Saluda, Middle, South Carolina, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||26 fpm|
|MIDDLE SALUDA RIVER NEAR CLEVELAND, SC|
|usgs-02162350||3.00 - 9.00 ft||II-III||01h32m||3.29 ft (running)|
|3.05 on this gauge when it was dropping very slowly following a large rain event was just above the minimum for this run. Gauge is upstream several miles at the confluence of Gap Creek and the Middle Saluda.|
Use the USGS gauges as a guide, but they are quite a distance upstream. Check the visual gauge at the takeout to confirm. Can be read from the downstream river left side of the bridge. The visual gauge is painted on a support for the previous bridge. Zero is a definite minimum. One foot is good, and two feet is better.
From the put-in, it is a short distance to the first rapid, Long Shoals. Long Shoals is a II+ to III- depending on water levels and is a long low angle slide with small ledges interspersed along the way. Depending on flows it can be scrapy and hard to get down or fluffy with nice holes and waves to dodge and play with.
There are several Class I to II+ rapids along this stretch of river that keep things fun at a good flow.
The last major rapid is Pot Shoals - a large Class III at moderate levels but it gets harder at higher water. The river comes around a sharp bend and pools up with a large rock protruding from the right bank. This is a good place to get out and scout. The first drop comes in two stages and is a total of 8-10'. The line to try for will be obvious from a scout. Fun to catch to river right eddy below, pull out and run again.
From the eddy, the easiest line is to stay river right and work down the remainder of the rapid. There are other lines in the center and far left but some of them land on rock or in holes. If you decide to try one of those lines, it would be a good idea to scout things out first.
From here it is just some moving water to the takeout at the Hwy 288 bridge. Downstream left is where we usually take out to scramble up the steep hill to the road. Note the visual gauge painted on the concrete support for the old bridge.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|