Cane Creek - Fall Creek Falls State Park to Highway 30


Cane Creek, Tennessee, US

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Fall Creek Falls State Park to Highway 30

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 94 fpm
Max Gradient 252 fpm

Cane Creek


Cane Creek
Photo of Ben Northcutt by Alex Harvey

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
CALFKILLER RIVER AT HWY 111 BELOW SPARTA, TN
usgs-03419800 1000 - 10000 cfs IV-V 41d12h43m 257 cfs (too low)


River Description

Fall Creek Falls State Park.

Put in: Park your vehicles at the visitor center above Cane Creek Falls.

The walk to the put in trail is easy to find. Leaving the visitor center walk uphill to the stop sign. Hang a left and walk downhill untill you pass a small bridge. Right after the bridge there will be a sign indicationg Cable trail. It is reccomended you belay or lower your boats down the cable trail by rope.

Wear your helmet, and 5.10's, it is a very steep trail!!!

Take Out: Hwy 30 bridge at 285 jct. 

Gauge information: Calfkiller gauge correletion may the ticket, but look for Great Falls Dam 'inflow' 4000 - 7000 ( check inflow by clicking http://www.tva.gov/lakes/gfh_r.htm )

Use the Calfkiller as a singnal if it is running or not. Make sure to check red gauge at putin or takeout before you put on!

Gauging information was passed from Clay Wright and Bankfull1 from Boatertalk as Follows:

Red Put-in gauge: Is on the cement 'diving area' on the little mini-lake above a dam upstream of the falls below a swinging bridge. 

 "-2''  would be 2'' below my personal 'not really jonezing' minimum and at 0 you don't have to walk."

Levels are closely matched to the Red gauge at the take out.


Red Take-out gauge: Under Hwy 30 Bridge on the pillar closest to river right. It is on the bottom of the pillar in the bottom righthand corner.

-2" Is the Lowest it can be run. The flat water paddle out is long and you have to hike in a couple of spots around the islands where the river splits, the gorge still has enough water to be fun.

0' is low

6" is medium

1' is high

above 1' is getting big


Fallin Down shots were at 3 old or 1.5 on the new Red gauge . . .hold on!

Blue Take-out Gauge: Under Hwy 30 Bridge on the pillar in the middle of the bridge.

The lower blue gauge changes too much to be reliable at low flows - at one point 1' was runnable, then recent years it read 2' even in summer because there was a pool formed by a gravel bed just downstream of the bridge. So a red gauge was put on the near bridge piling downstream of where the gravel bed is so it reads more consistently. If you must use the blue gauge:

2' is the minimum

2.5" is a good medium

3" is getting huge

River Information: Paddle up at put-in for best view of 80'+er in TN

Rapids include:
Pine Tree Falls,
Crack-slot,
Twin Towers (this hole flanked by huge rocks the site of many disasters),
Corner Pocket (hole on left),
Airplane turn,
Hallway Falls,
Rear Entry (now snuck left)

Miles of class 2-3 then 1-2 follow, can be scrapy, always long.
When the river splits 4 ways, pick R or L channel - still brushy but deeper

Watch for logs!!! 

Daniel Talley adds Wrom: PNKMBIPBAR

Thursday night it had rained a dab, only around an inch in these parts and not quite enough to get stuff goin to par. Richland Creek was running, but I wanted something new. Being disappointed in the situation, I strapped the boat on top of the car and headed west to Fall Creek Falls. For years I've been wanting to run Cane Creek, and being a semi-large watershed I figured it would have some water. It did, not much but enough was there for some sunny November fun.

From the falls to the confluence of Fall Creek was a blast. Several IV+ made for some good fun, and I'm sure at higher levels class V would not be an overstatement for some of them. It had some of the best boulder garden drops I've seen, constant s-turns back to back with great climaxes at the end.

After Fall Creek, it flattened out for a good 3/4 mile with an occassional class III. Then I came upon around three or four excellent drops, you know, those that have three or four slots to choose from, and only one of them not having a sieve with a tree in it. The trees were pretty bad in this 1 mile stretch, having to get out two or three times.

The rest of the run I just sat back, enjoying the scenery on many many class-II shoal rapids. All was well, aside from the overwhelming feeling that I was running out of water. I thought to myself, surely I haven't outrun the water, as I crossed through several large pools, almost mini-lakes.

