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Difficulty II-III
Length 7 Miles
Flow Range 2.80 - 6.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 16 minutes ago 1.65 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 03/30/2008 8:49 pm

River Description

Photo of Keith Clark pinned above the Sinks, courtesy of Julie Keller (

Rapid Descriptions


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Judith Ranelli
9 years ago

At 3.6 on the gauge I would rank this as III not II-III. It has several rapids equivalent to Lesser Wesser on the Nantahala.

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matthew blane carl hagan
11 years ago

ran this section at 3.04 ft on townsend gauge. very fun narrow creek with nonstop class 2-3 rapids and lots of playspots. didnt see any other paddlers, several fisherman and tourists however. couple of nice 3-4 ft ledges, and some class 3 rapids near the end. strainers are pretty common, and below the 2nd bridge was a mandatory not-very easy portage due to a riverwide strainer. matt hagan louisville ky oc-1

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Charles and Nancy Brabec
14 years ago

Why don't you replace the Maryville gauge information with the data and link for the Townsend gauge? The Townsend gauge is a lot closer and it appears that there is enough information about it to make the levels more accurate.

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Brad Jenkins
15 years ago

this section really should be re-ranked 2/4. The section right under the bridge has 3 nice rapids very close to each and with enough water easily make up a class 4 rapid.

Gage Descriptions

A link to the above Townsend guage is much better, and can be found at:
For Elmont to be running look for levels of at least 2.8 feet and rising. A better visual guage is located at Elkmont Campground at the put-in bridge. Bottom of footing - Good
6" above - Great
1-2' - Big Water fun

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  
2013-03-11 Low Fatality Other Read More




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Little River Foot Entrapment: March 11, 2013

Charlie Walbridge

The Little River near Townsend, Tennessee is one of the nicest class III-IV roadside runs in Smokey Mountain National Park. On March 11th an open canoeist flipped in the first drop of "the Meanies" just above The Sinks and washed downstream over a 6' ledge. He was swimming on his back, feet first, lined up with the current when he washed into the backwash and did not reappear. The water "planted" him vertically in rocks below the drop, catching his foot. Many paddlers who were on the river that day participated in the rescue, eventially using a complex live bait system to pull the man free. Click through for a detailed account of what happened.


James Locke


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191550 03/30/08 James Locke n/a