Piney River, Tennessee, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||73 fpm|
|Max Gradient||120 fpm|
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.
"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."
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|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Begin of Slide Section|
|0.0||Moccasin Creek putin||N/A|
The alternate putin, where Pine Creek Rd. crosses Moccasin Creek. Lat/long coords are approximate, from Google Maps.