Very beautiful, looks like fun, but with a well-deserved nasty reputation. Many good boaters apparently figure it's simply not worth it Gomer wrote, in Boater Talk: "Over a mile carry-in to the Falls. Counting the lead-in drop, I'd say it's a double drop of perhaps 60'. Probably best to run it with a lot of water so you'll land in a foam pile instead of on a static surface. There's a small rocklip in the lower part of the main drop that can launch one into an automatic boof, and, as GaCreeker says above, that's not desirable. The last time I was there (many moons ago) a good friend severely injured his back and never returned to the sport at the level he was at prior to that incident. You can run all the way down to the takeout for the Piney River. It is a total of about seven miles with the first 2.5 being on Stinging Fork and the last 4.5 being on Soak Creek. Stinging Fork has a gradient of close to 280 ft/mile. Other than the falls, Stinging Fork has a twenty foot slide shortly after. There are some nasty undercuts, but some good ledges and rapids as well. There is wood. Soak Creek averages 100 ft/mile, so expect some good class 3 boogie with possible strainers and shoaly regions. Ga_Creeker's contribution was, simply: "Don't boof it. I know of several people that have hurt their back on this one."
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The falls was run as far back as the mid 1970s by Mark Hall, Patrick McNally, and Alan Singley. A photo of their run graced the wall of Bruce Hare's Chattooga Whitewater Shop for many years. From Robin Sayler: "The 'classic' picture of Stinging Fork Falls was of Pat McNally, taken by Singley. Pat, Alan, and Mark Hall were there in the mid '70's in the middle of winter, at REALLY high water. They couldn't run anything else, so they hiked in to SF. They all ran it multiple times, and Alan even has a picture of Mark running it backwards, though unintentionally. There is a not-so-good picture of Alan running it around somewhere."
Note: Robin fractured his back when he, Bobby Gaar, Danny Tipton and I were there in 1983.
From Clay Wright:
From Mark Cumnock
This one is noted for the big drop that can break backs, as noted by a group from Kentucky who first ran the drop in the late eighties. Later Clay Wright perfected the line on the drop. Later Jeff Richards, Bailey Johnson and myself put-in at the headwaters and ran to the take out (the same take out for Piney Creek) hoping to pioneer and open up the run. Mainly a disappointment, all the gradient is chewed up at the falls. If you want this drop you are better off hiking the trail to the falls, and get out the camera. Then hike back to the car. It is a long paddle for one Drop, there is a slide after the big one and after that it starts to slack up. It is a very pretty run even compared to all the others in the region.
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Stinging Fork Falls
Stinging Fork Falls, TN - 1983
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