This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V
Length 12 Miles
Gauge North Chickamauga Creek at Mile Straight
Flow Range 5.00 - 20.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 2.5 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 03/19/2008 7:52 pm

River Description


There are a couple of put-in options for North Chick. The easiest run of these is to put-in on North Chick. The second option would be to put-in on Cain Creek. Putting in on Cain Creek adds quite a bit of Class 4 and 5 whitewater but eliminates a waterfall on the Chick side. For the hardcore there is the option of putting in on Cooper Creek, but be warned that if Cooper is running you're gonna be in for a high water adventure on Chick.


Finding the put-in on either side is a bit of an adventure. Its best to go with someone who knows the trail system. For both the Chick and the Cain Creek sides you're going to be in for a least a 30 minute walk to the river. Its worth it.

Put-In Directions:
From Ted Hayes
Heres the beta.
Old 27 S (Dayton Pike)
Left @ Falling Water
Go up Roberts Mill
Bear Left @ Sawyer
Right @ Corral
Right @ Grey Frier
Dead end Street.
* No Public Parking *
Ask permission to park, locals were boater friendly. Follow the drainage ditch off to the left, it goes straight to the creek.

From Terry Smith 2004-01-10 14:09:00
When the North Chick Gauge is at 2.8 you can put in at Hixson Springs Creek along the powerline in the state natural area and paddle down to North Chick. This will put you in right above Mystery Falls. The hike to Hixson Springs Creek is about 30 min. Park at the new parking area for the natural area on Hixson Springs Road. At levels below 2.8 you will probably have to walk down the creek bed to North Chick but it is not far. This access keeps you off private land and allows you to cut out the flat water.

Major drops include Mystery Falls, North Chick Falls, Cyclops, Diana's Ledge, V-Slot, and the Bowling Alley.

North Chickamauga Creek could most easily be compared to the Upper Yock. Its just three times longer, and has some much larger vertical drops.

The take-out is in the Bowater Pocket Wilderness area off of Montlake Road. For detailed directions to the put-in check with Rock/Creek Down Under in Chattanooga. Rock/Creek is the outfitting shop for local creekers.

A note on the maps
As of this writing (Sept 2001) the topozone maps are not working in the 1:100,000 size. When you call up the page it will be black. Not to worry, just click on 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 and the maps work fine.

North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy.

 

For further information visit:  www.waldensridgewhitewater.com




NOTE: NONE OF THESE DISTANCES ARE ACCURATE. IT'S A LONG RUN AND I'M TOO LAZY TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHERE THEY ARE ON THE TOPO.

Rapid Descriptions

Welcome Center

Class - IV Mile - 2.8
First real rapid on North Chick. It starts to get fun around here.

After Welcome Center

Class - IV Mile - 2.9

Mystery Falls

Class - IV+ Mile - 3
Mystery Falls is one of the biggest vertical drops on North Chick. Go for the big air boof or power left onto the ramp for a double drop. Fun rapid. Jim Strickland hits a great boof here on the direct line. Scout on the right.

Rapid after Mystery Falls

Class - IV+ Mile - 3.5
Nice little rapid follows immediately after Mystery Falls. Note nasty but avoidable sieve on river right. Here's Frazier making it look simple. Take a peek on river left if necessary.

Cain Creek

Class - Mile - 4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
There are some more smaller rapids until Cain Creek enters on the left. Between Cain Creek and Chick Falls are some Upper Ocoee-style boogie Class III-IV rapids.

North Chick Falls

Class - 5.0 Mile - 6
The signature rapid on the run is North Chick Falls. It is noticable by a large island splitting the river. You can run far river right around the island for a creeky line and a cool slide, or run left of the island to set up for Chick Falls. You can also carry up to the Falls from the creek line and run both. Here is Nate Helms going for the meat at the Falls. The more typical line is far river left down the slide, onto another slide, and off a six foot drop. Lots of fun. Scout left.

