Clear Creek - 4. Lilly to Nemo

Clear Creek, Tennessee, US


4. Lilly to Nemo (Clear Creek Gorge)

Usual Difficulty II-IV (for normal flows)
Length 7.5 Miles
Max Gradient 53 fpm

Clear Creek

Clear Creek
Photo by Tom O'Keefe taken 03/05/04 @ 370 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03539778 180 - 2000 cfs II-IV 01h08m 537 cfs (running)

River Description

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.

See Obed River (Obed Junction to Nemo).

For more great photos of Clear Creek see (


Here's the official Obed Wild & Scenic River Map with all the putins and takeouts.



For more information please click on the link below:

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-09-27 14:34:43

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Drainage area: ~171 sq.mi.N/APutin Photo
0.3Jacks Rock FallsIIIWaterfall Photo Video
0.5Camel RockIIIHazard
0.6Wooten's FollyIII+Photo Video
0.8Rock JumbleIII
1.2Focus FallsIII
1.6Obed River confluenceN/A
2.1Canoe HoleIIIPlayspot
3.1Keep RightIII
3.5Widow MakerIII
5.9Emory River confluenceN/A
6.8Nemo bridge - Take-outN/A

Rapid Descriptions

Drainage area: ~171 sq.mi. (Class N/A)

Clear Creek

Clear Creek
Photo of Clear Creek Access by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 03/05/04 @ 370 cfs

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.

Jacks Rock Falls (Class III, Mile 0.3)
Click Here For Video

Jack's Rocks Falls

Jack's Rocks Falls
Photo of James Locke by John Campbell taken 03/15/04 @ 2 ft at Jett Bridge

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.

Camel Rock (Class III, Mile 0.5)

Run the Camel far river-right. The middle should be avoided because of a nasty undercut called the Camel's Hump.

Wooten's Folly (Class III+, Mile 0.6)
Click Here For Video

James & Gordon at Whooten's Folley

James & Gordon at Whooten's Folley
Photo of James Locke & Gordon Abney by John Campbell taken 03/15/04 @ 2 ft at Jett Bridge

Rock Jumble (Class III, Mile 0.8)

The longest stretch of rapids, this long stretch of rocky rapids runs nearly a half-mile.

Obed River confluence (Class N/A, Mile 1.6)

At the confluence (as Clear Creek merges into the Obed) flow typically triples in volume.

Widow Maker (Class III, Mile 3.5)

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?

Emory River confluence (Class N/A, Mile 5.9)

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.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
March 24 2017 (629 days ago)
Caesar OngDetails
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.
March 20 2017 (632 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
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.
December 7 2014 (1467 days ago)
Nhinckley (156905)
Here's a video: Nathan Hinckley 865-216-1820
September 17 2013 (1913 days ago)
simonkrzych (155765)
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.
February 27 2006 (4671 days ago)
Matt BrownDetails
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!
March 2 2005 (5033 days ago)
James LockeDetails
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
December 6 2004 (5119 days ago)
Brad JenkinsDetails
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.
November 28 2004 (5127 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
"Wooten's Folley' was named for Dick Wooten, a TSRA member / Explorer post leader who canoed
all over the SE w/o using flotation.

No 'h'
November 17 2003 (5504 days ago)
Kirk EddlemonDetails
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.

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Or, consider donating