North Chickamauga Creek - 2. Walden Ridge to Soddy-Daisy

North Chickamauga Creek, Tennessee, US


2. Walden Ridge to Soddy-Daisy (North Chick)

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 12 Miles
Avg. Gradient 90 fpm

North Chick

North Chick
Photo of Scott McGinnis by Alex Harvey

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
North Chickamauga Creek at Mile Straight
noaa-ncct1 5.00 - 20.00 ft IV-V 02h38m 2.96 ft (too low)
usgs-03566525 400 - 1200 cfs IV-V 6y158d06h37m 5.2 cfs (too low)

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:


StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2008-03-19 19:52:45


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
2.8Welcome CenterIVPhoto
2.9After Welcome CenterIVPhoto
3.0Mystery FallsIV+Waterfall Photo
3.5Rapid after Mystery FallsIV+Photo
4.0Cain Creek
6.0North Chick Falls5.0Waterfall Photo
8.5Baby SweetsIV+Photo
9.0El RobertoIV+Hazard
11.0Bowling AlleyIVTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Welcome Center (Class IV, Mile 2.8)

(RM) Welcome Center

(RM) Welcome Center
Photo of Milt Aitken by Rob Maxwell @ 2.0'

First real rapid on North Chick. It starts to get fun around here.

After Welcome Center (Class IV, Mile 2.9)

(RM) After Welcome Center

(RM) After Welcome Center
Photo of Steve Frazier by Rob Maxwell @ 2.0'

Mystery Falls (Class IV+, Mile 3.0)

(RM) Mystery Falls - Jim S

(RM) Mystery Falls - Jim S
Photo of Jim Strickland by Rob Maxwell @ 2.0'

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)

Steve Frazer North Chickamauga Creek

Steve Frazer North Chickamauga Creek
Photo of Steve Frazer by Milt Aitken taken 01/20/02 @ 6.35 ft (online)

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
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 6.0)

North Chick Falls

North Chick Falls
Photo of Nathan by Daniel Talley taken 97ish

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 8.0)
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)

(RM) Cyclops

(RM) Cyclops
Photo of Chris Gorman by Rob Maxwell @ 2.0'

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)

(RM) Baby Sweets

(RM) Baby Sweets
Photo of Milt Aitken by Rob Maxwell @ 2.0'

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 9.0)
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 11.0)
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.

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