Piney River - Wash-Pelfrey Road to Spring City


Piney River, Tennessee, US

Disclaimer

Wash-Pelfrey Road to Spring City (Wash-Pelfrey Road to Spring City
Alternate putin on Mossican Cr, unmarked log)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 10.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 73 fpm
Max Gradient 120 fpm

End of the Slide


End of the Slide
Photo of Craig Rollins by Kemper Begley taken 12/15/01 @ 2.75 ft



River Description

Rob Martin:
"T
his is not the creek to be on if you're out of shape. It's not a good creek to test your skills on.
"There is one section that is class IV-IV+; the rest is class II-III (not hair). But this run is
long, physically demanding and remote. But it is a beautiful place to play."

 

High Water comment from Geoff Kohl 06-13-2002 at 8ft

At about 8 feet, this river has some rapids that are class V and last for lengths of a football field or more. At this level, there are a couple drops that get what I would consider possible terminal holes. What's more, these nasty drops are in the middle of pure screaming hair, often giving paddlers the choice of one eddy before them. Having paddled this at that level, I would not recommend this level for anyone who doesn't know the run fairly well. We didn't know what was around some corners and were lucky enough to stop before we met a few huge holes. In addition, this is not for the faint of heart, as it's possible you will bomb down a series of huge haystacks playing slalom with holes that want to make swimmers, with no foreseeable end to the rapid in sight. Portages lead up through thick forests and over huge chunks of sandstone. At this level, it would compare to running Pillow Rock on the Gauley blind without the nice pool at the bottom, plus with bigger, nastier holes. I'd do it again at this level, but I know quite a few who would not, and they are probably better men because of that. (Note: this refers to the old gauge, before the takeout bridge was rebuilt. The corresponding level from the current gauge is unknown.)

 

Ed Note: The highest I know of was at 10 ft in the Winter of 1993, and was a handful all the way to the take-out. With water levels this high, and after our run I recommend Little Soddy.

 

John Tansil shared:
"Some early history - The Piney River was first paddled in 1972 (late 71?) by Martin Begun, other members of the East Tennessee White Water Club, and guest boaters, mostly from the upper Midwest, who traditionally came down to paddle with ETWWC on winter/spring holidays. Friends from that initial trip related details of the first descent to me on my first Piney run in spring 1973.

"Martin B scouted the whole run by foot before paddling it. The first descent was an 'epic' with high water, a big group of 17 (starting out), and lots of carnage. They were in composite K1s or C1s, mostly homemade since both groups had active boatbuilding programs. Kenny Cooper broke his boat in one of the drops and had to walk out. 'Hungry Jack' was (I think?) named for Jack Wright after a trashing. Don Jared painted the first gauge on the bridge at the take-out. The Piney quickly became a favorite run but ETWWC didn't publicize it.
"For several years after, the only groups on the Piney were people from the first runs and a few others. When I paddled it in spring 1975, we were again the only group on the river even though none of the other creeks further south on Walden Ridge had been discovered. Over the next 10 years, plastic boats and the warm water of the Ocoee contributed to a sharp rise in both the skill and number of southeastern paddlers.
"Two guidebooks on Tennessee whitewater, one by Mayfield and another by Sehlinger, helped to popularize the Piney during the early 80s. When I paddled the Piney in 1987 with Lee Belknap and others, it was fairly well-known. The initial rating of class IV-V was as much a statement about boat design and boating skills at the time as it was about the difficulty of the run. The Piney shuttle map is on the front cover of the Tennessee Gazetteer (1989 DeLorme version) except that most is obscured by a logo. The Piney was discovered at about the same time as the Caney Fork/Bee Creek combo and these three were the first Plateau creek runs other than Obed tributaries. Both the Piney and Caney Fork are true classics that should be enjoyed by everyone with the skill to paddle them."

 

For more information click on the link below.

 

http://www.waldensridgewhitewater.com/waldensridge/pineyriver.htm

 

 

Anyone having more details regarding this run is encouraged to either provide them (via the "Add a comment" button, which should appear for registered, logged-in users of this site) or (AW members only) sign up as a StreamTeam Volunteer to "adopt" this section of river.

