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Difficulty II-III
Length 4 Miles
Flow Range 1500 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 52 minutes ago 296 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 05/22/2003 6:12 pm

River Description

Driving directions to the put in: From Damascus VA, take Rt. 58 to the intersection with TN 91. Turn right and continue on this road until you reach Backbone Rock. This road is well marked in town with a sign pointing you in the right direction. (To Backbone Rock/Shady Valley)From Backbone Rock you have two options for paddling this creek, 1.) is to drive past Backbone Rock access and decide where you want to put in along the creek. Or 2.) just put in upstream of the parking area and paddle down into the campground and run "laps" on this short section. This creek is a good run for those just getting into creek boating with the difficulty level being predominantly cl. II-III.

The take out is located in the town of Damascus VA jsut before you reach the turn for TN 91. Park near the red caboose "info" center and set shuttle here. Another option for running this creek is to take out at Backbone Rock. This gives the paddler the upper section of the "steepest" gradient and allows for some laps on the last couple of good drops.

When taking out at Backbone Rock, look for the last ledge drop just as you enter the campground and takeout just downstream of this. There is a trail that runs along the creek back to the vehicles at the Backbone Rock parking area.

Rapid Descriptions


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Le Scott
6 years ago

Because of its smaller watershed, the Beaverdam levels fall fast and don't correlate exactly with the levels at Whitetop. Ran it the other day at 2000cfs Whitetop, but that correlated more like 1300cfs for Beaverdam, a bony run. The Tennessee Laurel correlates much better with Whitetop, but still runs off quicker than Whitetop.

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Bing Oliver
14 years ago

If you follow the run all the way into town, there is a surprise class III near the end of the run. You'll see a horizon line and the right bank is a concrete wall. Scout left.

Gage Descriptions

South Fork Holston near Damascus should be running a minimum of 1500cfs.An indicator of area rainfall can be found at

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.

No Accident Reports




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Attention Virginia Boaters!

Jason Robertson

During the high waters of Spring 2003, there has been a noticeable increase in reported confrontations between boaters and property owners in Virginia. Please remember to be respectful and courteous to property owners; do not trespass; and avoid confrontation in order to preserve access in the future.

Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191687 05/22/03 n/a n/a