Nolichucky - Nolichucky Gorge Campground to Jackson Love Bridge

Nolichucky, Tennessee, US


Nolichucky Gorge Campground to Jackson Love Bridge (The Middle)

Usual Difficulty I-II(III) (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03465500 900 - 4500 cfs I-II(III) 00h54m 1870 cfs (running)

River Description

This is a great short stretch for novices with plenty of class II rapids. There is one rapid which could be considered a class III-; "Radio Tower" that occurs near the end of the run which can be scouted with some walking on river left or right by novice paddlers running it for the first time.

PUT-IN & TAKEOUT ACCESS: Access the put-in at either the Nolichucky Gorge Campground or about .75 mi downstream at the USFS Chestoa Recreation site (note: fee demo area). Do NOT park at the rafting companies, please check with the Campground about private boater parking. This has been a source of contention in the past due to the limited parking available for commercial rafting customers. Simply abide by the business's requests and there should be no problem. As for the takeout, most people park beneath the bridge w/ easy access on river right. Be aware that this area is adjacent to two houses, to my knowledge parking has never been an issue, but be mindful to not block access to their property by limiting the number of vehicles to as few as necessary.

For squirt boaters, the mystery spot known as Cowbell is located in a left hand bend in the river approximately 1/4 mi. from the rafting companies/campground put in.

****2004 Flood Update -- Hurricanes producing rains that caused back to back weekly flows of over 60,000cfs have radically altered the nature of Cowbell. Downtime is still possible but unfortunately it is nowhere near the premier quality squirt spot it was prior to September 2004.****

Cowbell is fun at any level for beginners and intermediates. It's a great place for novices to practice ferries, eddying, swiftwater combat rolls, and some play moves on the strong eddie lines. The water is deep and the runout is long making recovery of a swimmer's gear pretty easy so let it all hang out!

At higher flows (3000 cfs on up), the stretch just above the bridge at Chestoa has many fun waves/holes that must be caught on the fly.

"Radio Wave" aka "Radio Tower" named for obvious reasons, washes out at higher flows. Otherwise, the line is pretty straightforward, line up just right or left of center for the main wave/drop at the end of a shallow shoal section. The main danger here is the shallowness of the entrance to the rapid. Excellent recovery eddy on river left after Radio Tower.

At flows above about 2700 cfs, a really fun, extremely fast, exploding wave develops just at the takeout at Jackson Love Bridge.
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2005-05-03 16:58:50


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 20 2009 (3369 days ago)
Justin BarstowDetails
This is a great canoeing run..a friend and I have paddled this a few times and had some moderate
luck with small mouths.
March 20 2009 (3553 days ago)
x (1)
good run for beginners nice place to learn some playboating moves!

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