This photo needs editing.
Difficulty I-III
Length 4 Miles
Gauge CLEAR CREEK AT LILLY BRIDGE NEAR LANCING, TN
Flow Range 180 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 30 minutes ago 1.23 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 02/09/2013 4:18 am

River Description


Chris Hellmann warned:

There are 3 spots with nasty undercuts not discussed anywhere else. Our group had near-fatalities at 2 of these spots on 4/17/04. The first is 1/4 of the way down and very visible. The second is 2/3 of the way to Jett and not visible without scouting. At this location you will see an undercut boulder where most of the current bears right but what you can't see from the river is that after the first undercut the river takes a sharp left into another undercut boulder. Our paddler became trapped under this rock and completely underwater for at least 10 seconds. The third location is just upstream of Jett and also very visible. All these spots are easily avoidable for paddlers with basic boat control skills. However, I bring this to your attention because Monte Smith's Obed/Emory book (no longer in print) calls this "an excellent run for beginners" and this is definitely not true due the hazards mentioned above.

 

Patrick Martin shared:

When it doubt; go river left!
The Barnett-to-Jett Bridge run on Clear Creek averages an 18ft/mile drop for 4 miles (as the kayaker paddles, not as the crow flies).
The run is safer with a good medium water height of 6.75’ to 8.75’at Lilly (3’- 5’ at Jett Bridge). Higher water eliminates scrapy places, covers most undercuts, and pushes you through the flat places. At flows greater than 4’ at the Jett gauge, expect large waves.
A little over a quarter mile after putting in at Barnett Bridge, the river makes a hard left turn into a wide “S” turn through some sentinel boulders. The local folk call this place Cook’s Hole [N 36o 7.288’, W 84o 47.330’]. At low levels this place is just a bit sticky. However, at high water levels the upstream rock forms a pourover and a whirlpool opens up. Rafts, canoes, and quite a few kayakers have been roped out after being sucked down (This one does not want to let go). The safe way to run this rapid at all levels is through the far river left chute, then move to the right below the hole. But once your probe establishes the safety of the area from downstream of the hole, he or she can indicate to the rest of the team the other lines that can open up to run (this phenomenon is totally water-level-dependant).
Another must-make maneuver is the left chute at “Old Mill Rapid” [N36o 7.374’, W84o 45.433’]. This is another far river left (narrow and 90o angled) “S” turn. Here the left chute drops you into a small non-sticky hole, where you peel out to the right. There are other routes that open up now and again, but many times these routes are full of strainers.
There are several undercut rocks on this trip, but one you should be aware of is located at N 36o 7.653’, W 84o 45.238’, about two miles before Jett Bridge. Upon approaching this area, the River narrows and turns to the left in a shallow chute that increases its velocity. The left shore has exposed flint and shale with an overhanging rhododendron and hemlock forest. As one comes out of this chute the river splits. A small stream goes left, and the main current goes river right. If you take the small stream to the left, you will avoid the undercut. If you do take the right passage, do it at high water levels. Above 5’ at the Jett Bridge gauge (8.75’ at Lilly) one will not have to experience the sickening pull on the bottom of the boat just before being sucked in. At lower levels, trip rocks (beginning in the middle of the passage) will take an unwary boater left and directly into this dark crevice.
An eighth of a mile later on river left you will encounter a landmark called “Grouper Rock”. It is not long after this that you will find yourself at Jett Bridge.
This is a remote area. There are no roads, railroads, or permanent signs of man between bridges. If you get into trouble, your team is your best way out. Experienced guides who know this river can help make it an exciting novice run. (Don’t leave home without one).
 

See the Chota Canoe club for info on this and other nearby streams.

 

 

Rapid Descriptions

Cook's Hole

Class - III Mile - 0.25
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Patrick Martin shared:

A little over a quarter mile after putting in at Barnett Bridge, the river makes a hard left turn into a wide “S” turn through some sentinel boulders. The local folk call this place Cook’s Hole. At low levels this place is just a bit sticky. However, at high water levels the upstream rock forms a pourover and a whirlpool opens up. Rafts, canoes, and quite a few kayakers have been roped out after being sucked down (This one does not want to let go). The safe way to run this rapid at all levels is through the far river left chute, then move to the right below the hole. But, once your probe, establishes the safety of the area from downstream of the hole, he or she can indicate to the rest of the team the other lines that can open up to run (this phenomenon is totally water-level-dependant).

Old Mill Rapid

Class - II Mile - 4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Patrick Martin shared:

Another must-make maneuver is the left chute at “Old Mill Rapid.” This is another far river left (narrow and 90o angled) “S” turn. Here the left chute drops you into a small non-sticky hole, where you peel out to the right. There are other routes that open up now and again, but many times these routes are full of strainers.

Undercut Rock

Class - Mile - 4.5

Patrick Martin shared:

There are several undercut rocks on this trip, but one you should be aware of is located at N 36o 7.653’, W 84o 45.238’, about two miles before Jett Bridge. Upon approaching this area, the River narrows and turns to the left in a shallow chute that increases its velocity. The left shore has exposed flint and shale with an overhanging rhododendron and hemlock forest. As one comes out of this chute the river splits. A small stream goes left, and the main current goes river right. If you take the small stream to the left, you will avoid the undercut. If you do take the right passage, do it at high water levels. Above 5’ at the Jett Bridge gauge (8.75’ at Lilly) one will not have to experience the sickening pull on the bottom of the boat just before being sucked in. At lower levels, trip rocks (beginning in the middle of the passage) will take an unwary boater left and directly into this dark crevice.

Note: we are not sure that the photo shown depicts this particular undercut. We're using it to give an idea of the typical hazard on this reach.

