The following description comes from stream team member Allen Brown.
DESCRIPTION: The first one and half miles are non-stop Class III followed by one mile of great Class II play. The last four miles are Class I(II) with decent current.
The put in rapid is called Johnson Mills (Class III) and is a slide/ledge with old mill debris in it. The river right side is a 12 foot 30 degree slide followed by a 5 foot verticle drop at the end. The river left side is where the old mill was and is a 10-12 foot verticle drop into a tight landing area. DANGER: I have never run the river left side as I saw rusted metal barrels in the landing area when I scouted it at dry summer levels. After Johnson Mills, there is a slot drop between a couple of boulders into a pool where the old gauging station sits.(Class III) This is followed by Class II-III boogie water then a four foot ledge with another old mill site on river right.(Class III) More Class II-III boogie water takes you to a beautiful river left tributary that comes in via a stairstep waterfall. When the river hits a high bluff on river left and turns sharply right get out and check the next rapid for strainers. This rapid is class III but has some badly placed rocks that gather strainers. More class II-III boogie water takes you to a high bluff on river right and another Class III with a 3 foot slot drop on river right. This slot drop creates a great ender hole. Your bow may hit rocks the 1st couple of times, but don't give up as there is a clean spot that will get you verticle. The best stuff will end about 1.5 miles past the put in. The next mile is constant Class II that creates great play. The river still has gradient and is channelized between bluffs with a hard rock slab riverbottom. The gradient is constant and you can actually see the tilt of the river. The effect is a mile long waterslide that creates v-waves & endless collasping waves/holes. Great play. After Flat Creek comes in on right the run flattens out for the remaining 4 miles, but it does have a few more Class II surfing waves one of which gives great spins.
NOTE: Always be on the lookout for strainers This run is bounded by private property. Please be respectful of property owners and the Spring Creek area details. Please be mindful of the beavers dropping trees in this run. Information on this river can also be found in the Guide Book: Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to the Streams of Tennessee, B. Sehlinger
This rapid is at the put-in and has old mining debris scattered throughout.
3.0 - Will be scrapey in places
4.0 - 6.0 - Solid Class III with lots of play
6.0 - 8.0 - Things will push into Class IV-
Permits are not required for this reach.
PUT IN: From I-40 go to main Cookeville, TN exit (HWY 136) & go North on HWY 136 through the town square. Stay on HWY 136 North of town for about 10-12 miles. You will pass over Spring Creek, but it is hard to see from 136. Go another 2 miles just past BP station.
The PUT IN is on HWY 136. Pull into pull off on the left before you cross the bridge. There is enough room for 5-6 cars and it is frequently used by locals who swim in the river. This access may be on private land so be courteous and clean.TAKE OUT: Go back south towards Cookeville on Hwy 136 to the community of Hardy (about 1.5 miles). Turn right at the convienence store (not the BP) onto Poplar Springs Rd. Go down Poplar Springs Rd. about 5 miles. Turn right onto gravel "Stock Gap Rd." Stock Gap Road feels like someone's driveway, but it is a Road. Travel down Stock Gap Rd. into the gorge about 1 mile, eventually you will be on a bridge. I always park on left side of the road on river right. Pull off holds 1-2 cars. Locals have always been polite, but again this is likely private land so be considerate. *Note: this take out gives you four miles of moving water Class I(II) after the gorge. There may be a better take out upstream, but I have never found it. If you can map scout a take out just below the Flat Creek confluence, take it.
Tom Hehnen @Old gauge
new rapid low water
summer time and the livins easy
Put in rapid Old Mill Falls
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