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Difficulty I-III
Length 4 Miles
Flow Range 2.00 - 7.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 35 minutes ago 1.3 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 11/04/2006 12:30 pm

River Description

User Comments

A pretty little run with lots of little rapids and some III's thrown in. Even at lower volumes the water keeps moving nicely until you reach the small broken out dam. From that point on, it slows considerably and becomes flat (pun intended) as you near the mouth and enter Lake Michie.

Robert Martin 10-16-2000 12:38:04
Minimum 2' Maximum (none). This is a beautiful paddle through NCSU forest land. At levels of 3'usgs and up there is a great surfing wave 2/3 through the run. Best play level is between 3' and 4'(IMHO)

Directions to Take Out
From Rt. 70 Bypass / Rt. 85 in Durham, take Exit 176B and go north on Duke St. about 2 1/2 miles to where it merges and becomes Roxboro St. Continue on Roxboro St. for about another 6 1/2 miles (9 miles all together). Turn right onto Bahama Rd. (watch for signs for the town of Bahama and Lake Michie and a traffic light at intersection). Go east on Bahama Rd. 3.3 miles, cross over the lake and turn right into Lake Michie Boat House area (there is parking on the left after the bridge up Wilkins Rd., but I've seen signs there saying they want all boat launches from the Boat House).

Directions from Take Out to Put In
Turn left out of Boat House area and go 1.4 miles west on Bahama Rd. Turn right onto Quail Roost Rd. Go about 2 1/2 miles to it's end at Highway 501(Roxboro Rd.). Turn right onto Highway 501 and take first right onto Moore's Mill Rd. Go 1/10 mile to State Forest Rd. (first road on right - after dirt driveway). Turn right onto State Forest Rd. (immediately turns to gravel). State Forest Rd. is not marked, but there is a hand stenciled sign saying "Hill Forest" on the corner. There is a wooden 1-lane bridge crossing the Flat River about a mile down the road. The road is very narrow and there are no real shoulders. Parking is best on the far side of the bridge where the road widens a bit. The surrounding land is the property of NC State University and they have several access gates just off the road. Make sure you do not block these gates when you park. Access to the river is easy from either side of the bridge.

Rapid Descriptions


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John Grimes
15 years ago

As stated before this is a beautiful run with virtualy no development. At high levels it is a blast with huge wave trains and a great surfing wave (aka Craig's Bunny hole) mid ways down. Below this is the island that is washed through at 7 feet USGS. There is a smaller ledge below the bunny hole. If you flush off the hole, hit the eddy fast or you have to get out of your boat and climb over a rock to get back up. Definitely worth the trip if the level is good! I paddled this one other time at 3.4 USGS on a sunny day. Lots of flat water paddling with a few rapids. The sun is low in Novemeber when I did this and I found myself going through several of the rapids not being able to see anything, so bring some sunglasses!

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Joe Slater
15 years ago

At 8' plus, the aforementioned hold becomes a diagonal wave, and the flat rock starts getting washed over. <br />
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At the bottom of this rapid, which I shall officially name "Fluffy" for Craig McKinnon's description of the hole at 7' as a "Fluffy Bunny Hole", is an island which can be a hazard at high water. You just have to be aware of the basically river wide strainer. There are lots of slots through it, but you could be in trouble if you miss the slots. <br />
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Also at 8'+, there are plenty of giant waves and deep holes scattered about, and bank eddys are scarce, making this a class IV run (imho). <br />
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Stephen Strange
16 years ago

This run begins to show great play potential above 5' on the gauge. The wave/hole Paul mentions is OK from 5-7' and just gets better the higher the water goes. There is perfect eddy service on river left of the hole, with a large flat rock to spectate/video/spot logs from. If you want to avoid some of the logs, go when the river level is past peak and dropping. Otherwise, have someone standing on the bank spotting and yelling "LOG!" like we did.

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Paul Scrutton
17 years ago

Wave 2/3rd's way along the river near island on river left becomes an incredibly good wave/hole at 7 feet on this gauge. Very friendly and retentive enough to spin. At this level you will need to watch out for logs coming downstream.

Gage Descriptions

There is a visual gauge - a graduated stick in the water - about 2 1/2 miles downstream from the put in on river right.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

A Close Look at Cheoah River Fatalities

Charlie Walbridge

The recent death of Chris Clark at Python Rapid on North Carolina's Cheoah River is the third at this site in the last six years. In each case, the person who died was an expert paddler and their paddling partners did not see exactly what happened. Let's take a close look at the Cheoah below Bear Creek Falls and develop strategies for future runs. The river here is very fast and continuous. After a fast lead-in (Chaos), the river drops over Bear Creek Falls, a 12' drop. Below, most of the flow pushes toward the river right channel (Python). Ferrying over to the easier river left channel (the West Prong) requires careful boat control. Python itself contains several nasty holes and sieves, with a bad hole blocked by a boulder at the bottom. There is a good route through it, but paddlers need to plan their route carefully. Scouting is a good idea for first timers, although catching eddies and getting out is not  going to be easy. Groups need to stay together.. The rapid is tough enough that you can't watch your buddy all the time, but you can be ready to help if needed. Click through for links to the accident reports, photos, and comments from expert Cheoah River paddlers. (Photo above by Boyd Ruppelt)


Janet Barbato


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190867 11/04/06 Janet Barbato n/a