 

 

 


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-09-27 15:14:01

Editors


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Hungry JackPhoto
0.0Signal FallsPhoto
0.0Begin of Slide SectionPhoto
0.0Moccasin Creek putinN/APutin

Rapid Descriptions

Hungry Jack

Hungry Jack

Hungry Jack
Photo of Kemper Begley by Craig Rollins taken 12/15/01 @ 2.75

One of the last big ones, with more water it gets more of a bite

Signal Falls

Signal Falls

Signal Falls
Photo of Kemper Begley by Paul Butler taken 10/31/03

The first major rapid after Moccasin Creek

Begin of Slide Section

Slide Section

Slide Section
Photo of Craig Rollins by Kemper Begley taken 10/31/03 @ 2.75

This is your landmark, for the Slide rapid that is coming up

Moccasin Creek putin (Class N/A)

The alternate putin, where Pine Creek Rd. crosses Moccasin Creek. Lat/long coords are approximate, from Google Maps.




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 7 2017 (197 days ago)
Crisler (158104)
4/1/17 rafted the Piney at about 3.5 on the far left side of the gauge, flow was quite brown. Ct,
G, and Josh in maxi me, Eli OC1, it went so smooth. There is still wood below the river right slide
about 1/3 of the way in, its the rapid that usually has wood, you can run it down the left to avoid
but its technical. it was less than 3 hours to do the whole run. We bumped a bit but the level was
great for a raft.
April 5 2017 (199 days ago)
Matt KuckukDetails
I'm one of the "upper Midwest paddlers" who ran the Piney in the 70's, with Fred Young, Mark Hall,
and Jackson Wright. This was one of our favorite rivers when we came to Tennessee on our college
holidays. I especially loved the drive to the put-in, being a flatlander. We could see the valley
far below, and knew we were going to descend there from the top of the plateau! The Piney is a
beautiful Class IV river, a classic and top 10 in the country, in my now more well-traveled
opinion.
April 21 2015 (914 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
Great run! 3.8'' that am and 3.2'' when we got off. I would call it high or medium high as it was
pushy, continuous and plenty deep with wave-trains to the end. Moccasin Creek needs a gage, but it
was 8'' over the cement 'bridge'. We spend 2.5 hrs on the run and 2 hrs just on shuttle as the road
is slow, though passable in any sedan. No wood on Moccasin, one log across the right hand channel
(where most water goes) just below the 'slide' 2 drops before 'hungry jack.' Marked the spot with
orange tape, ran down far left into next fun rapid. Lots of dangling wood from bank in run-out of
Piney but all easily missable at this level. This is a great, incredibly scenic and under
appreciated run that I would consider a step up from Tellico / Daddy's / Spring / White's Creek or
Clear Creek due to the length, isolation and continuity but a great warm-up to Caney Fork, North
Chick, Island etc. The individual rapids are fun but the number of them and length that it carries
that same class 3 difficulty is impressive. The action is solid 3+ from that first 4' ledge down to
the ledge, the slide, the tougher rapid above Jack with the logs on right and Hungry Jack (4+?).
Some big water fun stuff below Hungry Jack then it drops down progressively to 2-3 then 2 with
occasional 3 to keep you on your toes. Overall a class 4 run at this level due to the remote nature
and long day. Bring your breakdown, food and headlight! A pinned boat could mean hiking further
than you would enjoy. Trail starts at Duskin Creek. The scenery is magnificent - 100' Hemlocks
tower over the river and rock walls up to 60' high flank the sides off and on with waterfalls
cascading down them. No trash, but an old rock road can be seen crossing occasionally making me
wonder who lived up here. So glad I took the day off Bear to check out this class 4 gem I will
definitely visit again. Clay
May 1 2011 (2365 days ago)
Jon ReedDetails
LOTS OF WOOD!!! On April 27, 2011 a tornado ripped through Spring City, TN and up the Piney River
valley. It crossed the the Piney about a dozen times. Don Ellis led us down on April 29. At the
time we had no way of knowing the tornado had gone up the river. Above Moccasin Creek (the top 2
miles) there were 2 MAJOR log jambs. The second was the worst with a thick matting of trees a
couple feet deep and 100 yards long laying over the Piney! From Moccasin Creek down, there was only
one more river wide strainer consisting of a few trees. Consider everything above Moccasin
unboatable. Everything below Moccasin will likely become unboatable as the stuff upstream breaks up
and washes down. The level was 2.5 feet. 2.5 feet was a real treat. It could probably be run a
little lower, but you'd knuckle a couple of spots.
February 4 2007 (3912 days ago)
John TansilDetails
Some early history - The Piney River was first paddled in 1972 (late 71?) by Martin Begun, other
members of the East Tennessee White Water Club, and guest boaters, mostly from the upper Midwest,
who traditionally came down to paddle with ETWWC on winter/spring holidays. Friends from that
initial trip related details of the first descent to me on my first Piney run in spring 1973.
Martin B scouted the whole run by foot before paddling it. The first descent was an "epic" with
high water, a big group of 17 (starting out), and lots of carnage. They were in composite K1s or
C1s, mostly homemade since both groups had active boatbuilding programs. Kenny Cooper broke his
boat in one of the drops and had to walk out. "Hungry Jack" was (I think?) named for Jack Wright
after a trashing. Don Jared painted the first gauge on the bridge at the take-out. The Piney
quickly became a favorite run but ETWWC didn't publicize it. For several years after, the only
groups on the Piney were people from the first runs and a few others. When I paddled it in spring
1975, we were again the only group on the river even though none of the other creeks further south
on Walden Ridge had been discovered. Over the next 10 years, plastic boats and the warm water of
the Ocoee contributed to a sharp rise in both the skill and number of southeastern paddlers. Two
guidebooks on Tennessee whitewater, one by Mayfield and another by Sehlinger, helped to popularize
the Piney during the early 80s. When I paddled the Piney in 1987 with Lee Belknap and others, it
was fairly well-known. The initial rating of class IV-V was as much a statement about boat design
and boating skills at the time as it was about the difficulty of the run. The Piney shuttle map is
on the front cover of the Tennessee Gazetteer (1989 DeLorme version) except that most is obscured
by a logo. The Piney was discovered at about the same time as the Caney Fork/Bee Cr combo and these
three were the first Plateau creek runs other than Obed tributaries. Both the Piney and Caney Fork
are true classics that should be enjoyed by everyone with the skill to paddle them. John Tansil
April 13 2005 (4574 days ago)
Paul ButlerDetails
4-11-05

