Caney Fork - 0. Rock Island State Park - Bridge above Blue Hole picnic area to picnic area

Caney Fork, Tennessee, US


0. Rock Island State Park - Bridge above Blue Hole picnic area to picnic area (Rock Island)

Usual Difficulty II-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 1 Miles

Rock Island

Rock Island
Photo of Unknown by Daniel Talley @ 2,600

River Description

Rock Island is noted for its excellent park and play.

The entire run is probably just a mile in length, and contained between Great Falls Lake and Center Hill Lake.

The powerhouse releases water into the area where the two main playspots are. At the top of the next rapid is a nice series of surf waves with good eddies on the left.

The river left eddy is interesting due to the "waterfall" that drops into it. This falls is actually shooting thru the cliff on river left. This water is coming from the backwaters of Great Falls Lake and the Collins River on the other side of the cliff.

At the bottom of the wavetrain is the infamous Rock Island rodeo hole. The hole is fairly friendly at 2000 cfs, and rather munchy at a full release of 3800 cfs. Most get intimidated around 7500. Beware catching the left eddy, as the left wall is undercut and the eddyline feeds right into it.

Depending on the lower lake levels there may be two or three more small rapids below the rodeo hole. The next rapid contains a wave that is surfable at higher flows, but just above a dangerously undercut wall.

Warning - much of the channel flows into this wall. Get swimmers right.

Walk back up or take out in Rock Island State Park 'boat launch'

After rains: Starting at the base of the dam there is a 20' shelf with 0, one, or several lines dependant on the flow.. Check with the locals for more detailed info. 4200 minimum for 'the spout'; other lines (Mill-side and swing-side) start up around 4800. The rapid below constricts the river and the 3 holes can be violent. The rock is sharp and unstable, watch for seives in the first rapid. At flows above 10,000 the holes wash but the right wall at the bottom becomes a concern. There must be water flowing over the dam for the falls section to be running.
From South Nashville or Chattanooga: Take I-24 South from Nashville or I-24 North from Chattanooga and exit at Hwy 55 in Manchester, the McMinnville/Tullahoma exit. Proceed North on Hwy 55 toward McMinnville. In McMinnville, Hwy 55 will turn into the 70S bypass. Continue on the bypass through McMinnville and go 12 miles North of McMinnville and take a left on hwy 136. Go about 1 mile and take a left on 287 in entrance which will be on the right.

Rock Island State Park.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2003-05-20 13:54:45


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.3Brave Wave Ledge / UndercutHazard

Rapid Descriptions

Brave Wave Ledge / Undercut
If you swim, swim River RIGHT and keep swimming into the eddy below the hole. Brave Wave Ledge recently broke the leg of a swimmer and the rocks here are sharp and grabby. The Undercut below Brave Wave on the Left is especially hazardous because of the sharp limestone shelves that could pose entrapment hazard. Swim right - you can make the eddy every time.

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