Logistics: From Tellico Plains head east on Highway 165 out of town and at mile 5.3 you will
come to the Oosterneck Day Use Area that is generally used as the take-out for this reach due to
the ample off-road parking. Continue on up the road another 0.1 mile and turn right on FR 210.
The Ranger Station access is at mile 0.4 but there are numerous roadside pullouts and any of the
ones in the first two miles make good alternative take outs particularly for those who are
continuing from the ledge run that starts above this one. The great thing about this run is you can
pick your access point depending on how much time you have and what you want to run. The
traditional put-in for this middle reach is at the bridge at FR 210 mile 5.3. Put-in on upstream
river left where you will find a good pullout. If you want to run 2 miles of quality class IV you can
check out the next run upstream that includes Baby Falls and several fun ledge drops.
Description: The Lower Tellico provides paddlers with a unique opportunity to choose from
one of several different possible runs by selecting from multiple access points. Those looking for
more of a challenge start their runs further upstream, while those who donÂt want to get things
started right away with challenging class III drops can find an access a short distance downstream.
The convenient roadside access makes it easy for folks to join the group wherever they feel most
comfortable. The gradient over the 5 miles of this run averages 50 fpm but gradually ramps down
in the one mile segments as follows: 80, 53, 45, 40, and 32.
The run starts right off with a bang at the first class III rapid at the bridge. The hole under the
right side of the bridge can get mean at higher flows. Only a short distance downstream youÂll find
the next class III known as Ledges. The next rapid is Bounce off Boulder (BOB), notable by a large
sloping rock on the left. Long boats can get enders in the hole at the base of the boulder, short
boats can get nearly looped. Turkey Creek which enters from river right 0.8 miles into this run
serves as an alternate access that avoids these more challenging drops and is also an alternate
take-out for those running the upper run.
Below this point the run is mostly class II with occasional class III drops including Crack in
the Rock (class III), Gregs Nose (class III), Submarine (class III-), and Pylon Rapid (class III-).
Reeders Rock is another named
class II that comes after these. This rapid is noted for the keep right sign and the deceptive
undercut wall on the left. The nasty undercut is the rock that the sign is on, but the walls
downstream are undercut as well. There was a drowning here in 1989. In another mile youÂll reach
the Ranger Road access. Paddlers typically continue another half mile downstream to the access at
the Oosterneck Day Use Area.
See Julie Keller's excellent article
for additional information as well as Grateful Ed's Virtual Tellico Tour.
The Tellico is a great river for a group as just about everyone can find something to enjoy, and
even if the water gets high you can check out other sections. In addition to a couple of tributary
creeks, the other Tellico runs include:1. Trout Hatchery to Bridge above
Bald River (Class II-III+),2. Bridge above Bald River to
bridge below Jerod's Knee (Upper Tellico) (Class III-IV+) 4. Ranger Station to Tellico
Plains (Class I-III).
The section from the bridge below Jared's Knee to the Pylon rapid is a fun, pool-drop, easy intro to creeking run and is one of my favorites. This section has class III drops sprinkled amidst many class II and III-. I would call the section as a whole class III-, not class II-III, but that's me. The rapids are all forgiving, but be on the lookout for wood. I park a take-out vehicle at Pylon, or at Wonderwoman rapid just above Pylon. At lower flows the river past Pylon to Oosterneck can be a slog. Parking where I mentioned also takes the hassle/worry of Reeder's Rock out of the picture if you have newbies along. I've heard tales of an OCA canoe disappearing under Reeder's for a few days, so I give it a wide berth.
I've run this section as low as 1.4, but 1.8 is fine, 2.3 is better, and 3.0 is a hoot.
3/15/14 Tellico was great. We put on at about 3.5ft we did the bridge below Jared's knee to the ranger station. Mini me, maxi me, and safety kayak. Everything was great for rafts, maybe to big for George in the canoe.
For good class 4 boaters the lower tellico is a great time at flows when the upper starts to get really scary. On those days when the rock in diaper wiper is kicking up a 10 foot roostertail and Jarrods knees is three riverwide holes....but you don't have time to drive over to citico (or citico is dry) then move on down to the lower. One area to pay close attention is the hole under the put-in bridge. The river right side starts to get evil about 1200 cfs and generally keeps getting more nasty.
My experience runs out at about 3000 cfs, but at that level most of the run was still boat scoutable.
1 year ago
by Jim Knowles
10 years ago
11 years ago
Low 200 cfs, High 1200 cfs. At high water this is a fun bouncy run for experienced paddlers who decide they donÂt want to have an epic on
the Ledges section. Flow available at 1-900-288-8732.
Gauge: conversion table, feet to cfs
1.0 66 3.5 998 8.0 4100
2.0 330 4.0 1250 9.0 5400
2.2 403 4.5 1515 10.0 7308
2.5 526 5.0 1800 11.0 9608
2.7 618 6.0 2400 12.0 12,330
3.0 770 7.0 3150 13.0 15,520
To find the gauge:
As you head out of Tellico Plains on Highway 165 look for Highway 360 which turns to the left across the river. Immediately after you cross the river take the first right.
The concrete gauge tower is a short distance upstream of the bridge on river right. You can scramble down to read the staff gauge on the outside.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Reeders Rock Looking Upstream
Reeders Rock Looking Downstream
Lower Tellico 2
1st rapid below Put-In (The Ledges)
Bounce Off Boulder - Tellico
James Locke & James Cornett Bridge rapid
Open Boat Boogie at Bounce-Off Boulder
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
The US Forest Service is organizing a river cleanup on Tennesse's Annual River Clean Up on Saturday, March 08, 2008. Last year’s clean up saw over 200 participants and nearly 2 tons of trash was collected along TellicoRiver, North River and the North Carolina OHV Area. This event is being sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, Trout Unlimited, Chattanooga Trout Association, American Whitewater, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!