Suddenly, I couldn't quite see the exit to the pool. Luckly I found a small exit, but yes, I was running out of water. The next thing I know, the water becomes very silty with an aqua color and I run this little wave train straight into a cliff. The cliff has three or four vertical slots where the water was entering. Over to the right was a 6-ft whirlpool, nothing violent, but interesting nonetheless. Getting next to the cliff, the air pressure made for an interesting sound.

Over to the left was the dry riverbed that I walked for 100 yards or so and luckily found a road that eventually led to hwy 30. 45 minutes later a nice nursery owner took me back to my car.

Interesting day. Maybe next time I'll wait until later in the season when that cave fills up and I can paddle happily to the bridge.

Anyone else had similar experiences with this run or nearby watersheds? and two, is there a gauge in the park?

-daniel

Clay Wright helped out with:
Paddle behind falls at low levels - no, haven't run em.
Logs plague this run, but several class 4 and 5 rapids in virgin forest canyon. Watch for "Twin Towers" - named for the World Trade Center similarities. Was for the 2 big rocks flanking the drop. Now for the Big f*&$in hole. Set rope river right.

3 mile paddle out through scrapey-scenic class 1-2. Under 0'', much flow disappears.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-05-03 03:51:57

Editors

Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0put in.Putin Waterfall Photo
0.3Pine Tree FallsPhoto
0.4Crack Slot
0.5Twin TowersPhoto
0.7Corner Pocket
0.8Airplane TurnPhoto
1.0Hallway FallsPhoto
1.1Rear EntryPhoto
7.0Take OutN/APhoto

Rapid Descriptions

put in.

Cane Creek Falls (put in)

Cane Creek Falls (put in)
Photo of Lane, Ted, others by Clay Wright taken 1/2005 @ 2.5


Pine Tree Falls

(RM) Pine Tree Falls

(RM) Pine Tree Falls
Photo of Marshall Fox by Rob Maxwell @ 2' 5"


Twin Towers

(RM) Twin Towers

(RM) Twin Towers
Photo of Milt Aitken by Rob Maxwell @ 2' 5"


Airplane Turn

(RM) Airplane Turn

(RM) Airplane Turn
Photo of Marshall Fox by Rob Maxwell @ 2' 5"


Hallway Falls

(RM) Hallway Falls

(RM) Hallway Falls
Photo of Kevin Thomas by Rob Maxwell @ 2' 5"


Rear Entry

(RM) Rear Entry

(RM) Rear Entry
Photo of Milt Aitken by Rob Maxwell @ 2' 5"


Take Out (Class N/A, Mile 7.0)

Cane Red take-out Gauge

Cane Red take-out Gauge
Photo taken 05/03/11



User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 6 2016 (470 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
Cable broke and trail closed temporarily as of April 4th 16. The photos on here claiming 2'5'' by
robert maxwell are the lowest I've ever seen it and likely co-ordinate to -6'' on the closer red
gage. Friends ran it at -2'' (took out at -4'') in April of 16 and it looked low medium. clay
January 2 2013 (1660 days ago)
BobbyMcGrath (154713)
1/2/13 Red gauge at 1' today. Fun run down Cain. No portages due to logs. Definitely a mid-to-high
water level. Calf killer gauge was at 1510. Great falls dam inflow around 8500. Most beautiful run
we've done this year. :-) Did portage twin towers due to ferocious looking hole (and our first run
down).
April 1 2011 (2302 days ago)
Alex AndrewsDetails
The range on the runnable range of this creek is wrong, if you attempt to put on anywhere near
10,000 cfs the rapids become huge and unnavigable. A group of paddlers attempted the creek at 6,000
cfs and the rapids were V+(5.8) approximately with large terminal holes and massive river wide log
jams. The proper range for this creek is approximately 1,500 to 3,000 cfs.
March 15 2006 (4145 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
2 runs today at 0'<br />
New red gage at takeout on r right: 0' today and
I'd say that's a good minimum to paddle out.<br
/>
<br />
Put-in: New red gage below swinging bridge
upstream of falls and dam (across bridge from
Cane Falls parking) - read 0' too. <br />
<br />
All logs avoidable. Walked 'Rear Entry' since left
sneak hard to enter. Remarkably more
channelized in runout. Pushed across the last
braided area (L then R) but otherwise bumped
through fine. One bad log within sight of
takeout<br />
Collins 1200, Calfkiller 950<br />
March 15 2006 (4145 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
1/9/05: 2.5 was a medium level - new gravel bar makes gage read higher (2.7 yesterday looked like
2x the water). If the shoal upstream of the bridge is scrapey, the last miles will be too. No log
portages required - remarkable clean. Rangers friendly. Calfkiller was 5.8, collins 3000, Caney
Fork 1.7
February 24 2005 (4529 days ago)
Geoff KohlDetails
The link for the Calfkiller gauge is this:<br />
<a href=http://waterdata.usgs.gov/tn/nwis/uv?
03419800 target=_blank>http://waterdata.usgs.gov/
tn/nwis/uv?03419800</a><br />
<br />
Sounds like you should see 5.7 or above on Calfkiller
before heading to Cane
February 1 2005 (4552 days ago)
Kirk EddlemonDetails
Here are some numbers I just crunched:

Falls to Piney Creek - 2.2 miles at 172 ft/mile
Steepest mile - 220 ft/mile from mile 0.3 to mile 1.3
steepest stretch - 250 ft/mile for 0.4 miles (second gorge)
Piney Creek to takeout - 4.8 miles at 42 ft/mile
Piney Creek to hikeout - 1 mile at 75 ft/mile
total length and gradient - 7 miles with 580 ft of drop
January 19 2005 (4565 days ago)
Robert MaxwellDetails
There's only one word to describe Cane Creek - Spectacular. The put-in is amazing, the scenery is
unparalleled, and the quality of the run is phenomenal. If you have the skills, you must put Cane
Creek on your to-do list. Here's the scoop

Cane Creek is a IV - V+ run with 3 distinct gorges. The first gorge is a solid IV - V+, with the
other two being IV - V. The gorges are all back-to-back-to-back class IV - IV+ rapids with an
occasional V thrown in for fun. Everything is tight and technical with very little room for error.
The rapids are mostly boulder gardens with ledgy drops and slots. Most of the drops can be boat
scouted if you are careful. However, there are a great number of drops where you just can't see
over the horizon line and scouting is a must. After a flood, rocks and wood shift around on this
run, so carefully picking your way down is always a must

Unfortunately, the fun doesn't last as long as I would like. The run is 7 miles long, 3-1/2 miles
being some of the best class IV - V creeking in the area. The rest being one of the longer class II
gravel bar infested paddle outs you'll have to endure.

The put-in is easy to find, if you know where to look. In Falls Creek Falls State Park, from the
Cane Creek Falls Nature Center and Overlook parking lot, hike back up the road to the stop sign,
hang a left. Once you cross over the Rockhouse Creek Bridge the Cable Trail is immediately on your
left. There's a large sign, so it's hard to miss. Take the trail to the bottom of the gorge. The
trail drops 70 feet in less than a quarter mile. The park service has placed a steel cable along
the cliff to help with our decent. The day my group did it, we set up a 3-rope belay system to get
the boats to the bottom. I would not do this run if it's been icy recently. The trail to the bottom
would be treacherous.

The take out is where Hwy 30 crosses over Cane Creek, near the junction with 285. There is a large
parking area on the downstream side of the bridge (on your right if you are coming from Falls Creek
Falls State Park.) The gage can be easily seen from the parking area on the river left bridge
support on the upstream side.

There is a suck hole near the take-out that a lot of the water disappears into if the water table
isn't up. The day I ran it, there had been enough rain to fill the aquifers, so this wasn't an
issue.

Now the fun stats.

Length: 7 miles
Average FPM: 94
Max FPM: 252 in the first mile
Greatest FPM: 410 in the 1/3 mile stretch below the confluence with Fall Creek.
Mile by mile FPM: 252, 157, 70, 73, 49, 25, 35

Recently the gravel bars have shifted in the river making the gage read differently, so here's my
take on the levels as of 1/16/04
Low: 2'1" - 2'2"
Medium Low 2'5"
I'm guessing 3' would probably be high. I personally wouldn't want to do it much more over 2'9" or
2'10" until I know the run better. Once you add a lot of push in this, thing start to get out of
control fast - well, at least for my taste.
January 9 2005 (4575 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
1/9/05: 2.5 was a medium level - new gravel bar makes gage read higher (2.7 yesterday looked like
2x the water). If the shoal upstream of the bridge is scrapey, the last miles will be too. No log
portages required - remarkable clean. Rangers friendly. Calfkiller was 5.8, collins 3000, Caney
Fork 1.7


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