Saluda - 1 - Saluda Dam to SC Route 86 in Piedmont

Saluda, South Carolina, US


1 - Saluda Dam to SC Route 86 in Piedmont (rte 63 at the dam to SR 86)

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 16 Miles
Avg. Gradient 5 fpm
Max Gradient 3 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02162500 2.18 - 8.00 ft II 00h34m 4.34 ft (running)
Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2003-11-05 16:58:53

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.
April 4 2016 (1019 days ago)
gooseofdeuce (158093)
I ran this section from Saluda Dam to Dolly Cooper park on 04-02-16 with a buddy. Dolly Cooper has
a nice handicap launch recovery dock. The gauge indicated 3.55. The river was very runable and my
GPS indicated the river pushing us at about 2mph without paddling. The only time I bumped any rocks
was due to my newness in kayaking and picking a bad line on a couple of the small but fun rapids.
This section took about 3 hours with a 30 min lunch break.
October 4 2013 (1932 days ago)
Glenn AtkissonDetails
Ran dam to Hwy 81 today. Gauge (AW#829) shows 3.01 ft at 3 PM. Ran from 1 to 4 PM. Level is low
runable because a few scoots needed at top of rapids. Otherwise, level is ideal. Update as of July
2013 - a takeout along Hwy 81 but way before Piedmont is now at Dolly Cooper Park. Look for the
on-river take-out deck, River right. Access to the takeout is off Hwy 81 on Old Anderson Rd., into
Dolly Cooper Park. Ignore all the earlier comments now about access via the shopping center. It is
fenced off. Also, Dolly Cooper landing is so superior to anything else in this area, this section
should be split by Admin. into 2 sections: 1) Dam to Dolly Cooper which has most of the rapids, and
2) Dolly Cooper to Piedmont which is almost all flat water.
December 2 2011 (2604 days ago)
tree_weezel (153726)
Went from Old Easley Bridge all the way to Piedmont. 4.0 feet was the level. There was only one
ripple the whole voyage - I don't know where "Class II" is coming from, unless it's in the first
mile or two which I left out. It's possible that everything washes over at 4 ft. Worse was that the
river was completely flat for an eternity. I was solo in a long canoe paddling like mad to get in
before dark. However I was chasing a Florida-sized egret the whole way, saw lots of ducks, fish
jumping, and even beavers. If I went again, it would be with beer and fishing gear...Class I @ 4ft.
September 22 2009 (3405 days ago)
darthsem (150847)
Ran a short section below the speedway rapid today at 4.9. It is strong at that level. Also, I lost
my paddle in exiting. Aluminum and black painted yellow. Please post a response if you find it.
September 21 2008 (3771 days ago)
x (1)
The access at Hwy 81 has been posted and blocked off. Probrobly due to ignorant rednecks littering
the place up. Just across the river, Hwy143 (aka River Rd) hits the river and goes under the Hwy 81
bridge and there is a very steep place to put in.Take out here requires tying a rope to your boat
and pulling it up the bank. Worked for me. Good luck all.
September 19 2008 (3773 days ago)
Kyle AndersonDetails
Thursday paddled from Hwy 81 to Piedmont at 2.18 ft. The strip shopping center on river left was
very nice and gave us permission to launch. 2.18 ft is the low-end of runable for the first half.
Level was not a problem for the last half because the river gets very deep and slow. Almost like
paddling on a lake and our lake touring kayaks were fine for this run. Great scenic run but water
quality a little sketchy. Kyle A.
May 21 2008 (3894 days ago)
rfauver80 (148531)
This run is much better broken into sections. I usually go from the dam on Saluda Dam Rd down to
Hwy 81. There is a strip shopping center on river left that has public river access and is a great
take out spot. If you put in at the dam and take out here this run is about 7 miles and takes
3-1/2hrs. There are several shoals and one set of class II rapids. There are portages on this run
and the river flows smoothly at a slow pace the entire stretch.
February 25 2008 (3980 days ago)
x (1)
A friend and I ran this section back in January. From Saluda Dam to I-85 is a nice run, with small
shoals and moving current. From I-85 to SC 86 is very slow moving, almost like a lake. Also, I
double checked the mileage and it is more like 25 miles. It took us over 4 hours of paddling, and
that was in Pyranha Speeders paddling hard most of the way. Tim C