Little Tennessee - NC Route 28 to US Route 19

Little Tennessee, North Carolina, US


NC Route 28 to US Route 19

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 23 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03503000 350 - 2000 cfs I-III 32h32m 2460 cfs (too high)

River Description

Carolina Whitewater, B.Benner

Upper Green and the Nanty Gorge (with one exception; see below).

David A. DeCoursy wrote:

Beautiful and easy beginner run with close access to NOC. At 950 cfs it's all class I-II with about 4 ledges where you can find some small but suprisingly stronger than expected spots for learning to side-surf and hold your edge. Great for taking newbies for a relaxed introduction to ww kayaking.
Very pretty, great access for the most part.
The end when I went was a very unexpected Class 3 consisting of a breaking wave and hole shortly behind it.
Fontana Lake needs to be low, I've read, or else this last rapid (The Narrows) is under water.
In my opinion, for such a simple river, the end is a tad tougher than Nanty Falls, but without the Class-2 entrance. Scouting will reveal the easily obtained line but when you've been paddling class 1-2 for 6 miles, it IS a suprise. Newbies are bound to flip without a scout. Stay right at the entrance and move to the right of center once past the top breaking wave. You can punch the holes easily at 950 cfs if you're used to such things, but keep in mind the person you are taking may not, especially in light of the relaxed previous miles. (No worries, though; it's all lake after 5 seconds, so it's a very friendly swim.)

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2002-01-12 08:57:03

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
August 26 2018 (149 days ago)
hjohnson1943 (160228)
On 8/22/18 nine of us ran the the section alongside Needmore Rd. We dropped a shuttle car at the
first access on Needmore Rd and then traveled upstream approximately six miles and put in. The LT
was running at 970 CFS and was a nice paddle. Mostly class l with three class lls. We attempted to
paddle this section last year at 300 CFS and gave up after a little over a mile as it was too low.
Even tho it was an overcast day, the scenery was still nice.
February 11 2015 (1441 days ago)
tedwhisenhunt (156632)
There are several official well maintained launch spots along Needmore Road. We ran it at around
650 CFS and it was low but runnable. I would think that around 900- 1000 CFS would be just right
for experienced paddlers. Most of the river is class I, II but beware of the "Narrows" rapid at the
end, just before you reach the Fontana Bridge. This is a serious rapid and does have consequences.
There is a lot of jagged rubble just beneath the surface after the hole and also a very large
undercut rock that you can get washed into. Also, as mentioned in other reports, the "Narrows"
rapid would be underwater in the summer when the lake is up. If you choose to take out up river at
any of the designated sites then this is a leisurely river for the most part with a few fun class
II rapids. Also, this is a beautiful area with nice mountain views as you paddle.
March 30 2012 (2489 days ago)
Sean O'MalleyDetails
Hadn't run this in probably 12 years and discovered that the takeout has changed. Somebody bought
the land on river right, put up a bunch of houses, and posted the old trail as "no trespassing."
Takeout now is on river left directly under the bridge. It's a way steeper climb, but being right
under the bridge, it's more rock and less mud. Also, there was a log on river right at the bottom
of the Narrows, directly across from the big undercut rock. At 750 cfs, it was just breaking the
surface. Not an issue for someone with boat control, but the hole right above there would likely
flip a newbie. Scope it out before you take someone through there.
March 9 2008 (3971 days ago)
Roman RyderDetails
At the second bridge over a creek traveling on Needmore Rd., there is a small island on river left.
The channel between the island and the bank has a tree strainer blocking the exit from the channel.
There is also what appears to be an undercut rock on river right a few minutes down river from this
location. The lack of a pillow is very noticeable and it's easy to avoid.
March 9 2008 (3971 days ago)
Roman RyderDetails
We ran it today at 1600cfs. We set up our putin and takeout on Needmore Rd. at the bridges that
cross creeks (approximately 5 miles apart). It was almost a constant class I from beginning to end
with occasional class II features in the larger rapids. There are a number of spots where you'll
hit rocks barely submerged, that would probably normally be above water. Due to trees and branches,
there aren't a lot of eddy opportunities, so it may be wiser to paddle a shorter distance.
September 28 2004 (5229 days ago)
Paul ButlerDetails
spot for newbies(especially if starting from needmore. there is a good footbridge out there
somewhere it is near the beginning of the lake section. This is where you would want to start if
your used to class 2,3 water. There are quiet a few easy and good play spots near there, but the
good hole right above the bridge gets shallow real quick right after it.

Once you get into the lake section is where all the good stuff is. It has a couple class 2 rapids
that are fun to goof around in, but there is nothing to serious. Then you will round a few corners
and see a couple large waves. The first is above the rapid by about 20 ft and it was about 4 feet
when we were out. Then into the rapid we hit some 6ft waves that were nice. Then there is a drop
that was pretty signifigant the day we went out, but the drop is only on the left side of the river
and straight into a crazy hole. The river is channeled all to one side so right near that crazy