Difficulty III-IV
Length 1 Miles
Flow Range 200 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 24 minutes ago 282 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 01/26/2020 10:41 pm

River Description

Park at the Hooker Falls / High Falls parking area, follow signs for the foot bridge and trail leading upstream. When the trail starts to climb steeply head to the creek and decide if you put in above or below the long low-angle slide that ends here. The run consists of the long slide at the base of high falls, a couple nice class III/IV boulder rapids, then you go under the road bridge and shortly are at the lip of Hooker Falls. At low flows most folks run center, at high flows there is a nice left line. The right third of the drop lands on rock. It is easy to run laps on the falls by portaging back upstream on river right. When you are done take the short and flat trail back upstream to your car. 

The rapids on this section are good creekin practice for the boater stepping up with the creek skills.

Rapid Descriptions

Big Nuts

Class - III Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Good playhole with some consequences for a blown roll.

Rail Slide

Class - III Mile - 0.2
Sliding ledge move about 60 degrees to the current.


Class - IV Mile - 0.4
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Good boulder garden rapid. I like the way my buddy Ben describes this one... "more personalities than a crackhead on medicaid on a NY street corner."
That kinda describes Ben too.....
The easiest route through the rapid is starting left then heading to the middle finishing back to the right.

Hooker Falls

Class - IV Mile - 1
Sweet 15' falls. The horizon line is nearly invisible except for the small tree branch sticking out from the left bank just above the lip. Run on left to middle of the lip. DO NOT run this drop on the right, first off it would really suck. Second, it would cost a lot of money to have Humpty Dumpty put back together again. Best part about this drop is that it is about 1/4 mile from where you parked. Walk down and check it out.
After this, paddle over and make a few laps before the hike back to the car.


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Matt Jackson
2 years ago

Ran this many times but yesterday 5/16/2018 we were stopped by a ranger in the parking lot who said putting-on within 300ft of the falls will be ticketed. I believe he watched us run it as well. When you lap it, it would probably be worth walking a few extra feet upstream

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10 years ago

All I can say is...the higher the better here. Yeehaw!!!

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11 years ago

From DooleyOC-1 on Boatertalk - another rain gauge consideration. Use French Broad at Rosman with ~200cfs as a good minimum, ~275cfs is a better level.

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tucker deloach
12 years ago

great run! theres a sweet 6 foot ledge if u put literaly at the base of the third drop of triple falls. run it to the right or right center at higher water because the recirculation on the left pulled my buddy todds kayak into the falls and he had to swim.

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frank garrett
15 years ago

When you hike up the trail don't climb the hill. Walk along the river to the base of Triple Falls to put-in. Schitzo starts way left to right and finishes way left again. Below Schitzo there is another small boulder garden that needs to be run far left to keep from leaving plastic on the rocks. There is a little boof about 3/4 of the way down that can be seen fron the bridge as you cross the river.

Gage Descriptions

Visual. Check it out at the parking area for Hooker Falls. If you have adequate water in the rapids upstream of the bridge, the run will be good.
Davidson River Gauge is a good gauge to go by, because it is nearby and has a similar drainage area. If you disagree with the min. please post on here.

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  
2010-03-23 Low Injury Other Read More



article main photo

A Close Look at Cheoah River Fatalities

Charlie Walbridge

The recent death of Chris Clark at Python Rapid on North Carolina's Cheoah River is the third at this site in the last six years. In each case, the person who died was an expert paddler and their paddling partners did not see exactly what happened. Let's take a close look at the Cheoah below Bear Creek Falls and develop strategies for future runs. The river here is very fast and continuous. After a fast lead-in (Chaos), the river drops over Bear Creek Falls, a 12' drop. Below, most of the flow pushes toward the river right channel (Python). Ferrying over to the easier river left channel (the West Prong) requires careful boat control. Python itself contains several nasty holes and sieves, with a bad hole blocked by a boulder at the bottom. There is a good route through it, but paddlers need to plan their route carefully. Scouting is a good idea for first timers, although catching eddies and getting out is not  going to be easy. Groups need to stay together.. The rapid is tough enough that you can't watch your buddy all the time, but you can be ready to help if needed. Click through for links to the accident reports, photos, and comments from expert Cheoah River paddlers. (Photo above by Boyd Ruppelt)


Kevin Colburn


Adam Garrett


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1214244 01/26/20 Kevin Colburn updated description
1205175 08/05/15 Kevin Colburn map accuracy
1213241 07/09/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1213245 07/09/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1210972 01/26/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1213249 07/09/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1213258 07/10/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
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1213259 07/10/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1213260 07/10/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1191798 01/15/07 Adam Garrett n/a