New River, Tennessee, US
US 27 Bridge to Clear Fork River (New River Gorge above Big South Fork)
||II-III (for normal flows)
Five miles of flatwater then 4 miles of II-III
at the U.S. Hwy 27 bridge between Onieda, TN & Wartburg, TN or more specifically
between Robins, TN & Helenwood, TN (there is an access road on river right just past the bridge
that takes you under the bridge to a concrete put in ramp with lots of parking)
The take out is the same as the Put In for the Big South Fork if you are running
from the confluence down. From the put in travel north on US Hwy 27 for about 5-6 miles & turn left
at the Subway onto Niggs Creek Rd. Cross the RR tracts & take your immediate left onto Detour Rd.
aka Helenwood Detour Rd. Go about a 1 mile & turn right onto Airport Rd. Take the left split at the
Airport onto John Long Rd. The airport will be on your right and the road will be gravel as you go
into the gorge. You will also pass a cemetery on the way. Eventually the road will end at the
parking lot. (Taking out at the confluence requires carrying your boat uphill about a 1/4 mile)
8.9 Miles (US Hwy 27 to Confluence with Clear Fork)
This run gets overlooked due to the fact the the first five miles are flatwater
and the water quality is suspect. However people are overlooking the bottom 4 miles which have
about 12 Class II and 2-4 Class III. The first five miles are completely flat and are barely broken
up by a few class I shoals. Finally, rock banks instead of mud banks and obvious gradient signals
the start of the whitewater section. A few class II's lead to an obvious horizon line and the first
Class III. This rapid is a 2-3 foot ledge on the left 2/3's that has pin rocks all over the landing
zone and a spiral hole at one point that feeds an undercut. The middle has a pourover boof move and
the right is a large shoal. Scout this rapid as it has undercuts & pin rocks on the leftside(see
photo). Several more Class II's takes you to the 2nd Class III, WaBash Cannonball, the biggest
rapid on this section. This rapid constricts the 70 foot wide river to about 30 feet causing a
flume that gets pretty pushy. 1/2 way down the rapid is a large wave/hole that must be punched
followed by another ledge just before several megaboulder pillow rocks to dodge.(see photo) This
rapid marks the start of the last two miles which is where most of the gradient is lost.
Immediately below is a Class II surfing ledge followed by another Class II + ledge. This ledge is
marked by a huge pile (20-30 feet tall) of small boulders on river left that chokes the channel.
The rapid has a tree blocking 3/4 of the ledge from river left.(see photo) There are a handful of
more Class II's down to the take out at the confluence with the Clear Fork.
If you look at a topo map it looks like the last 2 miles could be accessed from John Long Rd. a 1/4
mile through the woods from the cemetery. Never tried it, but it would shorten the shuttle to a
mile & would cut out the flat water.
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2005-08-08 13:39:05