This photo needs editing.
Difficulty III-IV(V)
Length 1.5 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 10/08/2012 2:02 pm

River Description

Hike up run.

For two nearby streams with mucho gradiente, check out Henderson Creek and Morgan Creek.

The parking lot is located in Laurel-Snow Pocket Wilderness Area, within the Cumberland Trail State Park. From Dayton, take Hwy 30 towards Pikeville. Take a right onto Back Valley Rd. The bridge on Back Valley has the spray paint gauge. The minimum is about -.8ft starting to get beefy (for hike up) around 1.0ft. Continue on Back Valley Rd until you reach Pocket Wilderness Rd a mile ahead on the left, across from a Church. From the parking lot, hike as high as you feel comfortable. It is about 1.3 miles to the Old Dayton Reservoir.  The gate at Back Valley Rd is closed each evening at dusk by the State Park.

The first drop is the "Reservoir", very straight forward and requires little maneuvering. Some good warm up class III boulder gardens get you started. The first major rapid, "Timber-rattler" is a steep boulder garden ending with a five foot boulder choke with a somewhat sticky hole at the bottom. Starting right, follow the main flow left punching the first hole. It is shallow on this left side so you will be in contact with boulders. Turning back right, a small pool lets you get up just enough speed for the final drop. This at lower levels however. It's nonstop when Henderson is running. Don't get to carried away at "Timber-rattler"....the left house-sized boulder is actually a giant sieve usually full of wood. Next, take the river right 4 ft slot or one can run left. Stay right through the class III rapids to set you up for "Left Down Hut" around the the bend. "Left Down Hut" is created by a finger slab. If you go straight, then you will be welcomed by a huge boulder awaiting your pin, hence the turn left. The total drop is about 8 feet. A small pool is below and then another four foot ledge below. "Left Down Hut" is actually the right side of an island. The left side, "Trailhead Boogie" can be run at 3" or higher. The top rapid is a double drop totaling 8ft. After this, just below a small pool, is the final drop that involves a several difficult moves flirting with strange curlers, undercuts, and a probable pinning v-ledge. I've found it to be one of the hardest rapids on Richland. At the end of the next pool take the right slot at any level or the left line with boof at higher flows. 

Soon you will be at the Blue Hole after some good solid class III-IV. Take the right cave route, "Praying Hands" at the end of the swimming hole for cheep thrills. Morgan Creek (North Pole) comes in below adding a few cfs. A few shallow waves can be found here. Enjoy some more good III+'s for the next few hundred yards. The last notable rapid, the class IV+ "Weirdo" can be seen by the house sized boulder on river left. There are three drops within it. The first is a small 3ft ledge. Boof right and set up in the small pool for the last two. Run the last two on the left side. At higher levels, hang out on river left and ride the slab, but beware of the monster curler that will take you deep. The parking lot is another 100 yards below. Look for "Goo-gee Creek Rapid" just after Paine Creek comes in on the left, a nice class III+.

I have seen Richland Creek run even four days after a rain in the spring and winter months. There is nothing like seeing them there emerald waters during a spring run, luring you in for some great drops. The only problem is that you have to carry your boat up for the action. The trail is very good though and it usually only takes 15-20 minutes.

For further information visit:


Rapid Descriptions


default user thumbnail
Daniel Talley
6 years ago

"Trailhead Boogie" or "West Prong Line"...i.e., left of island at "Left Down Hut" has a log in the final drop as of 1/13. I was anxiously traveling down this side at 1.2' while running Henderson and scrambled rather quickly to a pool to avoid my head being taken off. Also, beware of boil and hole which forms at the top of Timber-rattler at high levels. There is a slab on river right which elevates the water level creating a difficult situation. One can easily be surfing next to a nasty undercut. At normal levels it is not much of a problem. I believe cheater lines open up on river left at high water, presenting the option to avoid river right main line and potential problems.

default user thumbnail
Jordan Rice
14 years ago

2005 wood in Richland. Boated Richland this morning (11/29) and there is a tree down near the top of "Left Down Hut" a tree down in the center line on "Praying Hands" and two trees across the creek just below "Weirdo".

default user thumbnail
Daniel Talley
15 years ago

Richland gauge has changed from the Hurricane Ivan flood. I believe it to be around 6-7inches off, if not more, meaning, old 7 inches is now 0. The richland hike-up run can be done below where the gauge reads by a few inches.

Henderson minimum would now be more like 11-12 inches? I'll know sooner than later hopefully.

default user thumbnail
Daniel Talley
15 years ago

Clay, I'm moving back to Dayton late 2004. Hope to get this tied to online gauge readings, not to mention paddling it more! The best one to consider now is Big Sewee in Decatur. Very close to watershed with a similar size and all.

default user thumbnail
15 years ago

From Mark Cumnock
Richland Creek

This is the ultimate Park-n-Play. It has a hiking trail, which used to be the water main pipeline for the community of Dayton, Tennessee. Hike two miles up .It is an easy walk, almost flat. The creek drops, but you don

default user thumbnail
clay wright
16 years ago

Can we try and tie this to an online guage?
Perhaps N Chick?

Great rapids to run when all else has dropped out.

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Wooden foot gauge installed by Tony Robinson on Back Valley Rd. Bridge, river left upstream side. -.8 min (under existing gauge) 1.0-1.5ft is pretty big for this section. When running Henderson, this section will be in the 1.8-3ft range.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2019-12-01 High Fatality High Water Read More




Daniel Talley


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1201609 10/08/12 Daniel Talley
1191579 11/15/04 Daniel Talley n/a