line (Class IV, Mile 0.7)

Peter on the Chauga

Peter on the Chauga
Photo of Peter by Rob Maxwell taken 09/15/02 @ 6in and rising

Super Soc Em Dog (Class IV, Mile 1.2)

Super Soc-em-Dog

Super Soc-em-Dog
Photo of Wade Harrison by Mark H taken 09/15/02 @ 6"

10 foot tall boof. Usually run a little left of center, depending on water level.

Second Gorge Slide (Class III, Mile 2.9)

Chauga, Slide

Chauga, Slide
Photo of Mark Albright by John Pruitt taken 02/23/03 @ 0' at the put in

Routes vary with water levels

Blackhole (Class III+, Mile 3.0)

Chauga River - Blackhole

Chauga River - Blackhole
Photo of Will Reeves by Will Reeves

Typical Chauga gorge rapid. At high flows, the hole on the bottom left is stiff. At really high flows the rapid is a riverwide hole.

Edge of the World (Class IV+, Mile 3.9)

Edge of the World

Edge of the World
Photo of Brad Roberts by Rob Maxwell taken 09/15/02 @ 1.0

. . . . . . . . . . . . A pretty long rapid with a small island in the middle. Running length wise down the left shoot is a tree thats about 3 feet thick. Stay away from it. On the backside of the tree on river left is a minor cave. I've seen two boats surfing behind the tree in the cave at once. At low water the route is down the left beside the tree. Above 6 inchs you can run a route that starts down the right and ends in the middle. Portaging this one ain't easy.

Riley Moore Falls (Class IV+, Mile 8.0)

Mark at Reiley Falls on the Chauga

Mark at Reiley Falls on the Chauga
Photo of Mark H by Wade H taken 09/15/02 @ 6"

15 foot riverwide vertical falls. At lower flows you can bang off the double drop on the right. About an hour after this photo was taken the middle hole had gotten bigger and the river had come up to 1.0. We ran far left.

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