A 47 day old warning about this river was added. Click on comments below to read it.

Citico Creek - 1. Indian Boundary to Below Pigs in Space

Citico Creek, Tennessee, US


1. Indian Boundary to Below Pigs in Space (Upper Citico)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 100 fpm
Max Gradient 180 fpm

White Rabbit!

White Rabbit!
Photo of James Gose, Karl Whipp, Justin Hines and Garren Stephens by Ken Parish taken 2/2002

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03518500 3.50 - 10.00 ft III-IV 00h23m 1.93 ft (too low)

River Description

The Upper Citico is a tight, fast little creek set in a beautiful surrounding. Making a trip here is not wasted if there isn't enough water because the Tellico is just a few minutes back down the road.

With a put-in at the bridge just below the confluence of the North and Citico creeks, the whitewater picks up immediately. This is mainly a class III+ run, but it's constant, with steady gradient and rock-filled rapids.

The Citico begins with class II-III boogie water as it bends to the left, setting you up for the first section of rapids. The first big rapid can be broken up by eddy-hopping through it, or you can turn it into a hundred yards of non-stop slides, ledges, and boogie water.

Next up is a small horizon line that turns out to be just a long, easy slide. A bend to the right bumps you through more boogie water, and then the action begins to pick up again. Hug the river right wall for the next rapid which goes around a large boulder situated on river left, blocking your downstream view. This boulder is undercut, and trees are usually stuffed into the front of it. Stay right all the way down. This rapid looks worse than it is, but stay alert. A few more smaller rapids brings you to another horizon line with three slots that look runnable. Far right is the best option at lower levels, boofing off the rock and into the pool below. At higher levels (when the Tellico is over 4 feet) then the middle line is the way to go.

The river leaves the road for a bit at this point, but class II-III water is all that awaits. After losing sight of the road and paddling down a stretch of class II-III you will come to a sharp bend to the right. Eddy here and scout this next rapid. A big rock situated left of center creates a hole that you should avoid. Left of the big rock and off the curler wave is the hero route, but paddling hard right will get you past it as well. After this is calmer water, but there is one major rapid left. Be on the lookout for Pigs In Space (IV), the biggest single rapid on the Upper Citico. It sneaks up on you quick. The best way to tell that Pigs is coming is this...you will be in calm water, just having finished a class III section above, when downstream you notice the river starts dropping quickly over some ledges. River left will look like the best route, and you'll notice the road will start climbing above the river and there will be huge rocks used as a retaining wall below the road. Unless you're ready to run Pigs In Space, get out to scout before you get into that next section or you're running it blind. The Forest Service road can be used to scout Pigs In Space and to set up safety if necessary. The best way to run this rapid is staying river left, bouncing through the class II-III entrance. Ahead you will notice a very large boulder on the left and a small horizon line. At lower levels you can run the meat, but at higher levels it's recommended you catch a tongue of water between the offset holes. Note that there are two undercuts here and set safety accordingly. Pigs In Space shouldn't be taken lightly when the Citico is cranking, but it can be run safely. After you've gotten through the mess at the top, you still have a powerful hydraulic to punch at the bottom, or paddle hard towards the river left side and avoid it all together.

Shortly downstream from Pigs you will go through Doublecamp Creek campground, which you'll recognize when you go under a bridge. If you want to run the upper section again, Doublecamp makes a good take-out spot.

Again this is followed by class II-III water, with no real consequences (provided you don't flip!). About 3/10ths of a mile or so below Doublecamp you will see a river wide ledge. This is a 4 foot high rapid that can be run about anywhere, scout if you're unsure. Just around the corner from this rapid there was a dangerous low-head dam until it was removed in the fall of 2015. Props to American Rivers, the US Forest Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service for taking the dam out! As you continue downstream eventually you'll pass under a bridge, with more class II-III water carrying you downstream. When you get to the second bridge after the dam, you will encounter a small ledge aptly named Takeout Ledge (III) because this is the normal takeout for the Upper Citico. A takeout here makes the run a little over 4 miles. If you continue downstream, more class III water awaits.

