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Difficulty II(III)
Length 2 Miles
Gauge CULLASAJA RIVER AT SR 1620 NEAR HIGHLANDS, NC
Flow Range 4.00 - 10.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 9 years ago 2.91 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 11/04/2006 12:37 pm

River Description


So you've heard about all the crazy creek runs on the Cullsaja! Well we've got one for the sane boaters too. If you're looking for some class II action, check out the first two miles of the Cullasaja below Peeks Creek Rd. This section is from Peeks Creek Rd. (NC 1678) to Peaceful Cove Rd (NC 1677) and has a short (1.5 mi) shuttle that can be jogged in under 15 mins.

It is a mix of Class II-II+ rapids and flatwater with some low water pinning hazards in the rock gardens. Even when the river is over 4 ft it is still real shallow, so be careful. There is a great class II+ wave near the end of this run around 4.5 to 5.5 feet.

I think that this does not get run very often, except by tubers in the summer, but when the river is around 5 ft or you only have an hour, this can be a real fun time.

See also: Other sections of the Cullasaja:
0. Above the lakes (Class IV-V+)
1. Upper (Lake Sequoyah to below Cosmic Crunch) (Class )
2. Middle (Below Cosmic Crunch to Above Cullasaja Falls) (Class IV(V+))
3. Lower - Base of Cullasaja Falls to Peeks Creek Bridge (Class IV-V(V+))
5. Peaceful Cove Rd (NC-1677) to Fulton Rd (NC-1668) (Class I-II)

Rapid Descriptions

Putin rapid

Class - II Mile - 0
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The river starts off with a rock garden with plenty of pinning potential at low water. There is an eddy on the left near the bottom with access to a fun little surfing wave.

Bending right

Class - II+ Mile - 0.1
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This is another rock garden on the left side of a small island. There are a few eddys to be caught on both sides of the river, but ultimately you want to be close to the to the island near the end of the rapid. More low water pinning potential. Good recovery pool at the bottom.

Splitter

Class - III Mile - 0.2
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Probably not Class III until the river is over 5 ft, but its the most challenging rapid in the section. There is a big rock half way down that sticks up out of the water. There is a good eddy for boat scouting at top right and halfway down on the left. There is a nice move from the left eddy below the splitter rock and then back left into an eddy at the bottom. There are two holes at the bottom, one on either side; the one on the right looks mean but the one on the left can be surfed a litte (it shallow at the wave). Good recover pool below this rapid.

Rock Garden

Class - II Mile - 0.3
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Another rock garden after the river turns right. There are often strainers on river right that the current wants to push you into. After this, the river calms down a little and is a mix of flatwater and Class I-II ripples for awhile.

Surfing waves

Class - II Mile - 1.2
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There is a little house on river right with a cement bank retainer and a big eddy with some floating garbage on river left. There are two nice small surfing waves here at most levels (I've seen them from 3.7-5.3, not sure about other levels). This is the beginning of more rapids where the river picks up a little again.

The Wave

Class - II+ Mile - 1.8
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This is a dynamite surfing wave. It is almost glassy at 5.3 ft and is and amazingly strong hole at 3.7. It is about 15 feet wide and has a great access eddy on river left. Probably the stronges current on this section. I believe the wave washes out over 6 ft or so. You can hike/paddle up from the takeout to park and play here, but it isn't a wave for any of the new big air tricks. It is real shallow and there was a big strainer 15 feet down stream on the right last I checked (summer 2003). It was avoidable, but be cautious.

Comments

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Adam Garrett
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15 years ago

This is the run I learned to kayak on. I used to do this every evening after work during the summer. As mentioned above the second rock garden is definantly not a place to flip. Also, the right line on spliter will flip you every time if the level is below 4.3. I ran this at about 5ft last summer and it was a blast. The rock gardens above and below spliter were great. Watch out for low hanging limbs on the one after spliter. I've done this run about 20 times and have a blast every time. The surfing wave at the end of the run is a lot more sticky than it looks. There's also a nice wave below the take-out. It's in front of the RV campground.

UPDATE: As of 3-9-04, there's a tree that has fallen blocking part of the river channel about 3/4 of a mile into the run. Nothing major, just be aware.

Gage Descriptions

The USGS gage is on Turtle Pond Road near US-64 way upstream from this section. 4.0 is a minimum, but it is much more fun at 4.5 or more. I think there is not visual at the gage site, making it accessible only via the internet.

There is a gage painted on the Peeks Creek bridge as well; I would guess that 2" above 0 is a good level. 0 is about 3.7 on the USGS gage.

The Cullasaja has a pretty good watershed and since Highlands (in the headwaters) gets over 80" of rain a year, this run often gets pretty high.

Directions Description


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Paul Meinersmann

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190845 11/04/06 Paul Meinersmann n/a