V-Slot

Class - IV Mile - 8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
More boogie water fun ensues downstream with some great splashy Class IV and depending on the water level, big holes. After a small slide, you will see a big waterfall entering on river left. V-Slot is on river right. Run down the righthand side of the river, getting up on the rock at the bottom and boofing left, or you can run right and sub down into the hole. Scout right if necessary. You can also sneak far left around the big rock by the waterfall, depending on the level.

Cyclops

Class - IV+ Mile - 8.2
The next major rapid is Cyclops -- a six foot ledge with a round rock right in the middle. Standard line is boofing left around the rock but you can also run the hero line far right into the hole. If you go over in the middle, you'll tag the rock.

Baby Sweets

Class - IV+ Mile - 8.5
Baby Sweets is after Cyclops. It's sort of a smaller version of Sweets Falls on the Gauley and depending on the water level, lands in a pretty big hole. For a smooth ride, go down the river right tongue like Paddleman does in this photo.

El Roberto

Class - IV+ Mile - 9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
When you see a big rock on river left with an overhanging cliff, you are at El Roberto. Eddy out immediately behind this rock or run far, far river right to avoid the MONSTER hole in the middle of the river. Surfing NOT recommended.

Bowling Alley

Class - IV Mile - 11
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
After a seemingly endless stretch of great Class III-IV boogie, you will start to see civilization on river left. You are approaching the Bowling Alley, the North Chick's final punch and a fantastic way to end the day. Go with the flow around the big boulders and into the Class IV boogie water down to the takeout on river left. There isnt much of a pulloff for the takeout, so just look for your cars, takeout there, and congratulate yourself on a great run down the North Chick.

Comments

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Matthew Haughee
|
6 years ago

Here is link to video of the Chick at 3.8ft on the boater gauge. We put in on Cain Creek below the big ones. I believe the put-in was called rock house. https://vimeo.com/53549667

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Colin Rymer
|
9 years ago

As of 12/10/09, the usgs gauge used on this site is not accurate. Ran it on 12/11/09 at 2.6 ft, while the online gauge read 1.8 cfs.

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Jiri Vala
|
13 years ago

WARNING: BAD SIEVE
We almost lost a good man to the sieve below the hole at El Roberto on 7/11/2005. Although he had to buy us all beer that night for saving his life, I would prefer to buy my own. I am posting this so nobody else will take this rapid as lightly as we did yesterday. Our party of 6 had a combined 25+ runs on this river and I think that we let out guard down in what seemed to be a fairly innocuous spot. We put on around 12 at about 6.2 on the USGS gauge. The Bowater Gauge read 1.5 when we put on and 1.35 when we took off. The sieve is created by the huge boulder that the author of this picture is standing: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/photos/?photoid=7891 <br />
This photo (which can also be seen above is labeled El Roberto by Rob Maxwell) also illustrates the typical line through the rapid: punch the upper corner of the hole and eddy out on river left---avoiding the meat of the hole and the large tree obstructing the narrow exit on river right. From the eddy, you ferry between the backwash of the hole and the truck-size boulder that is blocking half of the river---threading between the boulder and the tree. At higher water, this is an easy move because the eddy is large and the water is pillowing off the boulder. At lower water, the boulder's undercut is exposed and the eddy is small, shallow, and leaks directly into the undercut left side of the boulder with tremendous force. Most of the party had eddied out and the fourth guy (I will call him Lazarus) hit the leaky part of the eddy and began to slip away. He went for the ferry around the rock but didn't make it over the pillow and was sucked into the undercut. He completely disappeared under the rock and at one point we could only see the 18" of his stern. He sprung out from under the rock grasping for purchase but went back under before we could grab him---fingernails scraping down the rock as he went under. While he was down there talking to Jesus, we were there instantly to pull him out with ropes or whatever it took if he surfaced again. He did---and we were able to grab both arms and it took all of us to pull his ass out from under the boulder. Lazarus later explained that it was about 12 feet deep under the rock and very dark. He said that he wouldn't have had the energy to crawl toward the light a third time. I honestly don't know how he was able to manage it twice but he is a wicked strong mf$@%@&.
The main thing I learned that day is to take nothing for granted: paddle down every river as if it were my first run. The other lesson learned is that maybe I will boof the flake next time and take my chances with the hole and tree dance.

