Caney Fork - 1. Clifty Bridge to Bee Creek

Caney Fork, Tennessee, US


1. Clifty Bridge to Bee Creek (Caney Fork Gorge)

Usual Difficulty III-V (for normal flows)

Lead-in rapid to Devils Kitchen (small photo)

Lead-in rapid to Devils Kitchen (small photo)
Photo of Caney Fork Whitewater by Marty Montana taken 12/2002 @ 1.6

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Caney Fork
virtual-6555 510 - 2500 cfs III-V 01h09m 113.875 cfs (too low)

River Description

Scott's Gulf Road to the Bee Creek confluence is now graded and graveled to within 200 yards of the bottom thanks to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. A great debt is owed to the Friends of Scott's Gulf who worked to ensure that the property has been protected. 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.
There are no managed hunts for deer and turkey from December 2012 through April 2013 that will impact access to the Caney Fork/Bee Creek take-out. Discussions are in progress that would not restrict access for kayakers during managed hunts.
The Caney Fork has a little of everything from play holes to ledge drops to fun boulder garden rapids. The put-in is at Clifty Bridge accessed off Hwy. 70 near De Rossett/Pleasant Hill (consult your Gazetteer). The first 3/4 mile is a flatwater warm-up. After a couple of easy rapids and past the trailer homes on river right, you come to Trailer Trash, a series of two very friendly wave holes that can be surfed until you are whopped or disoriented. Several Class IIIs follow that lead up to the top of Devil's Kitchen (Class V) where a distinct horizon line is a warning. See the description of Devil's Kitchen below. Scout and carry on river left. Immediately below Devil's Kitchen is a rock/boulder garden that we call Junk Yard (Lots of broken ledges, small bolders, and assorted collected debris). It loves to hang logs so pay attention. A consistent line that usually works is to start left side and keep working all the way left in the first part and then work from left to center to make the last drop in the center.
There are a number of Class III-IV ledges and boulder garden rapids that continue through a stretch that includes the beautiful Copper Cascades tributary that comes in from river right. Below Copper Cascades you will encounter a tighter more boulder garden section that has several nice Class III-IV rapids. After this you will reach the first lengthy pool. This is just over half way down the run. There is a trail that can be accessed at the end of this pool near a side stream. Follow the Polly's Branch Trail up and out of the gorge to access the Scott's Gulf Road or the Eastland Road.
The river continues with numerous boulder gardens and ledge drops. After about 8 miles you will reach a tighter gorge with large polished boulders on the banks and in the stream. This section has several fun rapids with a bigger water feel. The last big rapid is Eye of the Needle. The main flow is in the center through a slot between boulders and then over a ledge drop angling back to the left. Following this rapid move all the way across to river left and run the rock garden below. A large pool signals the junction with Bee Creek. The take-out is on river right just below the Bee Creek junction.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-01-19 02:56:57


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.0Devil's Kitchen

Rapid Descriptions

Devil's Kitchen
The lead-in to Devil's Kitchen begins with a series of Class III-IV rapids that is recognized from the first real horizon line on the run as the river pinches in on river left. At the end of the lead-in a left-to-right move is made over a small ledge. The pool above the main drop is a good place to get your final line on the main drop in Devil's Kitchen. The big drop is a double drop that begins with a 6 foot slide right of center. Then the boater must move to the river left side to miss the "bad" hole on river right and execute a boof in the second drop finishing off by punching the bottom hole. Looking back up from the bottom, you know you have done some boatin.

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