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Difficulty II(IV)
Length 3.75 Miles
Flow Range 200 - 1000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 155 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 03/10/2014 4:00 pm

River Description

This is a reliable class two run within about 20 minutes of Boone. It can be run pretty low, but most don't bother below 250cfs. The section has good variety - ledges, a slot move, a few surfing waves, shoals, etc. 
Be aware of a "mandatory" portage 1/4 mile into the run called the Clog. After the first set of shoals and rapids, where the Laurel Fork joins the river from the left, the river pools up above the Clog. This is a difficult class V rapid that terminates in a narrow slot that feeds a huge undercut rock that is stuffed with debris such as plywood, logs, etc. Portage the whole thing on the right. Take out as far down as you can go before the rapid begins to minimize walking on private property. There is an old road at the top of the bank. We need to be EXTRA LOW-PROFILE as there are rumors of property owners not being happy about boaters in or near their yards.
Everything else is boat-scoutable.
Note: There is a good surfing wave just below Guy's Ford Bridge where you can get in a little more river at the end of the run.

Rapid Descriptions


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12 years ago

Beautiful scenery and a great place for young boaters or people who have just picked it up. Might want to walk the Snak Pit the rapid 1/4 of a mile down if you have never done it before.

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Andy Moffitt
13 years ago

lil jon the s****r, will (peg leg) rollover and I (the muffin man) run this almost everyday no matter what level... but bring a case if under 150cfs. Don't miss snake pit and the clog... best rapid on the river! (actually the only rapid.. really.. do it!)

It's close, fun, and unbelieeeevable (OH!)

Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

Upper Gorge Put-In (Watauga Gorge Park)
The Watauga Gorge Park was developed in conjunction with the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority in conjunction with Watauga County as part of the Boone Area Outdoor Recreation Plan in 2011.  The WCTDA received grant funding from the Recreation Trails Program to develop this parking and picnic access area.  This was made possible through the generous donation of 3 acres upstream of the Hwy 321 bridge by the Holton Family.  
Directions to Upper Watauga Put-In 
The put-in is 11 miles West of Boone, NC on Highway 321 at the junction with Old Watauga River Road. The park on the upstream side of the bridge on Old Watauga River Road. 
Directions to Guy Ford Road Access (Take Out):
Drive 4 miles North on Highway 321 from the put-in.  Turn right on Guy Ford Road.  There is parking on the upstream side of the bridge on Guy Ford Road. This parking is provided by the Will Trivette, the gas station market owner at the top of the hill. Please be sure to stop in and thank the family with your business when you're in the neighborhood.
When changing clothes, please BE DISCRETE. Be courteous to others and help maintain good relations with the neighbors.
No dogs
No nudity
No camping

Date Flow Result Factor  
1989-07-04 High Near Miss/Rescue High Water Read More





Bing Oliver


Jeff Paine


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190938 12/04/05 Bing Oliver n/a
1203151 03/10/14 Jeff Paine Updated per request by Edgar Peck