Clear Creek, Tennessee, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-IV (for normal flows)|
|Max Gradient||53 fpm|
|CLEAR CREEK AT LILLY BRIDGE NEAR LANCING, TN|
|usgs-03539778||180 - 2000 cfs||II-IV||00h30m||155 cfs (too low)|
Logistics: The take-out for Clear Creek is actually on the Emory River at the old Nemo Bridge. From the town of Wartburg (willl find a National Park visitor center here), follow the signs to the Nemo Access from Old Highway 27 and head out the southwest corner of town and continue 6.0 miles down to the river. Ample parking and a nice day-use area with changing area and picnic tables can be found upstream river left of the old Nemo Bridge. This is a great meeting point and place to hangout after your run. To reach the put-in, head back up to Old Highway 27 and go west 1.9 miles and turn up onto Highway 27 and after 3.3 miles turn left onto Highway 62. Follow this road 9.1 miles to the turn for Lilly Access (marked by a sign). The road to this access winds 3.3 miles down to the river. You will find parking downstream river left of the bridge.
Description: The Clear Creek Canyon from Lilly Bridge to the Obed River confluence is only 1.5 miles but the run continues on the Obed and then the Emory River for a full 7.5 mile run. At moderate flows this is a good intermediate run for those who also appreciate the scenery of the undeveloped river canyon. The pools between rapids are a little long in places, but there are several good class III rapids. Just be aware of the undercuts as there are a couple bad ones on this run.
Downstream of Lilly Bridge, the river flows through Jacks Rock, Camel Rock, Wootens Folly, Rock Jumble, and Focus Falls. These are all pool drop class III rapids with long recovery sections in between.
Once you reach the Obed River confluence you will be on a medium volume river. Here you willl encounter four more class III rapids. the last two are Keep Right and Widowmaker. You will find some fun surfing waves in this section.
For more great photos of Clear Creek see (www.JulieKeller.com.
Here's the official Obed Wild & Scenic River Map with all the putins and takeouts.
For more information please click on the link below:
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Drainage area: ~171 sq.mi.||N/A|
|0.3||Jacks Rock Falls||III|
|1.6||Obed River confluence||N/A|
|5.9||Emory River confluence||N/A|
|6.8||Nemo bridge - Take-out||N/A|
At the listed put-in drainage area is ~171 square miles (as calculated by USGS StreamStats 4.2.0 software).
After 1.6 miles, at the confluence with the Obed, the combined drainage becomes ~514 square miles (meaning likely very nearly three-times the flow).
After 4.3 miles (total of 5.9 miles), at the confluence with the Emory, drainage becomes ~613 square miles for the final mile to the listed take-out.
Easy class III drop of about 8 feet. First five feet drop down a slide then 3-4 ft drop into a hole (easily punched through). This rapid has a conjested approach making boat scouting difficult.
Run the Camel far river-right. The middle should be avoided because of a nasty undercut called the Camel's Hump.
The longest stretch of rapids, this long stretch of rocky rapids runs nearly a half-mile.
At the confluence (as Clear Creek merges into the Obed) flow typically triples in volume.
The location marked on various maps emphatically does not appear to be the site of anything which merits a class III rating (much less to be named "Widow Maker"!!!) based on satellite views. Can anyone give us accurate coordinates for this rapids? Or do the satelite views not accurately reveal the nastiness?
The Obed ceases to exist as it merges with the (MUCH SMALLER!!!) Emery River for the final ~mile of your run. A few (very minor) rapids populate the first half, then flatwater to the take-out.