Big Fiery Gizzard Creek - Tracy City section

Big Fiery Gizzard Creek, Tennessee, US


Tracy City section

Usual Difficulty III-V (for normal flows)
Length 12 Miles

Van running monkey

Van running monkey
Photo of Van Nall by Doug Earthman taken 07/03/04 @ running

River Description

Local expert (Ron Stewart, Box 1337, Chattanooga, TN 37401)

Lat/longitude coordinates given are for a ~12-mile section from above Tracy City to the road near the Little Gizzard confluence, but you won't paddle 12 miles. This is a paddle down, then hike-out run. As others have noted, the run suffers from pollution of sewage material, and there is a warning at Hwy. 41 with that message. At low water, the creek is almost clear, but at high-water, it pulls a great deal of sediment and, apparently, sewage-laced runoff.

Here's what Chris Guptill said back in 2002, and I think it's still a good description:
Here's a little info about some of Fiery Gizzard's rapids in a .75-1 mile stretch right near Tracy City.
The put-in is at the park off 41, with a hike down to the creek of about a half mile or so. The put-in is a short seal launch, with some class II stuff near the beginning. There is rumored to be a nice waterfall upstream, but may have wood blocking it.
Most of the creek is short-drop class II-III, with two larger drops. The first is a 10-12-foot vertical about halfway down. It's a fairly easy drop, but should be run off the highest point on river right. The landing zone on the left looks to have a lot of rocks just beneath the surface, and the hole there is much more powerful. The right side is better anyway, because the rock shelf form a nice launch pad. Still, it's best to scout this one. Take out on river right a little ways up from the drop and hike over the bridge and down beside the pool for a good look.
You'll continue down a little further through some more II-III stuff, until you hit a nice slide on river left. It's a little drop onto a slide, with no good place to pull out and scout, but as long as you stay straight, you can get through without much problem.
Continue down a ways further, and look for the confluence of another decent-sized creek. IMMEDIATELY after the confluence catch the eddy on river left, because a class V is about ten feet downstream. We (at the University of the South) like to call this "Monkey" due to its similarity to Gorilla on the Green. As of Easter 2002, Monkey was blocked (at both top and bottom) by logs and a strainer, respectively. Thus, I've never run it, but there is a nasty undercut at the bottom.
That's about the end of the run. About a mile further down there's another largish drop, but the water between Monkey and that is pretty flat, and the hike out doesn't make it worth it, really.
The nice part about this run is no shuttle, but you will have to hike along the Fiery Gizzard trail to get back to the parking area.



For more information please click on the link below:

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-09-27 14:22:31


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Warm-Up BoogieIIIPhoto
0.5Blue Hole fallsIVWaterfall Photo
0.8The MonkeyIV+Waterfall Photo
1.0Sycamore FallsIVWaterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Warm-Up Boogie (Class III)

Fiery Gizzard Put-In Rapids

Fiery Gizzard Put-In Rapids
Photo by David Pointer taken 12/07/04 @ high

Small rapids in a narrow creek; watch for wood, of course. Boulder dodging mixed with small slides.

Blue Hole falls (Class IV, Mile 0.5)

Van running the 8 footer

Van running the 8 footer
Photo of Van Nall by James Tansey taken 07/03/04 @ running

Approximately 8 foot waterfall -- quite clean, punchbowl type falls

The Monkey (Class IV+, Mile 0.8)


Photo by David Pointer taken 12/07/04 @ high

Folding type water fall into a narrow canyon of black rocks. Small hole in lead-in, and ragged shelf at top. Left side wall is slightly undercut, but not as bad as presumed. Bedrock in landing area on right, keep nose up. Watch for strainers -- this thing collects wood like it's the Home Depot lumber aisle.

Sycamore Falls (Class IV, Mile 1.0)

james at the 14 foot

james at the 14 foot
Photo of James Tansey by Doug Earthman taken 07/03/04 @ running

Drop of approximately 9-14 foot, depending upon the person asked. Popular spot for swimmers in summer, but irregular shelf extends into pool just beyond lip, so get the nose up and get "out" away from the lip. Probably only hazardous if you go really slow and needle straight down. Most people take out below this one to hike back out.

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