From Tellico Plains head east on Highway 165 out of town and at mile 14.4 turn left onto FR 345 towards Indian Boundary. In 1.3 miles you'll make a right turn on FR 35 following the sign for the Citico. This road winds 2.4 miles down to the river. Once you reach the river you can turn to the right where the road crosses the river at a low water bridge. At higher flows water flows over this bridge and level is determined by how much water flows over the top of the bridge. You can continue about 2 miles downstream to Doublecamp Campsite or if you want to add a couple more ledges head 4.5 miles to roadside Campsite 9. Runs continuing downstream are possible and it's easy to pick your access from one of the several roadside pullouts.

The take-out is reached by following 36 down the Citico until it intersects with Forest Service road 26 (about 4 miles down from the put-in.)

It takes about an hour and 45 minutes to two hours to reach the Citico from Knoxville, TN. If it's not running, the Tellico is right back down the road.

Nearby runs also include...
Bald River

For more information please click on the link below:





StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-10-19 19:19:05

put-in bridge gauge

Detail Trip Report  put-in bridge gauge  Citico Creek, TN(107.94KB .jpeg)

Pigs in Space

Detail Trip Report  Pigs in Space  Citico Creek, TN(1.07MB .jpeg)

First Rapids

Detail Trip Report  First Rapids  Citico Creek, TN(1018.48KB .jpeg)

Citico Rapid

Detail Trip Report  Citico Rapid  Citico Creek, TN(1.03MB .jpeg)


Detail Trip Report  Dam  Citico Creek, TN(1.02MB .jpeg)

Takeout Ledge

Detail Trip Report  Takeout Ledge  Citico Creek, TN(1.06MB .jpeg)

Takeout Rapid?

Detail Trip Report  Takeout Rapid?  Citico Creek, Upper, TN(125.10KB .jpeg)

White Rabbit!

Detail Trip Report  White Rabbit!  Citico Creek, TN(31.13KB .jpeg)

2 in White Rabbit

Detail Trip Report  2 in White Rabbit  Citico Creek, TN(102.07KB .jpeg)

Pigs in Space

Detail Trip Report  Pigs in Space  Citico Creek, TN(59.26KB .jpeg)

[0013] Pigs in Space panorama

Detail Trip Report  [0013] Pigs in Space panorama  Upper Citico Creek, TN(49.31KB .jpeg)

(RM) 1st Rapid

Detail Trip Report  (RM) 1st Rapid  Citico Creek, TN(61.30KB .jpeg)

(RM) Unnamed Rapid

Detail Trip Report  (RM) Unnamed Rapid  Citico Creek, TN(78.30KB .jpeg)

(RM) A view from the river

Detail Trip Report  (RM) A view from the river  Citico Creek, TN(83.82KB .jpeg)

(RM) Boulder Dash

Detail Trip Report  (RM) Boulder Dash  Citico Creek, TN(78.19KB .jpeg)

(RM) Pigs In Space - Bottom

Detail Trip Report  (RM) Pigs In Space - Bottom  Citico Creek, TN(63.26KB .jpeg)

(RM) Pigs In Space - Top

Detail Trip Report  (RM) Pigs In Space - Top  Citico Creek, TN(73.42KB .jpeg)

(RM) Pigs In Space - Bottom Hole

Detail Trip Report  (RM) Pigs In Space - Bottom Hole  Citico Creek, TN(87.17KB .jpeg)

(RM) Slot Boof

Detail Trip Report  (RM) Slot Boof  Citico Creek, TN(66.78KB .jpeg)

Citico Creek

Detail Trip Report  Citico Creek   Citico Creek, TN(1.53MB .jpeg)

Gorilla Face (Citico Creek, TN)

Detail Trip Report  Gorilla Face (Citico Creek, TN)  Citico Creek, TN(74.43KB .jpeg)

Gorilla Face

Detail Trip Report  Gorilla Face  @Citico Creek 1. Indian Boundary to Below Pigs in Space, TN(1.25MB .jpeg)

Detail Trip Report    @Citico Creek 1. Indian Boundary to Below Pigs in Space, TN(484.35KB .jpeg)

Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

There is no direct gauge for the Upper Citico.
The best indication is to check the gauge for the Upper Tellico.
If the Tellico is cranking (1000 cfs+ or 3.5 feet and rising on the gauge) then the Citico is probably running.
It also depends on where the rain falls, so use this as an indicator only.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03518500 3.50 - 10.00 ft III-IV 00h23m 1.93 ft (too low)

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
3.50 -10.00 ft barely runnable-high runnable III-IV

Report - Reports of Citico Creek 1. Indian Boundary to Below Pigs in Space and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.


