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 00h54m 196 cfs (running)


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.




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
March 23 2017 (95 days ago)
Crisler (158104)
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.
April 17 2015 (801 days ago)
simonkrzych (155765)
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.
September 27 2013 (1369 days ago)
simonkrzych (155765)
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.
September 27 2013 (1369 days ago)
simonkrzych (155765)
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.
September 17 2013 (1379 days ago)
simonkrzych (155765)
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.
March 31 2013 (1549 days ago)
kdylanthomas (155253)
just FYI, there's a pretty big strainer about a mile before the Jett takeout in a place where the
river narrows. Easy portage on river left. A couple members of our group paddled past, but many got
hung up in the strainer and needed help. Easy to see ahead of time, just use discretion, especially
with beginners!
February 4 2013 (1603 days ago)
Brandon HughettDetails
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.
March 16 2008 (3389 days ago)
x (1)
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
January 1 2008 (3465 days ago)
x (1)
As of 12/31/07 there was a very bad river-wide strainer, a big pine tree, at the bottom of one of
the lower rapids (don't know the name of it). It's not obvious from the top of the rapid, though it
is visible if you're looking for it--not on the blind side of a bend or anything like that. At low
to medium levels it might be possible for small, flexible paddlers to limbo under the extreme river
-left side, but don't count on it. This thing is a potential killer, so be especially careful in
the latter half of this run. Andy Messer
December 22 2004 (4569 days ago)
patrick martinDetails
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' 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 flat water 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.

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 scrappy 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 pour-over 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 (i.e. guide), 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 dependent).

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).

Patrick Martin (ETWC)
325 Skyline View LN
Kingston TN, 37763
April 19 2004 (4816 days ago)
chris HellmannDetails
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.


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