A 25 foot tall dam resides on this section 1/2 mile below the hwy 330 bridge. The dam is dangerous and the portage on river right traverses difficult terrain. Thus it is suggested to park at an access easement at the end of Big Bear Road and hike down to the river and then upstream a bit, putting in at the base of the dam (there is a link to Google Map directions on the Access tab). This is the start of the Tallassee Shoals rapid, which gently drops 20 feet over 0.4 miles. Because water is diverted for hydropower, the shoals is a knuckle dragger until the river reaches 900 cfs. Above 1300 cfs Tallassee Shoals is a mini-Ocoee, with multiple waves and holes to frolic in. A river right trail allows doing laps on this section though do be conscientious of property owners. The next 6 miles is a relaxing class I float. Do keep an eye out for two pipes that cross the river. Depending on the level the pipes may be difficult to get over. The gradient picks up at the end, marking the beginning of Ben Burton Shoals, a fast class III. The remnants of a dam make for hazards so helmet is suggested. There is a county-maintained access point river left.
More about the put-in and flows at Tallassee Shoals:
There is a FERC-mandated access point on river right. Hike to the river, then hike another quarter mile up stream to put in below the dam. According to discussions with the dam operator, typically 700-900 cfs is diverted river left for hydropower with about 50-100 cfs spilling over the dam, which is not enough to scrape down the shoals. Look for at least 1100 cfs on the Arcade gauge to be able to run the Shoals. Above 1300 there is surfing here with some large holes to surf or avoid. At 1300 up to at least 5000 cfs an interesting wave/hole exists, 30 yards downstream of the wooden stairs. At about 2100 cfs is the optimal level for a retentive hole that is river right, at the end of Tallassee Shoals. This hole is deep enough for cartwheels and possibly loops. At 5000 cfs there are numerous large waves to surf but most are caught on the fly.
9 months ago
by Matt Nielson
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Permits are not required for this reach.
A 25 foot tall dam resides on this section 1/2 mile below the hwy 330 bridge. The dam is dangerous and the portage on river right traverses difficult terrain. Thus it is suggested to park at an access easement at the end of Big Bear Road and hike down to the river. If the flow is below 900 cfs, then hike or scrape your way down the shoals about 100 yards. The flow from the bypass returns to the main channel at this point.
The takeout is at county-maintained access point river left.
Link to shuttle route on Google Maps
Surf at 5K CFS
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