Hiwassee - 1. Turtletown Creek to Appalachia Powerhouse

Hiwassee, Tennessee, US


1. Turtletown Creek to Appalachia Powerhouse (Dries)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 5.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 32 fpm
Max Gradient 70 fpm

First Rapid, Drys

First Rapid, Drys
Photo of Brad Roberts by Kevin Miller taken 05/17/03 @ 1000+ cfs

River Description

From the Hwy 68 access, the first three and a half miles are extremely overgrown with trees and vines. Its all flatwater. At high flows this area could be lethal and is the textbook definition of a strainer. DO NOT PUT IN AT THE HWY 68 BRIDGE. I REPEAT DO NOT PUT IN AT THE HWY 68 BRIDGE OR THE DAM. ALL YOU WILL GET ARE MILES OF STRAINERS TILL THE NEXT ACCESS POINT.

After the Turtletown Creek confluence there are still some trees in the river but nothing that obscures boating. The river opens up at this point.

There is an alternate and probably preferred put in almost at the Turtletown Creek confluence. (Remember DO NOT PUT IN AT THE HWY 68 BRIDGE.)

So lets say it loudly, there is no good reason to boat the stretch of the Hiawassee between Apalachia Dam and Turtletown Creek. There are no rapids. You will be boating 3.5 miles thru a forest of trees, vines, strainers and rootballs. Use the Turtletown Creek access. Its also a much shorter shuttle.
From Turtletown Creek to the Apalachia Powerhouse is 5.7 miles at an average of 40 fpm. Using the Turtletown put-in makes for an 8.5 mile shuttle, all on dirt roads. Putting in at the Hwy 68 bridge is a 9.2 mile run with a 17 mile shuttle to the Apalachia Powerhouse, 11 of those miles on dirt roads. Be aware the roads can get rather muddy after a lot of rain.

When we ran the Hiwassee in May of 2003 we were able to take out on river left at the appalachia powerhouse. There was a small parking area for hikers and fishermen. Reports from Feb. 2004 say that TVA does not allow parking any more at the powerhouse.

Approximately one mile from Turtletown creek marks the start of the rapids. The river begins with a class IV or III series of ledges and shoals. The difficulty of the rapids is partially the choice of the boater.

More fun rapids follow downstream. The recovery pools are quite large between almost all of the drops.

The stretch marked on the topo maps as the narrows has some suprisingly boily funny water.

Recent flow example

05/13/03 1275.90 2559 6622 4063 t
05/14/03 1276.71 2552 6604 4052 w
05/15/03 1276.62 2560 6477 3917 t
05/16/03 1277.14 2555 5153 2598 f
05/17/03 1277.69 2536 3542 1006 s
05/18/03 1277.16 2529 3534 1005 s
05/19/03 1279.04 2525 3007 482 m

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-11-04 22:12:08

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-3.4Don't put in at Hwy 68N/AHazard Photo
0.0Turtletown CreekN/APutin
1.0Hollywood Bowl (First Rapid)III+Waterfall Playspot Photo
1.0Hollywood BowlN/AHazard Playspot Photo
1.5Wu (Second Rapid )III+Hazard Playspot Photo
2.8Long Wave TrainII+Playspot Photo
3.5The NarrowsIII+

Rapid Descriptions

Don't put in at Hwy 68 (Class N/A, Mile -3.4)

Hiawassee Dries - Trees

Hiawassee Dries - Trees
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller taken 05/17/03

This goes on and on and on for about 3 miles.

Turtletown Creek (Class N/A)

The better access point.

Hollywood Bowl (First Rapid) (Class III+, Mile 1.0)

Eric Paysen on Hiawassee Dries

Eric Paysen on Hiawassee Dries
Photo of Eric Paysen by Kevin Miller taken 05/17/03

A multi ledge rapid with any number of routes. The picture shows the bottom half of the rapid. There is a similar sized ledge in the background. After running this ledge, there is a fast run out thru a couple of holes.

Hollywood Bowl (Class N/A, Mile 1.0)

Will Reeves on Hiawassee Dries

Will Reeves on Hiawassee Dries
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller taken 05/17/03

This rapid is rather long with several pools and ledges.

Wu (Second Rapid ) (Class III+, Mile 1.5)

2nd Rapid on the Drys

2nd Rapid on the Drys
Photo of Eric Paysen by Kevin Miller taken 05/17/03 @ 1000+ cfs

A long western style wave train with some hidden holes. At the bottom was a 10 foot tall boulder. At this level the guys coming down in the back of the pack were able to boof off the rock. Those of us who probed it were afraid it was going to make a huge hole. With a bit more water this rock would make a huge riverwide hole.

Long Wave Train (Class II+, Mile 2.8)

Wave train on the drys

Wave train on the drys
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller taken 05/17/03 @ 1000+ cfs

Long cool wavetrain rapid. Big waves. Lots of surfing.

The Narrows (Class III+, Mile 3.5)

The narrows starts by punching a large hole. This is more interesting because both walls appeared to be undercut. Then you have a half mile of cliffed out swirly boiling water. Expect the unexpected. This water tried to stern squirt a Prijon Tornado a couple of times. Or just see the classic Neely cartoon of funny water.

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