This is a beautiful river with many cliffs that remind me of the great Russel Fork. It has the classic emerald green water that the plateau is famous for and enough vertical to keep life interesting. Bee tends to runs a little longer than the Caney Fork because it is steeper and channels very well. This run is harder than the Caney Fork and I venture to say harder than Cane Creek (Fall Creek Falls). Bring your Boof stroke and boat control on this one. Some of the most consistent rapids on the plateau once in the gorge. This run often gets overlooked because of the lack of beta and shuttle length. DO NOT WRITE THIS RUN OFF. Hopefully my updated shuttle situation will shed some light on this place so more boaters can experience this great run as I did.
If you use the Bee Creek putin you have a 1-1.5 miles of flat water before you get to the dam. Walk the dam on river left and there is a graded road on the left to the river bank at the bottom. Once you put in below the dam the rapids start. there is a 5 foot ledge, then an awesome class 4 slide. there are a few more smaller rapids untill a class 4 that is right at the confluence of Glade creek. After Glade comes in on the left there are several class 2 and 3 rapids for 3-4 miles. If you were paying attention you will have noticed a building and no tresspassing signs on river left after the 3-4 miles of the class 2-3. Very shortly after the buildings and signs the gorge will start. You will start to see horizon lines and rock jumbles. Several of these rapids are boat scoutable, but when in doubt, GET OUT AND SCOUT!!!!. As with any run in the southeast with lots of gradient there are several sieves and undercuts. After the gorge you have maybe one mile of class 2-3 until you get to the Caney Fork / takeout.
Take-out is at Caney Fork confluence. On the shuttle you have to pick the lesser of two evils. One option is to have a long drive to HWY 285 ( also called Glade Creek Rd, or Lonewood Rd) to put in on the bridge where the road passes over Glade creek. The other option is to put in on Bee Creek where it crosses Nelson Ln. The Bee Creek putin option cuts 30-40 minutes off the shuttle, but you have to paddle some flat water until you get to a dam. Once you get past the dam the rapids start. I would much rather spend time in a kayak than the car so the flat water paddle option is the one I choose. Scott's Gulf Road to the Bee Creek confluence is now graded and graveled to the bottom thanks to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Some cars may not be able to drive all the way to the bottom, but should be able to make it 85-90% of the way.
Additional information on the Caney Fork River take-out at Bee Creek, the Scott's Gulf Road access, and the Firestone-Bridgestone Centennial Wilderness can be found at Scott's Gulf.
Please check the dates of managed hunts for deer (Nov-Jan) and turkey (April) that may impact access to the Caney Fork/Bee Creek take-out. Discussions are in progress that would not restrict access for kayakers during managed hunts. To my knowledge kayaking is alowed even in deer hunts ( I have been going here for three years and never have been told otherwise)
Ran Bee Creek when the Bee Creek gage was 0" and Caney Fork gage was 1.85. The level was slightly above medium. I would paddle this from -6" to +6" on the Bee Creek gage. (but thats just a guess, since this was my first time on the run)
The shuttle took 1 hour 15 minutes one way, with 20 minutes spent just driving out on Scotts Gulf Road. A 4WD isn't necessary but highly recommended. If you have a 2WD you MUST have good clerance AND a bit of skill to drive through 2 or 3 really rutted spots.
If you navigate using Delorme Gazetteer, I have a big warning for you. On Page 40, D-4, right on the White and Cumberland County line is a road named Rogers Creek Road. It looks like a great shuttle road, however, its really an old logging road. It is too muddy for 2wd and too slow to even bother with if you have 4WD. Go another way and avoid this long slow bumpy road and having to pull your 2WD friend out of the mud twice before giving up and backtracking to a real road....or something like that.
My team put in on Glade Creek. Asides from the 2 hr (both ways) shuttle, this is a schweet run. Class 3 for 4 miles. Wide, spread out. Then the action picks up.It has a little over a mile of Class 3+, 4, 4+ rapids back to back. Makes the section a Class 5, IMHO.
After that, a smooth out, just before the Caney Fork confluence.
