Pigeon - Gorge: Big Creek to Hartford


Pigeon, North Carolina, US

Disclaimer

Gorge: Big Creek to Hartford (Walters Power Plant to Hartford)

Usual Difficulty II-III+ (for normal flows)
Length 4.66 Miles
Avg. Gradient 33 fpm
Max Gradient 36 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
PIGEON R BL POWER PLANT NR WATERVILLE, NC
usgs-03460795 300 - 3000 cfs II-III+ 00h27m 2170 cfs (running)


River Description

Be sure to check in with Cocke County Constable "Mac" McRae in the booth at the put-in when you paddle on scheduled release days. His job is to count the number of boaters, and under the terms of CP&L's license, the greater the number of boaters, the greater the number of scheduled releases in future years. Mac is an elected official and very supportive of whitewater boating's effect on the local economy.

See AW's Tennessee page for this reach and Carolina Whitewater, B.Benner.

Much of the information on this page is copied (with permission) from Chris Bell's Pigeon Gorge description on his Asheville Area Boating Beta website.


Comment: Stolen from BT from Crunchy:

First rapid:
Powerhouse.
Can be run left, middle or right.
Middle is the hardest. Bigger waves, holes, etc.
Easier is to run the left line.
Go just to the right of the big rock (on river left) at the top of the rapid.
Behind the rock the flow is slower (not really an eddy) and you can work through this flow to one of three eddies on river left.
There is a dead tree laying on the bank.
The tree is a good indicator of the three eddies.
Catching one of these eddies breaks up the lenght of the rapid.
Peel out and work to the middle to avoid rocks on river left.
Look for three dry rocks about 10 yards off the left bank.
Eddy behind these rocks or just below.
Congrats! That\'s Powerhouse.

Next is BFR:
You can run either right or left of Big Freeking Rock. I recommend stopping below it in the eddy.
The next rapid:
The water channels to the right side of the river below BFR.
The easiest line through this on the left side of the channel.
There is a hole on the right. (not a keeper) I love to punch this one.
After the hole there are offset waves and holes.
Easiest is on the left side. (to miss the hole)

Next is Razor Rock.
It is on river left. Great play spot.
Easiest is to stay in the middle of the current about 20 yards off the left bank. Trying to get into the eddy below Razor is harder the higher you hit the eddy.
Below Razor Rock there is a 10-yard wide hole just off the left bank.
This starts the next rapid.
Easiest is to pick your way down the right side.
The left side (after the hole) is the hardest.
There is another slide (playspot) on river left.
After that the river is fairly flat until the bridge.
After the bridge the river channels to the right again.
Easiest is to stay toward the left/center of the rapid.
The right has another nice hole.
After this is another little rapid with boogie water.

Next is Snap Dragon.
The river will make a big bend to the right.
The water will channel to the left.
The left side is where the big waves and holes are.
The center/right is easiest.
It will flow into another rapid that is easier the farther right you go.
Below this is a great area to play.
Super easy to miss stuff you don\'t want to hit.
This will continue until you see:

Lost Guide.
There is a triangular-shaped rock in the middle of the river.
That is your marker for the top of Lost Guide.
The sneak:
Have your boat about half-way between the rock and the right bank. (about 20-yards from the right bank.
Note: the rafts and normal line is about 10-yards off the right bank.
As soon as you see the river turning left, look for the big hole just to the left of the big rock on river left. (there may be people sitting on it)
Find the hole and look left for the green line that flows past the left side of the hole.
Follow that line up stream and see that the water comes from the left side of another (boat-sized) dry rock.
Turn left about 5 yards from this rock. The rock will pass down your right side.
This will put you on the green flow and you\'ll clear the big hole with eaze.

Next is Roostertail.
Easy line is down the right.
River flattens for a while until Double Reactionary.
Sneak is to eddy on the right above the rapid.
Look for just enough water flowing over the rocks on the right to bump your boat down.
Turn right to avoid Tombstone Rock and the wild water.
Stay far right (real bumpy, swallow) until you pass Super Glue hole.

The next rapid is Accelerator.
Go far left. (this is not the raft or regular hard boat line)
The line is one boat-width off the left bank.
This will give you a straight line down Accelerator and keeps you far away from Presidential Hole.
Stay left all the way down.
Those are the sneaks through the Pigeon.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2014-02-28 20:28:59

Editors


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


2009-08-26 04:53:00 (1697 days ago)
x (1)
I ran it at about 200 cfs last year. Much less fun but still worth the trip. Much more technical,
creek style moves and less pushy though.

2009-04-29 12:13:33 (1815 days ago)
x (1)
Bottom Hole of Lost guide has changed. Munchier now, you can surf rafts and boats much easier now.
Probably not a good idea to hit this sideways with a boat load of custies as i usually do cause it
will flip rafts now.

