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 Jack's Rock, Camel Rock, Wooten's 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.
See Obed River (Obed Junction to Nemo).
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.
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. Slide five feet down a slide then 2-4 ft drop into a hole (easily punched). Boat scouting is difficult because you can't see much from the last eddy on the right.
Run the Camel far river-right. The middle should be avoided because of a nasty undercut called the Camel's Hump.
From 900 to 2000 there's a killer boof center left at the top.
The longest stretch of rapids, this long stretch of rocky rapids runs nearly a half-mile.
River steepens in a narrow channel then pours over a rock pile at the bottom. Eddies exist top right and middle left. Center left over the rock pile at the bottom is blind but goes.
At the confluence (as Clear Creek merges into the Obed) flow typically triples in volume.
Big long pool. If you don't paddle across it you might never get to the takeout.
Or if you prefer getting beat down in huge holes, go the other way at high water.
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?
Note added 3/1/19: I'm told by my father that Widowmaker rapid is named for a mine up on the slope, not for the nastiness of the rapid. I remember it as a long rapid on a left bend with big waves mainly at high water. Probably does not deserve the class III rating at medium or low flows, and may never deserve it with modern decked boats. In aluminum canoes it was a big deal. There used to be a camp on river right at the rapid. I ran this section just the other day and could not detect a rapid that resembled Widowmaker so perhaps it has washed out/changed.
The Obed ceases to exist as it merges with the (MUCH SMALLER!!!) Emory River for the final ~mile of your run. In mapping the straighter river keeps its name. A few (very minor) rapids populate the first half, then flatwater to the take-out.
Beach on left upstream from bridge.
Using the Oakdale gauge 1000 is low but doable, 3000 is plenty, a lot of the Clear Creek rapids start washing out.
Using the Lilly gauge, 200 is pretty low. If it gets over 1200 you will be running something else.
430 on the Lilly gauge is nice class III.
Clean run on 2/27/19. No wood to speak of. Easy intermediate run at med/low water.
Yellow OC spotted pinned under Camel Rock today (March 23rd) around 7pm. Pinned boat is not in the way. We didn't try extracting since we were running short on daylight. Hope owner is fine.
There is a hike out option for emergencies or 'with permission' short day runs called ''Canoe Hole'' which is park service road / property BUT the road is impassable except by 4wheelers and the road goes through a farm and the last parking is someone's front yard. We asked Mr. Hardwick and his dog Bear for permission to park outside his house at the end of Hardwick road and it was granted. This gave us a 1 mile shuttle to Lilly Bridge, a paddling trip to rocky beach at the end of a long pool 2 rapids below the confluence and a steep / rocky 30 minute hike up to our cars.
If you use this option, be respectful and remember this is the Bible Belt! Do not change clothes in his front yard (there is no where else to do it - so we drove shuttle in fleece) don't let your dog out to chase cattle, drink beer, drop cigarette butts or gas receipts etc. He asked that we stay on the road around his field rather than cut through - which seemed obvious but might have been an issue in the past. We looked for trash to pick up for him and there was NONE.
Here's a video:
Lower Clear Creek into the Emory Class 2-4 (listed on AW as Clear Creek - 4. Lilly to Nemo).
- Minimum flow is 200 cfs for canoes, 600 cfs for Avon Ranger on Clear Creek at Lilly bridge near Lancing, TN.
- Max flow is about 2,000 cfs.
- Run is 7.5 river miles.
- 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 will encounter four more class III rapids. The last two are keep right and widow maker. You can find some good surfing waves in this section.
We (Christy Johnson, Owen Simcoe, and I) paddled Clear Creek/Obed from Jett to Nemo yesterday, and was it ever cold! No more than 45 degrees in the broad sunshine, and more like 40 most of the time in the shade. A comment about Jack's Rock Falls: don't run the left side of the rapid! It looks boat-scoutable, but what looks like a cute little slide from the top is actually a hole that munched Owen and me before we figured out that you really don't want to run that line. From the top left eddy, you want to ferry across to river right, above the rock that protrudes from the top of the drop, in order to get lined up for the cute little slide. I don't mean to imply that the rapid is super tough, or that the move is hard at all; it's just more fun to know the right (right) line, so I hope some future rookie on Clear Creek will read this and avoid the left (wrong) line. We found Wooten's Folly to be anticlimactic after the adventure at Jack's; it just seemed like a fun class 3 drop, not the scary monster we were preparing ourselves for, because you can see the line more easily than you can at Jack's. Overall, a very fun run; too bad you can't eliminate some of the flatwater after the Obed confluence. There was one big wavetrain, though, that reminded us of Double Trouble on the Ocoee -- nice big rollercoaster waves with absolutely nothing else to worry about. I can't wait to run this stretch again when it's warmer!
I will try & get this page looking better soon. I brought my camera last trip, but battery died b/c I left in cold car so no pics! Anyway, thanks to Billy Bob Scarborough we now have GPS Locations for
Jacks Rock: N36 05.969', W 84 42.803'The location is on the river left bank just upstream to entrance of rapid.
Wooten's Folley: N36 05.846' W84 42.550 The location on this one is also on river left, at the start of the trail to the rock on the river left bank above the 2nd drop & right below Wooten's Folley slot
this one starts off great, however once you get on the Obed the run has very long sections of flatwater with few rapids being more then just wave-trains. I never saw a class 4 rapid on this section, Widowmaker??? where, the big 3 in Clear Creek Gorge where much better. Water level was around 550.
"Wooten's Folley' was named for Dick Wooten, a TSRA member / Explorer post leader who canoed all over the SE w/o using flotation.
At 10,000 cfs at Lilly Bridge, this run is among the most exciting around. There will be 20 foot waves at wootens folly. No death holes, but no eddies either. Don't swim. Your voice will be hoarse from screaming.
Gage: also see 03540500 Emory R at Oakdale, Low -
800; high 6000Suitable for canoes, kayaks,
rafts at higher flows
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Ed Ragsdale in Jack's Rock
Trey Barrow on Clear Creek
Tandem Canoe in Jacks Rock
9-27-09 Clear Creek
91909 Lily/Clear Creek
OC-1 on Jack's Rock
Jim Wei at Jacks Rock.
Clear Creek Canyon vista
Allen at Jack's Rock falls
James & Gordon at Whooten's Folley
Jack's Rocks Falls
Billy Bob Scarborough at Whooten's Folley
Clear Creek Fun
Tara at Clear Creek
Entrance to Wooten's Folly
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