Obed, Tennessee, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||30 fpm|
|EMORY RIVER AT OAKDALE, TN|
|usgs-03540500||1000 - 8000 cfs||II-IV||01h21m||2990 cfs (running)|
Logistics: To reach the take-out from the town of Wartburg (where there is a National Park
visitor center), follow the signs to the Nemo Access from Old Highway 27. Head out the southwest
corner of town and continue 6.0 miles to the river. A day-use area with ample parking, changing
area, and picnic tables can be found upstream river left of the old Nemo Bridge. This makes a
great meeting point, and place to hangout after your run.
You have options for put-ins depending on how long a trip and what type of run you're looking for:
A) Drive directly to Obed Junction (listed put-in for this run).
B) Run Daddy's Creek from Devils Breakfast Table (if the wildlife gate is not closed for the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area) to the Obed confluence.
C) Run Clear Creek to the Obed confluence.
D) Run beginning further upstream on the Obed.
From Obed Junction (which is at the confluence with Daddy's Creek), the river contains class II/III rock gardens until you reach a one mile class III/IV section containing 'Ninety Right-Ninety Left', 'OmyGod!', 'Rockgarden' (be aware of the dangerous spot that exists on the right in this rapid!), and 'Submarine Falls'.
Soon after these drops, Clear Creek enters from the left. You will encounter four more class III rapids (separated by calm stretches of river), the last two of which are known as 'Keep Right' and 'Widowmaker'.
After the confluence with the Emory River its just a mile downstream to the take-out at the old Nemo Bridge.
Here's the official Obed Wild & Scenic River Map with all the put-ins and take-outs.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Drainage area: ~332 sq.mi.||N/A|
|0.1||Class II-III rock gardens||N/A|
|3.2||Nintey Right-Ninety Left||III|
|3.3||Oh My God||III+|
|4.5||Confluence: Clear Creek||N/A|
|5.1||Canoe Hole Rapids||N/A|
|8.9||Confluence: Emory River||N/A|
At the listed put-in drainage area is ~332 square miles (as calculated by USGS StreamStats 4.2.0 software).
After 4.6 miles (after confluence with Clear Creek), the combined drainage becomes ~514 square miles.
After another 4.3 miles at the confluence with the Emory, drainage becomes ~613 square miles for the final mile to the listed take-out.
Randomly strewn throughout the first three miles you will find numerous brief class II-III rock-garden rapids.
Enter from the left and execute two 90 degree turns the last being on the lip of the main drop.
This rapid lies in a gentle left-hand bend. It's rocky at the top, pitches over a ledge at the bottom, then heads directly for Oh My God Rock which juts upstream from the river-right shore.
(Unknown if the rock is undercut or not. There is a good sized pillow on the rock where the current slams into it, and a turbulent eddy on the upstream side, against the river-right bank, implying that water is not going under it. Still, if I was swimming, I'd swim like he!! away from it.)
Scout this rapid on river right. At lower flows the water tends to push you towards the right where some of the rocks are undercut. Over 3,000 cfs the rocks are better covered.
Just above the confluence with Clear Creek, this is a short drop through a narrow spot between two boulders. (Class II+ at low-to-moderate flows, Class III at higher flows.)
Clear Creek enters from river-left.
From here it is just about a mile (of largely flat flowing water) to the take-out.