2006-09-18 17:16:09 (2769 days ago)
x (1)
keep in mind that the rocks in the pigeon were blasted from the side of the mountain to make I-40
it is very sharp with many slabs of concreat and rebar everywhere. ..................Rip Roaring
Adventures, Tim Richmond

2006-08-02 11:52:44 (2816 days ago)
Jeffrey SailusDetails
Stolen from BT from Crunchy:

First rapid:
Powerhouse.
Can be run left, middle or right.
Middle is the hardest. Bigger waves, holes, etc.
Easier is to run the left line.
Go just to the right of the big rock (on river left) at the top of the rapid.
Behind the rock the flow is slower (not really an eddy) and you can work through this flow to one
of three eddies on river left.
There is a dead tree laying on the bank.
The tree is a good indicator of the three eddies.
Catching one of these eddies breaks up the lenght of the rapid.
Peel out and work to the middle to avoid rocks on river left.
Look for three dry rocks about 10 yards off the left bank.
Eddy behind these rocks or just below.
Congrats! That's Powerhouse.
Next is BFR:
You can run either right or left of Big Freeking Rock. I recommend stopping below it in the
eddy.
The next rapid:
The water channels to the right side of the river below BFR.
The easiest line through this on the left side of the channel.
There is a hole on the right. (not a keeper) I love to punch this one.
After the hole there are offset waves and holes.
Easiest is on the left side. (to miss the hole)
Next is Razor Rock.
It is on river left. Great play spot.
Easiest is to stay in the middle of the current about 20 yards off the left bank. Trying to get
into the eddy below Razor is harder the higher you hit the eddy.
Below Razor Rock there is a 10-yard wide hole just off the left bank.
This starts the next rapid.
Easiest is to pick your way down the right side.
The left side (after the hole) is the hardest.
There is another slide (playspot) on river left.
After that the river is fairly flat until the bridge.
After the bridge the river channels to the right again.
Easiest is to stay toward the left/center of the rapid.
The right has another nice hole.
After this is another little rapid with boogie water.
Next is Snap Dragon.
The river will make a big bend to the right.
The water will channel to the left.
The left side is where the big waves and holes are.
The center/right is easiest.
It will flow into another rapid that is easier the farther right you go.
Below this is a great area to play.
Super easy to miss stuff you don't want to hit.
This will continue until you see:
Lost Guide.
There is a triangular-shaped rock in the middle of the river.
That is your marker for the top of Lost Guide.
The sneak:
Have your boat about half-way between the rock and the right bank. (about 20-yards from the right
bank.
Note: the rafts and normal line is about 10-yards off the right bank.
As soon as you see the river turning left, look for the big hole just to the left of the big rock
on river left. (there may be people sitting on it)
Find the hole and look left for the green line that flows past the left side of the hole.
Follow that line up stream and see that the water comes from the left side of another (boat-sized)
dry rock.
Turn left about 5 yards from this rock. The rock will pass down your right side.
This will put you on the green flow and you'll clear the big hole with eaze.
Next is Roostertail.
Easy line is down the right.
River flattens for a while until Double Reactionary.
Sneak is to eddy on the right above the rapid.
Look for just enough water flowing over the rocks on the right to bump your boat down.
Turn right to avoid Tombstone Rock and the wild water.
Stay far right (real bumpy, swallow) until you pass Super Glue hole.
The next rapid is Accelerator.
Go far left. (this is not the raft or regular hard boat line)
The line is one boat-width off the left bank.
This will give you a straight line down Accelerator and keeps you far away from Presidential
Hole.
Stay left all the way down.
Those are the sneaks through the Pigeon.

2005-05-25 15:42:16 (3250 days ago)
Kevin ColburnDetails
A Report From the Pigeon

a local rafting company manager was in a shredder yesterday with us three hardboaters and he
pointed out new rebar lying lengthwise in the playhole after LOST GUIDE RAPID. It's normally called
"ROOSTER TAIL RAPID" -- the next rapid after LOST GUIDE. I didn't know its name but he
said that's what everybody calls it. The rafting mgr said they normally allow their customers to
jump and swim this normally safe rapid but now with the rebar they can no longer do that. He
pointed out that if someone were to roll at this popular playhole it could do some serious damage
to one's head. I skirted the meat to the right yesterday and was fine. My two friends from
Knoxville ran the meat and were fine. It was about 3000 CFS so we didn't really see it but the mgr.
assures us that at regular flow it's visible and quite a problem. So, he requested that we spread
the word to all hardboaters: "Catch an eddy way before ROOSTER TAIL if you swim LOST GUIDE and
it's probably best to not play in that wonderful hole anymore." You can still run the meat of
the rapid and not get hurt --- well as long as you don't flip in the meat.

By the way, the bottom hole at the Rooster Tail rapid is still good to surf, the top hole is the
one with the rebar in it.

He also said that the river widened a bit after the floods and therefore the Pigeon holes aren't as
good as they used be.

2002-08-12 15:14:09 (4267 days ago)
Kevin ColburnDetails
Due to the fact that it no longer rains in Western North Carolina, beginning immediately (August
10th, 2002) there will be fewer weekly releases in the Pigeon River. Call the 1-800 number listed
above each week to find out what days the Pigeon will run. The 4 days per week schedule will be
returned to as soon as possible.
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