ran the Piney 4-9-05 with a gauge reading of 3ft--it was equal to about 1.8 or so on the old
gauge

I'd look for a new minimum of about 3.25

Paul B
April 10 2005 (4577 days ago)
Alex ZendelDetails
Got to run this for the first time today (4/9/05). Lots of fun and will definitely be
backā€¦.hopefully with more water. I was with some boaters who had run the Piney several times before
and this was the lowest they had seen it. Apparently, the old gauge at the take out washed out and
the new one doesn't correspond well. The new gauge, which is at the same location as the old gauge
- takeout bridge on Shut In Gap Road, held at 3 feet during the entire day today. We all agreed
that 3 feet could probably be established as the new minimum recommend flow. The action-to-boogie
ratio on this run is pretty low, but the fun rapids and stellar scenery make it a run that I hope
to paddle again.
January 18 2005 (4659 days ago)
Wade HarrisonDetails
There is a miss print in Gazetteer Topo for the putin creek flowing into the Piney.The roads are
all the same as mention but if you check it has Youngs Creek as the putin creek and there is a gap
between Moccasin Creek and Youngs Creek and it shows as the two never confluence.This is an ERROR
in Gazetteer Its Moccasins Creek but I think the error In the commonly used Delorme Gazetteer Topo
should be worth a mention...
June 13 2002 (5608 days ago)
Geoff KohlDetails
At about 8 feet, this river has some
rapids that are class V and last for
lengths of a football field or more. At
this level, there are a couple drops that
get what I would consider possible
terminal holes. What's more, these
nasty drops are in the middle of pure
screaming hair, often giving paddlers
the choice of one eddy before them.
Having paddled this at that level, I
would not recommend this level for
anyone who doesn't know the run fairly
well. We didn't know what was around
some corners and were lucky enough
to stop before we met a few huge
holes. In addition, this is not for the
faint of heart, as its possible you will
bomb down a series of huge
haystacks playing slalom with holes
that want to make swimmers, with no
forseeable end to the rapid in site.
Portages lead up through thick forests
and over huge chunks of sandstone. At
this level, it would compare to running
Pillow Rock on Gauley blind without
the nice pool at the bottom, plus with
bigger, nastier holes. I'd do it again at
this level, but I know quite a few who
would not, and they are probably better
men because of that.
October 17 2000 (6212 days ago)
robert martinDetails
This is not the creek to be on if your out of shape. It's not a good creek to test your skills
on. There is one section that is class IV-IV+, the rest is class II-III (not hair). But this run is
long, physically demanding and remote. But it is a beautiful place to play.


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