Hiwassee - 2. Appalachia Powerhouse to Bridge at Reliance

Hiwassee, Tennessee, US


2. Appalachia Powerhouse to Bridge at Reliance

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 5.8 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03566000 15.00 - 30.00 ft II 01h00m 12.58 ft (too low)

River Description

The Hiwassee River is designated as a Tennessee State Scenic River. The river is beautiful, clear and wide. As noted by William Nealey in his Whitewater Home Companion. Southeastern Rivers. Vol. 1, "this is an excellent river for family outtings, canoeing, tubing, rafting and beginning whitewater instruction."
This five mile plus section offers several playful Class II rapids, and with its width, the opportunity for many lines. For the most part, the best water is near river left and on the left channels around the islands.

In addition to the internet link for the TVA above, one may obtain the predicted release for the following day by calling the TVA flow number: 800-238-2264 (toll-free) then pressing 4, then 22, and then the # sign. If you call on a Friday (after 6pm) then you can obtain the release predictions for Saturday and Sunday.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-03-02 03:07:03


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.6Thread the NeedleIIPlayspot
2.1Mary Nell PointIIAccess Playspot Photo
2.5Stairstep RapidIIPlayspot Photo
3.1Little Rock IslandII+Playspot
4.0Funnel RapidII+Playspot Photo
4.6Devil's ShoalsII+Playspot Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Thread the Needle (Class II, Mile 1.6)
Soon after the mouth of Towee Creek (on river right) the river descends over a short series of ledges, before being diveded by Cane Island. Work to the left, taking the left channel. This chute is in turn divided by a rock jumble. Go to the left or to the right.

Mary Nell Point (Class II, Mile 2.1)


Photo of Russ & Nathan from Canoe Ky surfing by Michael Martin

As the river works around Big Bend, it approaches a 3 foot drop, most prominent on river left--Mary Nell Point. On river right, before the drop is the Big Bend Parking area.

Stairstep Rapid (Class II, Mile 2.5)

Stairstep Rapid

Stairstep Rapid
Photo of Stairstep Rapid by Chuck Spornick taken 2004

A series of ledge drops that last well over a quarter mile -- one of the common lines is to start river right and work over to river left.

Little Rock Island (Class II+, Mile 3.1)
As you approach the island, take the river left channel -- this line involves a short series of Class 2+ ledge drops

Funnel Rapid (Class II+, Mile 4.0)

Funnel Rapid

Funnel Rapid
Photo by belmontguy taken 06/01/13

As the river bends to right, there are another series of shallow ledge drops. Soon the river is divided by Big Island. The most common line is to take the river right channel. The channel drops over a 2-3 foot ledge with three chutes. An excellent place to catch eddies and to suff.

Devil's Shoals (Class II+, Mile 4.6)

devil shoals fun

devil shoals fun
Photo of jackyb taken 08/15/10 @ 0 cfs

Continue down the left channel around Big Island. The channel widens and then begins to both drop over another series of ledges, as the channel constricts. The fast current and turbulent water form Devil's Shoals. As you work down the ledges, there are eddies that can be caught on the right. As you work down the rapid, a ledge appears on river left, work down the center of the channel for this last section.

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