The Upper Tye is a classic Virginia whitewater stream. At most flows this is a class III-III+ stream. As with most mountain streams, the difficulty rating increases with more flow, with the usual consideration of fallen trees or logs in the river.
The usual put-in is at the Evergreen church on North Fork Road (Rt. 687). Please be respecful of the church and of locals in the area. Do not change in public view. Do not drink at the put-in. And, please, do not park in the church parking lot on Sunday mornings.
Using this put-in, you will actually start paddling on the North Fork of the Tye for a 200 yards or so, then enter the Upper Tye proper.
The short take-out after the first 3 miles parking is located on the south side of Rt. 56 adjacent to the swinging bridge where the Appalachian Trail crosses the Tye River. The Long take-out is at the Tye River Park in Massies Mill, VA. See the map and coordinates on this webpage.
Optional access points:
1. Tyro: (Roughly 3 miles down from Nash) - Appalachian Trail swinging bridge - See the map and coordinates on this webpage..
I agree; The Tye is very different in its upper reaches (III-IV) than after it breaks out into the valley (I-II). Corbett's 'VA Whitewater' lists this entire river as a single reach, but most folks do consider the upper Tye a separate run from the lower. I define the upper as Evergreen Church (on the NF Tye) to the swinging bridge by the Appalachian Trail parking lot and trail access along Rt 56 (~3.5 mi total), although I have heard of some people defining the upper Tye as Evergreen Church to Tyro (~6 mi total). Either way, this site should be modified to show the Tye as multiple runs.
02/27/16 ran it again this time at 450cfs, added some more padding on the rocks and made several of the lines a little easier but not a huge difference from last weeks 380. Again very fun run but a little more water would have been okay - thinking nutters comments below of a 550 minimum would defiantly bring this run up a notch and pad a lot more of the nusance rocks but would also bring several of the longer drops up a notch. In the 380-450 range I would consider it the minimum and at that level is a solid 3+ section with boat scouting and quick maneuvers mandatory (church to swinging bridge)
Ran from church down to AT swinging bridge. Level was 380 cfs and was a great intro to the tye for my boys. Was certainly boney and hitting rocks was par for the course- it still had enough water to make the drops exciting. I would certainly come back to the tye at this level but think that another 100cfs would really pad the rocks a lot more and really step up the difficulty. At this level, I would say this was a class III run with no stopping- a swim would have been long and nasty since the river really does not stop in the first half of the run (until you go under the second bridge- counting the one at the putin) With added water this is easily a class III-IV section and would require a strong roll since a swim would take a long time to collect. Did not notice or have to deal with any strainers but with a little more water would scout the first big right hand turn (big rock slot) for debris was a lot of "giant toothpicks" in that area.
Ran today for the first time from Evergreen Church to the Appalachian trail bridge. Level was just over 300 cfs. It was low but totally boatable in C1s. I think the listed 300 cfs for a minimum is reasonable. More would be better but it was still a fun run.
Jimmy - Thanks for the update on the removal of the strainer and powerlines. Good to know that the power company / others didn't just intend to leave them there. SYOTR
Ran on 12-4-09 at a low level about 550 cfs down to the the AT swinging bridge. This section was free of strainers, the tree mentioned below has been cut out and powerlines are no longer in the creek. The fallen tree that sticks out from the river left bank where Cox's Creek comes into the Tye has washed closer to the left bank, you still need to run river right but there is more room to get around it.
Midway through the run from Evergreen Church (NFT) to swinging bridge, there is a 20" diameter tree that forms a riverwide strainer. The tree was freshly cut (by chainsaw) on the river right bank where a set of powerlines crosses the river diagonally from left to right. Additionally, there are two (hopefully de-energized) powerlines IN the river running diagonally from river left to right just upstream of this tree. It appears that the power company recently had to replace the right bank pole and re-run the lines, so they cut the tree and left the old powerlines in the river and along the right bank. In the 780-720cfs range, the powerlines were out of play, but the tree was a mandatory portage. I'd recommend portaging on river left.
I seems like the 300 cfs minimum might be low for this run. We ran from the Evergreen church (NFT) down to the swinging bridge at 566 cfs and falling to 546 cfs. I'm gonna say 550 cfs would be my personal minimum for this run.
looks like we need to break this one into shorter runs.
9 years ago
by Emily Powell
There is a painted "RC" gauge on the Rt. 56 bridge over the North Fork Tye (about 100 yards below the church put-in). The gauge is painted on the downstream river-right piling. The riverbottom sediment changes here from time to time, which can throw off the gauge correlation. Currently a level of 2.25' on this painted gauge is probably a fair minimum level for the Upper Tye. Please feel free to post comments below on your own observations about flow levels or hazards.
The online USGS "Tye River near Lovingston" is farther downstream but is a good barometer for flow in the Upper Tye. A decent minimum flow to look for is around 250-500 cfs but it is probably possible to have fun at lower flows as well. Upper flows will, of course, vary depending on skill levels and other factors. Use your judgement.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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