Comments

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Crisler Torrence
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2 years ago

3/18/17 1100 cfs, Paddlers were CT, Eli, G, Sam, James and Orlando. It was a great level for this section. Boys did well in their kayaks and Orlando styled the ducky. The undercuts described above must have been covered up.

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Simon Krzych
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4 years ago

4/13/15 350 cfs, barnett to jett, paddlers were G, Eli and CT; all in canoes. G stated that this was too low and slow to do again, new personal minimum for this section is 750+ cfs for canoes or 1000 for a raft. This section is not as exciting as Jett to Lilly.

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Simon Krzych
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6 years ago

7-11-13 Put in at Barnett bridge and took out at Lilly bridge. Water was running at 1,000 cfs. Perfect conditions for the canoes. Trip was 61/2 miles and it took us 41/2 hours. Sam and Tommy paddled the Mini Max on their own and did great. We had 2 canoes, 1 Mini Max and the Avon Ranger. Tommy fell out of Mini Max on the last rapid just before takeout while paddling with Sam, Murphy rescued him. Take out was a little tough for the large Avon.

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Simon Krzych
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6 years ago

Clear Creek (Barnett Bridge past Jett Bridge to Lilly Bridge) Notes are for a river level of 250 cfs on the usgs CLEAR CREEK AT LILLY BRIDGE NEAR LANCING, TN. - First rapid, start right moving left. - Second rapid, 2 parts; 1- right to center, 2- middle - Fourth rapid, run left avoid obvious undercut on left at bottom of rapid. - Left or right of Big rock, left of trees in run out. Swim rock on left after rapid *Pic. - Small rocks go middle over small pour over *Pic. - Start right move middle. - Wave train, middle to right (small hole on bottom left) *Pic. - Small rapid. - Long pool with down tree on river left. - Strainer rapid, left to middle is widest line, or right to middle is an option. *Pic. - 2 part rapid, 1-middle, left or middle (little scrappy over small hole). - Run left under low hanging Hemlock branches at bottom, the right channel is larger, both left and right are clear. - Tree at top of rapid, can go left or right *Pic. - Jett Bridge (check gauge on bottom of left piling) - Long easy wave train rapid with undercut on bottom right. - Left of center. - Left of center. - Left of center. - Big Rock, move from right to left in behind big rock to avoid little rocks. - Middle, then left to right, big undercut on bottom left. - Lilly rapid, go down the right, eddy out left after bridge. Need to carry back up river left to get to steps and river access.

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Simon Krzych
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6 years ago

Clear Creek, Barnett Bridge road (aka Frankfort-Deerlodge Road) to Genesis Road/TN 298 (Jett Bridge). Class 1-3 (Listed on AW as Clear Creek-2. Barnett to Jett) - Minimum flow is 150 cfs for canoes, 400 cfs for Avon Ranger on the Clear Creek to Lilly bridge near Lancing, TN. - Max flow is about 2,000 cfs on the Clear Creek at Lilly bridge near Lancing, TN. - Run is 4 river miles. - For detailed rapid list and description see Clear Creek notes.

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Brandon Hughett
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6 years ago

I took a beginner down today at around 550cfs. We worked for about an hour just below the put-in where a rock above a very large pool made a nice place to practice ferries, peel-outs and catching eddies. We then paddled to Jett. We had a great day and had a fun time on the river with no problems. I hate that comments on this page talk up the undercuts on this run like it's the Russell Fork because it is not. There are some undercuts on this river but so are undercuts on every river. With a good guide, this river is a perfect beginner run. I understand now why the paddle clubs bring their beginners here. It's a safe run with great opportunities to learn. It's far from being the death trap that some have posted.

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11 years ago

The strainer at the bottom of Quarry Rapid that was reported on New Year's Day 2008 is no longer a hazard. Recent high water has swung the tree against the river left bank and out of the current. Billy Bob

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patrick martin
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14 years ago

When it doubt; go river left!

The Barnett-to-Jett Bridge run on Clear Creek averages an 18ft/mile drop for 6.5 miles (as the kayaker paddles, not as the crow flies).

The minimum water level one can run on Clear Creek from Barnett-to-Jett without scraping plastic off your boat is ~ 5.75

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chris Hellmann
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15 years ago

There are 3 spots with nasty undercuts not discussed anywhere else. Our group had near-fatalities at 2 of these spots on 4/17/04. The first is 1/4 of the way down and very visible. The second is 2/3 of the way to Jett and not visible without scouting.At this location you will see an undercut boulder where most of the current bears right but what you cant see from the river is that after the first undercut the river takes a sharp left into another undercut boulder. Our paddler became trapped under this rock and completely underwater for at least 10 seconds. The third location is just upstream of Jett and also very visible. All these spots are easily avoidable for paddlers with basic boat control skills. However, I bring this to your attention because Monte Smith's Obed/Emory book(no longer in print) calls this "an excellent run for beginners" and this is definitely not true due the hazards mentioned above.

Gage Descriptions

Patrick Martin shared:

The minimum water level one can run on Clear Creek from Barnett-to-Jett without scraping plastic off your boat is ~ 5.75’ on the USGS gauge for Lilly, or 2’ on the paddlers gauge on Jett Bridge. At this level, there are a number of class I-II rapids, long flatwater paddles, and many technical moves suited for tweaking the whitewater techniques of the newer paddlers. There are dangers here (a few directional must-make moves, whirlpools, and undercuts that can ruin your day) so invite a guide on this run for your first few descents.

 

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports

Alerts

   

News

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Matt Muir

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Brandon Hughett

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191524 04/28/09 Matt Muir n/a
1201803 02/05/13 Brandon Hughett Verified mileage with National Park Service and by measuring on a map. Barnett to Jett is 4.0 miles.
1201850 02/09/13 Brandon Hughett