When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Citico Creek [TN] Gorilla Face (Citico Creek, TN) High Ken and Fran Strickland
Citico Creek [TN] (RM) Slot Boof Medium Low Robert Maxwell
Citico Creek [TN] Pigs in Space n/a Ratt Boy
Citico Creek [TN] put-in bridge gauge 6.0' on Tellico Thomas O'Keefe
5y6d16h25m /Citico Creek-1. Indian Boundary to Below Pigs in Space [TN] Gorilla Face 0 cfs Ken and Fran Strickland
> 10 years /Citico Creek-1. Indian Boundary to Below Pigs in Space [TN] a good level Ken and Fran Strickland
> 10 years Citico Creek [TN] Citico Creek Good Robert Strangia
> 10 years Citico Creek [TN] Citico 6.0' on Tellico Thomas O'Keefe
> 10 years Upper Citico Creek [TN] [0013] Pigs in Space panorama 3 Chad Spangler
> 10 years Citico Creek, Upper [TN] Takeout Rapid? low NATHAN WINSLOW



User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 2 2018 (47 days ago)
jkenagy (155967)
The right side boof (at the rapid described with the far side boof as best option at lower levels)
has a log hindering the boof just below the surface at the 2.2 level we ran on 12/1/18. I hit it
while charging the boof and it caused me to pitch over on my left side downstream while my stern
broached behind me. I was stable but stuck in a sideways pin at the top of the drop with most of
the current running under me. I had my hand on the log under me which helped me remain stable until
Jim and Rob assisted so I could crawl out. Rob had piled up on me broached as well until Jim pulled
him clear from the shore. The current took my freed left leg into a hyper-extension while I pulled
my right leg out and dropped into the pool. There is more wood beneath the surface in the pool. Use
caution while this wood is there. Better to take the middle line. I was lucky to get out with a
sprained knee joint.
December 24 2014 (1486 days ago)
William ThomasDetails
As of 12/15/14 there are 4 mandatory portages due to river wide wood. Use caution and scout before
putting on.
January 12 2014 (1832 days ago)
PaddleCracker (156025)
March 20 2006 (4686 days ago)
Kirk EddlemonDetails
The gradient figures are right, but from the putin to just below pigs in space, which is what the
reach is, is not 4 miles. It is 1.65 miles. Big difference.
February 3 2006 (4732 days ago)
paul hubbardDetails
on Jan 31 2006. I was driving by after a low flow tellico and saw trees that had fallen across 3
sections above pigs in space. Check from car and walk if needed. Still fun no matter what
January 30 2005 (5100 days ago)
Ken and Fran StricklandDetails
The first significant rapid (large boulder on the left) has recently been referred to as
"Boulder Dash" (a good name, BTW). However, the name "Gorilla Face" has been in
use by some of us since the late '80s. This name is derived from the gorilla profile seen in the
rock when viewed from the road. Also, the rapid above White Rabbit in the noticible right turn in
the river (right and left lines as well as a middle boof if the water's high enough) has been
called "Go Ask Alice" for several years now.

February 9 2004 (5457 days ago)
Michael StephensonDetails
We ran Citico at low water this weekend (water below the top of the bridge). It's still a lot of
fun at this level. I just wanted to point out that there is a bad pinning spot in the far right
slot of the 3-slot rapid at this level. There is a piton rock below the slot center or left-center.
At the low water level, the tendency if trying to boof off the rock is to get up on the rock and
get turned back left and into the piton rock. Quite a few of us pinned their briefly this weekend.
I personally pinned and was stuck head down (but with a big air pocket) until my friends could yank
me out (yikes!). Be careful on this one at low water.
February 24 2003 (5807 days ago)
Put-in level info from boatertalk:

* If the water is lapping over the bridge, it is a low doable level.

* 10-12 inches over the bridge is ideal for a fast fun ride(roughly 1500 cfs on the tellico gauge,
if the rain fall is spread evenly throughout that region)

* 24 inches over the bride is fast, hole dodging action.
February 20 2003 (5811 days ago)
Lots of people are speaking highly of the half mile hike above the put-in to where the north fork
comes in and floating down from there.

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.

General Nonmember Message

 1. Indian Boundary to Below Pigs in Space, Citico Creek Tennessee, US (mobile)