This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III+(IV)
Length 8 Miles
Flow Range 650 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 16 minutes ago 788 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/15/2009 4:14 pm

River Description

This beautiful stream originates in the Smokey Mt. National Park and flows into the Cherokee Indian Reservation where it confluences with the Oconaluftee.


Note:  By order of the Cherokee Tribal Council, that portion of the Raven Fork crossing the Qualla Boundary (the official name of their reservation) is closed to boating.  This entire run is located on the reservation -- it is illegal to boat it.

The whitewater consists of mostly class II-III (IV) rapids and there are two >distinct sections as described by Bob Benner in Carolina Whitewater. The >most significant rapid, "Crack In The Rock," is within the lower section a mile or so below Sherril's Ford bridge near the campground off Big Cove Rd. This rapid has three slots and should be scouted from the right bank.
Generally the far left slot (check for strainers here first) is most often run as the center and right slots are unclean, chaotic and undercut.

AW Raven Fork Safety Report.

Rapid Descriptions


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john william west
2 years ago

I talked with Council 2 weeks ago and it is now legal to boat! Woo! Aways scout crack in the rock. UPDATE

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Nathan Madlock
6 years ago

I just checked with all of the resources in Cherokee and they say no boats still. UPDATE

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Jerry Jascomb
14 years ago

The drowning was at Crack in The Rock. I don't know details - boater took the middle slot and pinned.

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Sean O'Malley
16 years ago

First week of December, 2003, the folks at the Cherokee visitor center told us that the Tribal Council recently passed a law banning boating on the Raven Fork. This apparently was in response to a drowning. Anyone else have confirmation of this?

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theshy one
16 years ago

The actual put-in for this run is at the confluence, where the 2 govt roads split. Or one of the pull-offs nearby.

Gage Descriptions

The 650 minimum and 2000 cfs maximum are estimates only. Note that the Raven Fork is a tributary of the Oconaluftee and so be aware that the gauge above may not necessarily be representative of the true flow in the Raven Fork.

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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
1998-12-27 Medium Fatality Cold Water Read More




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Raven Fork Closed by Cherokee... again (NC)

Jason Robertson

The Raven Fork through the Cherokee Reservation in Western NC has been closed again. Boating remains open on the harder section upstream of the reservation.

Matt Muir


Chris Bell


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190907 01/15/07 n/a n/a
1196908 12/15/09 Chris Bell