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Jiri Vala
|
13 years ago

WARNING: BAD SEIVE<br /><br />
We almost lost a good man to the sieve below the hole at El Roberto on 7/11/2005. Although he had to buy us all beer that night for saving his life, I would prefer to buy my own. I am posting this so nobody else will take this rapid as lightly as we did yesterday. Our party of 6 had a combined 25+ runs on this river and I think that we let out guard down in what seemed to be a fairly innocuous spot. Our party of 6 put on around 12 at about 6.2 on the USGS gauge. The Bowater Gauge read 1.5 when we put on and 1.35 when we took off. The sieve is created by the huge boulder that the author of this picture is standing: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/photos/?photoid=7891 <br /><br />
This photo also illustrates the typical line through the rapid: punch the upper corner of the hole and eddy out on river left---avoiding the meat of the hole and the large tree obstructing the narrow exit on river right. From the eddy, you ferry between the backwash of the hole and the truck-size boulder that is blocking half of the river---threading between the boulder and the tree. At higher water, this is an easy move because the eddy is large and the water is pillowing off the boulder. At lower water, the boulder's undercut is exposed and the eddy is small, shallow, and leaks directly into the undercut left side of the boulder with tremendous force. Most of the party had eddied out and the fourth guy (I will call him Lazarus) hit the leaky part of the eddy and began to slip away. He went for the ferry around the rock but didn't make it over the pillow and was sucked into the undercut. He completely disappeared under the rock and at one point we could only see the 18" of his stern. He sprung out from under the rock grasping for purchase but went back under before we could grab him. We were there instantly to pull him out with ropes or whatever it took when he surfaced again. We were able to grab both arms and it took all of us to pull him out from under the rock. Lazarus later explained that it was about 12 feet deep under the rock and very dark. He said that he wouldn't have had the energy to crawl toward the light a third time. I honestly don't know how he was able to manage it twice but Lazarus is as strong as a horse. <br /><br />
The main thing I learned is to take nothing for granted: paddle down every river as if it were my first run. The other lesson learned is that maybe I will boof the flake next time and take my chances with the hole.<br /><br />

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Robert Maxwell
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14 years ago

The USGS North Chick gage is in an unstable stream bed that changes and shifts after floods. Lucky for us, the Bowater Paddler's gage is placed in a very stable area and hasn't changed with each flood. As of December 2004 here's how the USGS gage relates to the Paddler's Bowater Gage.

USGS = Paddlers Gage
10.93 = 5.50
7.68 = 3.25
7.23 = 2.90
6.92 = 2.80
6.84 = 2.50
6.57 = 2.20
6.30 = 1.80
6.27 = 1.75
6.16 = 1.50
6.14 = 1.10

I have an Excel 2000 spreadsheet that predicts the levels for North Chick and several other rivers in the southeast. If you

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Terry Smith
|
14 years ago

Since the last time I checked this page out someone added some good pics. One of the rapids in the pics that the author called "Truth or Concequence" is actually named "Back Street Ally". This is always a good one to scout. Over the years I have seen all sort of trees stuck in this one.

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Rob Scott
|
14 years ago

The internet gauge is now way off. UPDATE: I ran it the other day at 6.17 on the Online gauge which was 1.5 at Bowater and just under 0.5 at the top - I would consider this bare minimum to run from the top of Cain, though some would say minimum is a little higher. It can be run lower if you putin at drainpipe(down to maybe 1.1 on the bottom gauge if you don't mind banging on a lot of rocks). Careful if you put on at Drainpipe - someone slashed my tire there in 9/04.

