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Difficulty II
Length 5.8 Miles
Gauge HIWASSEE RIVER AT CHARLESTON, TN
Flow Range 15.00 - 30.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 year ago 17.88 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 03/02/2015 3:07 am

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.



Rapid Descriptions

Thread the Needle

Class - II Mile - 1.6
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
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
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
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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
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

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

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.

Comments

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Jonathan Ryan
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5 years ago

Notes: Do not confuse the Applachia Dam with the Applachia Powerhouse. The Powerhouse is 8.8 miles downstream from the dam. It gets its water from the dam via a tunnel. (Hiwassee dam is completely different from either of these.) The dam may release water into the river at very high lake levels, but it does not generate power, and has no scheduled releases. The Powerhouse is about 1/2 mile above the put in, and is where all the water for paddling from the Powerhouse put-in to Reliance comes from. (Unless the dam is spilling water.) The USGS river gauge on the Hiwassee is at Charleston, below the confluence of the Hiwassee and the Ocoee Rivers, so it cannot be used as a reliable indicator of water levels for either river, especially since both are dam controlled. The link to TVA Applachia Powerhouse is: http://www.tva.gov/lakes/aph_r.htm TVA has a smartphone app that makes it very easy to check all its dam releases.

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n/a
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7 years ago

Thanks guys, I just about lost it looknig for this.

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n/a
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7 years ago

No complaints on this end, smlipy a good piece.

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Matthew Oliver
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7 years ago

Will be there tomorrow! Gets easier every time.

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Jamie Higgins
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8 years ago

Here's a video tour of the Hiwassee I did with the Georgia Canoeing Association on Memorial Day Weekend 2010....check it out. It shows all the major rapids... http://www.vimeo.com/15007826

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Robert Henry
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9 years ago

On Saturday (09-05-09), we went down the Hiwassee. The log jam was gone.

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Kevin
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10 years ago

Hiwassee Outfitters is at the typical takeout for this section. They should know all the details you would want. http://www.hiwasseeoutfitters.com/

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n/a
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10 years ago

I have run the section from Reliance down to Gee Creek. We were camping there, so that is where we took out, I know there is a picnic area on river left before that, but it is only about another hour from Reliance to Gee Creek. There is one class II right where the TVA lines cross the Hiwassee. That is all I recall, I am sure the overall current was nice, but the whitewater section ends at Reliance as far as I know.

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10 years ago

Not really a comment, but a question. If you run past the bridge at Reliance to add on some miles, what is the river like and what is the next take out point?

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Alex Cauthen
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10 years ago

I ran the hiwassee this past labour day. I couldn't tell if the water was up or not because some rapids seemed bigger and others seemed smaller. Anywho is was a fun run and I defiantely recommend it, especially for beginners. This is the river TSRA uses for their annual kayak and canoe school.

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Michael Smith
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11 years ago

Ran this river on Nov 10th with just 1 GENERATOR, it was completely worth it and quite fun. The flat sections are a little scrapy but there are some new playspots that show up at low water and devil shoals has a change to it. Make sure the 1 generator releases for at least 2 hours, 3 is better. We out ran the water and had to wait for it to catch up to us, so pay attention to the level and enjoy.

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Robert Butera
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13 years ago

Shuttle Route.

From the Texaco station on TN 30. Turn right out of the station and take an immediate right onto the bridge over the river. Take the first right turn after the bridge (Childress Creek Road, sign for Roses' restaurant). Drive a few miles until you see a road off to your right - the two businesses with signs are "Reliance Fly and Tackle" and the "Ocoee Outdoors Hiwassee Outpost." Take a right here on the road between these two businesses. Keep on driving - you will pass a few USFS parking areas, including the Towee Boating Site. You could put in here, but you'll miss half the ride. When you reach the Powerhouse Boating Site, you've found the putin.

I don't know what kind of shuttle deal Hiwassee Outfitters runs. Webb Brothers (operates out of the Texaco) charges $5 for a shuttle with kayak, $3 for just a person w/o a kayak. The shuttle ride is short enough to drop off your boats at the putin, drive back, and take the shuttle back up. Or just do that yourself.

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BradR
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13 years ago

A two unit release equals about 1200 cfs.

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michael martin
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13 years ago

We went down in Mid June, the water was cold, but not unbareable. Hiwassee Outfitters really took care of us. The stretch we ran was a little over 6 miles. It had some nice, solid class II rapids and several great surfing spots. Expect to paddle some flat water between the rapids. The Hiwassee is pretty wide, we found the best rapids center or river left. We found a few holes, nothing that wouldn't spit you out and if you like to play in holes, you will have fun with them.

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BradR
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16 years ago

Added a new gauge. Its about 10 miles or more down from the takeout. We'll give it a try and see if we should keep it or not.

Gage Descriptions

The Hiwassee is only runnable with either a release or in the aftermath of a heavy rain. For the release schedule, please check the TVA Appalachia Dam release schedule

Flow levels are usually refered to as "units" releasing from the dam. A "1 Unit" release could be considered minimum (depending upon your tolerance for scraping on rocks) with "2 Units" as the normal release for recreational whitewater. (See below for more info)

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2001-08-12 Medium Fatality Inexperience Read More
1999-10-17 Medium Fatality One Boat Trip Read More
1993-08-08 Medium Near Miss/Rescue Other Read More

Alerts

   

News

article main photo

TVA to Undertake Integrated Resource Plan - Comments Needed

7/20/2009
Kevin Colburn

TVA is gathering information from stakeholders on how to meet the needs of the Tennessee Valley and its residents for energy, environment, natural resource management and recreation.  As users of public lands and waters, please tell TVA what you think. Please submit your comments by August 14, 2009.

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Charles Spornick

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Craig Irwin

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191545 12/26/05 Charles Spornick n/a
1197991 08/01/10 Charles Spornick Revised put-in
1204243 03/02/15 Craig Irwin 201502