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


North Chickamauga Creek, Tennessee, US

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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 NEAR MONTLAKE, TN
usgs-03566525 400 - 1200 cfs IV-V 6y15d13h09m 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:  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.


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

Editors


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
8.0V-SlotIV
8.2CyclopsIV+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.


User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 8 2013 (1541 days ago)
Matthew Haughee (154977)
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
March 25 2012 (1920 days ago)
Martin WroeDetails
Vehicle breakin at Cain Creek Put in, dirt road. Passenger window broken out. We saw a black Ford
Crew Cab with 4 wheeler in back leaving out of the area.
December 11 2009 (2756 days ago)
colinrymer (151314)
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.
August 25 2005 (4324 days ago)
Jiri ValaDetails
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.
July 15 2005 (4365 days ago)
Jiri ValaDetails
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 />
March 17 2005 (4485 days ago)
Robert MaxwellDetails
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'd like a copy of this spreadsheet e-mail me at
H2Olevelcheck@boatingbeta.com and I will send it to you. I only check this address weekly, so
pardon me if I don't get back to you right away.

Paddle Safe - Rob Maxwell
November 23 2004 (4599 days ago)
Terry SmithDetails
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.
November 8 2004 (4614 days ago)
Rob ScottDetails
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.
March 8 2004 (4859 days ago)
Robert SlaydenDetails
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
February 23 2004 (4873 days ago)
BradRDetails
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's crown jewel. When people say
they don't like it, they ran it too low.
January 10 2004 (4917 days ago)
Terry SmithDetails
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 />
February 19 2003 (5242 days ago)
BradRDetails
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.
February 18 2003 (5243 days ago)
BradRDetails
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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