Clear Creek - 2. Barnett Bridge to Jett Bridge


Clear Creek, Tennessee, US

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2. Barnett Bridge to Jett Bridge

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 18 fpm
Max Gradient 20 fpm

Barnett to Jett


Barnett to Jett
Photo of River by James Locke @ 6.0 ft internet

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
CLEAR CREEK AT LILLY BRIDGE NEAR LANCING, TN
usgs-03539778 180 - 2000 cfs I-III 00h42m 117 cfs (too low)


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.

 

 


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-02-09 04:18:25

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.3Cook's HoleIIIHazard
4.0Old Mill RapidII
4.5Undercut RockHazard Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Cook's Hole (Class III, Mile 0.3)

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 4.0)

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

under cut rock

under cut rock
Photo by Spalding Hurst taken 05/15/05 @ 150fs

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.




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