I'm not sure of the level, but I know I did the Spring City Piney the day before @ 3 ft, and this creek was running at a medium-low range.
Bee is a big step up in creekiness from Caney Fork but can be run just as often. Watch out for sieves as there are some BIG ones!
Kirk Eddleman showed me a cool trick that makes Bee much more accessible.
For a 90 min walk from the confluence you can run all the rapids with no shuttle!
Paddle the flat water up Bee from the Caney Fork confluence to a more open area, going straight up hill look for pink tape marking a trail which cuts off a curve of the river and leads to a big pool. Paddle that pool upstream to the end and you will see an old road on river left. Follow that old road to Rose Cave and past it - upstream and slightly up hill for about 1 mile before it peaks out, then it's another mile flat then downhill to 2 white boundary signs. This is the very top of the best gradient! Follow Pink Tape to scramble down to the river and SCOUT this first series of drops as well as several downstream. Like Richland, this is not an eddy-hop / boat-scouting run until you know it well - you will be scouting a lot! This run has some big boots and slots and a lot of bang for the buck as most of the gradient of Caney Fork is condensed into this short stretch. Enjoy!
Note: this is a virtual gauge, and thus must be used as only a rough guide. Recently painted a gauge on the river right bridge pier on the Glade Creek bridge. Minimum should be about negative .5'. Optimum level should be around .0' to .3'. Use the Caney Fork gauge at the Clifty Bridge to approximate Bee Creek levels. 1.35' on the Clifty Bridge should be around negative 0.4' on the Glade Creek bridge. 1.55' on the Clifty Bridge is about negative 0.2' at Glade Creek bridge. 1.75' at Clifty Bridge is about 0' at Glade Creek bridge.
Permits are not required for this reach.
For the quicker shuttle with flat water paddle (Newton Ln Putin) : From Scotts Gulf Road turn right on Eastland. Drive on Eastland Rd for 4.7 miles and turn right on to Clifty Rd (As I type this the Clifty rd sign is missing). On Clifty rd you will drive 2.7 miles before you turn right on Flat Rock Rd (While on Clifty you will pass over the Caney Fork Putin, its a good idea to get a visual so you can guess at how much water Bee will have). Drive on Flat Rock Rd for 3.8 miles untill it "Tbones" into Flynns Cove Rd. Turn right onto Flynns Cove Rd (Turns into Newton Rd) and follow it for 3.8 miles, then turn right onto Newton Ln. Follow Newton Ln for 2.4 miles to the low water bridge putin for Bee Creek. Newton Ln will turn to gravel and one lane rd. You will know you are on the right road once you pass over a small wooden bridge.
For the longer shuttle with no flat water (HWY 285 putin) : From Scotts Gulf Road turn right on Eastland. Drive on Eastland Rd for 4.7 miles and turn right on to Clifty Rd (As I type this the Clifty rd sign is missing). On Clifty rd you will drive 2.7 miles before you turn right on Flat Rock Rd (While on Clifty you will pass over the Caney Fork Putin, its a good idea to get a visual so you can guess at how much water Bee will have). Drive on Flat Rock Rd for 3.8 miles untill it "Tbones" into Flynns Cove Rd. Turn right onto Flynns Cove Rd (Turns into Newton Rd) and follow it for .9 miles, then turn Left on to Midway Rd. Follow Midway Rd for 2.9 miles and turn right on HWY 101 (Bellview Rd). Drive on HWY 101 (Bellview Rd) for 8.7 miles, then turn right onto HWY 285 (Glade Creek Rd). Drive for 3.1 miles to the bridge.
super-hoof above tight slot
tight slots in Bee Creek
Second rapid Boof
Trail's end - time to paddle!
Hiking for turns, TN style
(RM) Scotts Gulf Road
(RM) Bee Creek Gage
(RM) Squeeze Play - Marshall
(RM) Squeeze Play - Milt
(RM) Geoff Boofing
(RM) Exiting Squeeze Play
Looking downstream from 1st
2nd drop in Bee Creek
1st drop of the toughest section
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