Yellow Creek (Cumberland Co.) - Catoosa Road to Daddy's Creek

Yellow Creek (Cumberland Co.), Tennessee, US


Catoosa Road to Daddy's Creek

Usual Difficulty III-IV+ (for normal flows)
Length 1.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 100 fpm
Max Gradient 150 fpm

Pretty Hate Machine

Pretty Hate Machine
Photo of John Guthrie by Kemper Begley taken 11/27/07 @ .9ft

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03539600 900 - 3000 cfs III-IV+ 01h23m 182 cfs (too low)

River Description

This run is smaller than Island, pretty similar in size to Little Clear Creek. It is not as quality as either, but is still a pristine and tiny plateau creek worth checking out.

The run starts with some easy 2-3 bedrock and then goes off a nice 6-foot sliding drop. After this is a set of crappy drops with wood and undercuts, With Teeth. Be on guard, especially at levels above 1 foot. After a tight bend to the right in this set, quickly get out and scout the next one for wood. This is the big rapid on the run, Pretty Hate Machine. It is a class-4 rapid with a nasty sieve on the right and a tight undercut passage on the left. You'll want to understeer this one on the left, lest you end to end in the slot. 2/3 of the time it is choked full of wood and getting out above it can be risky for the less than competent, or for anyone in there at high water. For the most part this drop sucks.

After this, the quality steps back up with plenty of read and run class 3 microcreeking. A hundred yards or more below the big one is Downward Spiral, a cool drop that needs to be entered on a channel on the left by ducking through some brush. Once into the groove, a nice shoulder boof high on the right will prevent an unpleasant pocket beat-down on the left. Set safety here if at all in doubt.

Next is Broken, a fun drop where you boof right off a center rock into an eddy, then ferry in behind the boof with all the flow, which slams into an undercut on the river left wall. You are heading towards the undercut, but if you drive right too soon or angle too hard right, you will hit a fan rock that will most likely deflect you hard into the undercut. Patience, grasshopper!

The problem with this run you will see, is it's not long enough. After downward spiral there is a little more boogie, with a neat slot against the right wall and another with a cool undercut cave on river right. This marks the end of the goods and the beginning of the class-2 paddle out.

This run is cool, but really is just a better putin option for Daddy's anytime it is going. Like most plateau microcreeks, the scenery is beyond description. Beautiful evergreen mixed with hardwood and pine, beautiful clear and green water, and intimacy make up for any lack of rapids quality or consistency.

One more thing to remember is you will be dumped into Daddy's half a mile above the canyon. If Daddy's is between 1.5 and 2.5 this will not be a problem, but if above 2.5-3 feet, be ready for continuous class 4 and dangerous conditions. If Daddy's is above 4 feet, Yellow would likely be too high anyway, but consider other options if not up for class 5 big water. I have run the combo when Yellow was 1.2 and Daddy's was 1.5. I have also done it when Yellow was 0.5 and Daddy's was 2.7. Bottom line is: find out where the rain fell. Streamflow gauges tell but one side of the story



For more information please click on the link below:


To know the TSRA hunting schedule and to know if the area is open or closed . Please click on the link below.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-09-27 18:04:30


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Yellow Creek BridgePutin
0.2With TeethIVHazard
0.3Pretty Hate MachineIVPortage Hazard Photo
0.4Downward SpiralIVHazard
1.3Confluence with Daddy's Creek

Rapid Descriptions

Yellow Creek Bridge
Parking upstream river right 30 feet 80 feet from bridge

With Teeth (Class IV, Mile 0.2)
Pay attention here, that's all.   There is wood and undercut banks.

Pretty Hate Machine (Class IV, Mile 0.3)

Entrance - Pretty Hate Machine

Entrance - Pretty Hate Machine
Photo of John Guthrie by Kemper Begley taken 11/27/07 @ .9ft

Its easy to blow right into this one, and its the hardest rapid on the run.  Enter center then right, catching an eddy behind a boulder in the middle.  From this micro-eddy you can see the line clearly.  Left of center all the way down, knifing through an undercut notch.  There is a drain sieve on the right in the hanging eddy halfway down.  Don't mess with it.  You may or may not be able to see a whirlpool sucking water down, but there is room for more in there.

Downward Spiral (Class IV, Mile 0.4)
Tight and fun. You will miss the entrance channel on river left your first time, but can launch in off a rock for the final drop, or ferry back upstream and enter the channel at the top.

Broken (Class III+, Mile 0.5)
Boat scoutable, just boof off right into the hanging eddy to see what the deal is

Confluence with Daddy's Creek
Water colume increase, Water quality decrease

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 27 2016 (750 days ago)
David WaltonDetails
Watch for submerged wood at the bottom of the drop in Downward Spiral. There is a large 4"-6"
diameter piece of wood wedged at the bottom of the drop. Visible only if you get out and look for
it. Currently presents a serious pinning hazard.
December 29 2013 (1844 days ago)
Alex ZendelDetails
Dangerous. blind wood in the drop immediately below the limbo log. More info:
December 21 2012 (2217 days ago)
Brandon HughettDetails
The log across the river is still there above Pretty Hate Machine. It's high enough that little
guys can squeeze under it. I chose to portage.
September 27 2009 (3398 days ago)
John GuthrieDetails
There is a large strainer right about Pretty Hate Machine. Right after the put in you make a couple
of moves down to the left where the large boulder is right before Pretty Hate Macine. A log spans
the entire channel.