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Robert Slayden
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15 years ago

More N. Chick History:
Bob Slayden, David Broemel, Greer Edwards (Broemel), Ken Strictland, Charlie Sturdivant ran from Rock House on Jan. 19, 1980. Minimum water level. Ran Falls, but rocky. Greer washed over the falls, but OK. Water level about minimum. My notes say that N. Chick. was first run in Nov. 1979 by Mike Stoker and Lewis Brawley. Second run was in December by Roger Scott, Ken Strictland, and Tom Parsons. All runs were from Rock House.

We started putting in off a surface mine road that required extensive 4-wheelin to get access. This point is about 1 mile downstream from the Greyfrier Road access. My recollection is not getting out of the boat for the entire run once we leared the routes. Ran it 4-5 times in early 80's. Great Creek. Still my very favorite. --Bob Slayden

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BradR
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15 years ago

From Clay Wright:

N. Chick:
Internet gage is easy now days . . .AW site rules! Cain side much more popular now . . why miss Vortex and Drainpipe? Shorter, too. More write-up needed on Walden

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Terry Smith
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15 years ago

When the North Chick Gauge is at 2.8 you can put in at Hixson Springs Creek along the powerline in the state natural area and paddle down to North Chick. This will put you in right above Mystery Falls. The hike to Hixson Springs Creek is about 30 min. Park at the new parking area for the natural area on Hixson Springs Road. At levels below 2.8 you will probably have to walk down the creek bed to North Chick but it is not far. This access keeps you off private land and allows you to cut out the flat water.
<br />

<br />

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BradR
|
16 years ago

From Ted Hayes
Here the beta.
Old 27 S (Dayton Pike)
Lft @ Falling Water
Go up Roberts Mill
Bear Lft @ Sawyer
Rgt @ Corral
Rgt @ Grey Frier
Dead end Street.
* No Public Parking *
Ask permission to park, locals were boater friendly.
Follow the drainage ditch off to the lft, it straight
to the creek.

Alot of flat water, some cool drops. Especially
Mystery Falls, overall a long day. Recommended when
the Chick is on the high side, and relatively warm. No
sure of the actual mileage, but I do remember it being
a pretty long paddle. There is a trail, according to
Terry Smith. When I get more info, I'll let you know.

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BradR
|
16 years ago

From SEboater on Boatertalk:
1'7 - 2'2 low to med low
2'3 - 2'7 med (on avg)
2'8 - ? pushy, big holes, fun

Gage Descriptions

There is also a boater gauge at the takeout
From Daniel Talley:
"The first stop is checking at the take out. Upon entering the parking lot at the Bowater Pocket Wilderness, take your first left and go to the lowest parking spots available. From here, take the trail to the right that follows to the gauge. The trail is blazed with small orange markers on trees and goes upstream about 50 yards. It ends on a couch sized rock with the gauge right below you."

Minimum for the Cain Creek run is in the 1.8ft range. Max is up to you. What some people like to see before driving a hundred miles to do this river is the Collins at McMinnville over 5000 cfs and/or the Tellico over 1000 cfs.

I'm still working on the minimum and maximum levels for the take-out gauge. I do know that some of the local experts have run Chick at some ridiculously high levels.

From SEboater on boatertalk:
1'7 - 2'2 low to med low
2'3 - 2'7 med (on avg)
2'8 - ? pushy, big holes, fun
 

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Ron Stewart Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

10/4/2007
Kevin Colburn

Last week, American Whitewater recognized Ron Stewart for his many contributions to river stewardship - or more accurately steep creek stewardship.   American Whitewater presented Ron with an AW Lifetime Achievement Award at an AW event in Atlanta Georgia on September 28th, following a presentation on the many rivers and creeks Ron has sought to protect.  The honor comes with a framed and numbered William Nealy "mystery move" print.
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