Little Clear Creek, Tennessee, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||85 fpm|
|Max Gradient||190 fpm|
|CLEAR CREEK AT LILLY BRIDGE NEAR LANCING, TN|
|usgs-03539778||1200 - 4000 cfs||III-IV+||21d05h14m||3900 cfs (running)|
Shuttle is pretty simple. The takeout is at Lilly Bridge on Clear Creek. From Wartburg, drive on Hwy 62 for several miles, taking a left at the sign for Lilly Bridge. Go 3-4 miles to the bridge. Takeout here. For the putin, go back to Hwy 62 and make a left. Go 2-3 miles and you will cross Little Clear Creek. It is a signed crossing. There is a pullout on the downstream river right side after you cross the bridge. From here it is just a short bushwack to the creek. Routes vary with the season and it's underbrush content.
From Karl Whipp:
We ran Little Clear Creek this past weekend (12/16/02). What a great trip! The Emory @ Oakdale gauge was 10,000 and the Clear Creek @ Lilly Bridge gauge was 2,200. This was a great level. I took GPS readings at the put in and at the take out. The enitre run contained 164' of gradient. With this being a run of about 3 miles total and the first two miles being completely flat, it means that all of the 164' is in the 1/2 mile steep stretch (the last 1/4 mile has substantially less gradient ending on Clear Creek). The majority of this gradient lies in 4 main drops. From the top of the first big one to the bottom of the last big one is, in my opinion, about1/2 mile. This puts the steep section of the run in the 190-200fpm range over that 1/2 mile.
With a good guide, the entire run takes about 45 minutes. You can get a couple runs in in a days time.
The first two miles contains a few downed trees, all of which we limboed.
The first major drop is a triple drop of 30' or so that one guy in our group named "Leap of Faith". We're not sure that this triple drop really has a name, so we're calling it "Leap of Faith". It is signified by being the first real horizon line on the run, which is in a left hand bend in the creek. You cannot see the bottom from the top, nor can you see the top from the bottom. Enter the first ledge 3/4 left and drop over a 5 foot drop onto a slide. Dont pencil and dont land flat...about 70* is perfect. Stay 3/4 left with your bow pointing toward about 11:00 as the slide wants to push right. You should hit the bottom of the slide close to center where you will drop off a 4-6 foot ledge with water pouring in hard from the right through a sluiceway, which will kick you away from the undercut wall on the right. Brace into the water pouring in from the right if nessecary. Now your on another slide above the third drop, which is an easy ledge of about 4 feet into a pool. It is best to boof this one as it may turn into a bad hole with a little more water. Better safe than sorry. Once you're at the bottom, be sure to look back upstream....its quite impressive!
Insert from Kirk Eddlemon: At the end of the pool is the next stretch, currently with a log in the entrance. It is a class 3 jumble to a pool drained by a 4 foot ledge best run on the left boofing right.
The next drop (Novacaine), follows quickly and should definately be scouted and likely portaged. This one too is signified by a horizon line and has a huge rock on river right, forcing all the water into a left slot. Scout this one by eddying on the left immediately above the drop and getting out. There is a bad pinning rock right in the center of the first, main drop of an S-turn. If the pinning rock isnt enough, it is backed immediately by big undercut with all the water pushing directly into it, then exiting river right. We portaged left. At higher levels, this one may be runnable, but be aware of the hazards no matter.
Immediately below this portage is a small pool, drained by a 3' ledge into a pool, drained by a 8-10' ledge. Run the 8-10 footer (boofalicious), dead center for the super phat auto-boof into soft suds. Look for a very small curler at the lip in the center....that's your launch spot.
Up next is the last of the big ones, Oh Yeah! Again signified by a horizon line, this one reminded us a lot of the boof at National Falls on the Upper Yough, minus the really trashy pourover hole. You can scout from the center island if needed. There will be a small slot on river right, bordered on the right by a 45* sloping rock. Enter this one gingerly drifting right toward the slot and staying as high in the channel as possible while you line up. The key in this one is patience, not speed or power. As you approach the bend to the left through the slot, use a hard left stroke to drive up on the right side rock with 2:00 angle and start to slide your bow down the rock. As you come around the slot, you'll be thinking something like "uuhhh, I wasnt expecting to be staring right at a boulder", but never fear, you wont make it far enough to piton it. At the lip, drop another hard left stroke for the big boof. If you hit it right, you'll boof like a champ. If you dont hit it right, you'll pencil in and go deeeep! Duck under the undercut right wall in the run out if needed and float out the back. It is an easy hike back to the top over the island in the center. We ran it several times. Fun, fun, fun stuff!
From here to Clear Creek is tight, technical boulder field stuff, but everything is in view. Read and run your way to the confluence and on down to the take out at Lilly Bridge, or, head on down for a high water run on Clear Creek and the Obed to Nemo on the Emory. If you opt for the long run, beware cuz Clear Creek and the Obed will be CRANKIN!
For camping right at Lilly Bridge there is a really cool campground operated by a local boater/outdoorsman. His property also has an alternate putin that completely cuts the flat water out and puts you in right below the first madatory portage and right above the first rapid, Triple Drop. For more info, here is the link: Lilly Pad Campground
The owner of the campground is very friendly to boaters. Introduce yourself to him upon arrival, and ask if you can use the putin. A small donation towards the maintanance and operation of the campground would be appreciated.
For more information please click on the link below:
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|2.6||4 ft Ledge||III+|
This is no longer a mandatory portage. This is on a blind bend in the river, and you don't want to blunder into it. It is where an avalanche occurred many years ago. After many floods, it's cleaned itself up. You start with a small ledge at the bend in the river then stay center. You'll find another ledge with a tounge right down the middle. Keep an eye out for wood.
Triple drop consisting of a 4 foot drop onto a low angle slide into a six foot drop into another low angle slide into a 5 foot drop in the washout. This whole rapid bends left severely and the bottom cannot be seen from the top
This rapid has a riverwide boulder pile at the top that can be snaked through on the left, but don't commit untill taking a look. Eddy out on the left after going left of the boulder pile. The line is real fine, though at higher water the hazards may no longer be life-threatening. There is no good line at lower water.
This is right after Boofalicious. Go throught the right slot, powering up onto the wall, with a nicely timed shoulder boof, to avoid a close encounter with the rock on bottom left. Duck the overhang in the washout. This is the best rapid on the run IMO.