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Difficulty III-IV(V)
Length 2.16 Miles
Flow Range 3500 - 10000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 36 minutes ago 129 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2018 3:38 pm

River Description

Crooked Fork is a tributary of the Emory River on the Cumberland Plateau just south of Wartburg, Tennessee. This is part of the Obed-Emory River System.
If you are into waterfall creeking action, then the upper section of Crooked Fork is the place for you. This section hosts one 20ft drop (Class V) with a mandatory line and one 15ft drop (Class III+) which can be run almost anywhere. The rest of this run is class III-IV (after the first mile of class I).
Some choose to run both the upper and lower sections together while others choose to run only one of the sections.
Creek-boats and open-boats are recommended for this plateau gem, but a play-boat could be an option on a high flow day.

Articles and web links:
Potter's Falls made the front cover of the Summer, 1973 edition of American Whitewater Magazine.

Crooked Fork Tennessee Paddle Page

Waldens Ridge Whitewater CrookedFork

Camping Options:
Camping can be found in the nearby Obed Wild and Scenic River area at the Rock Creek Campground located at the Nemo Bridge. This is the take-out for the Lily to Nemo section of Clear Creek and the Obed Junction to Nemo section of the Obed River.

Probably the closest campground is found in Frozen Head State Park. It's only a few miles away offering not only campsites but also hiking trails to some cool waterfalls.

Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0
The put-in is off Hwy 27 beside a sewage treatment plant. Park in the grass but don't block any gates.

LaMance Falls

Class - 5.0 Mile - 1.56

Launch this 20 ft drop off the rock finger in the center. Making your line is a must since the landing zone is only about 10 feet wide. Rock shelves exists under the falls. As long as you launch off the rock finger, you will clear the rocks. Stay away from the right side of this falls due to the rock shelf.

For those not running the falls, portage on river-left. A path leads to the base where you can walk under the falls. When you're under there, notice the crumbly underlayer of oil shale which erodes much faster than the harder rock overlay, creating the undercut. Cool!

The huge rock monolith down stream of the plunge pool was once the lip of the falls. During the flood of March 1929 (195,000cfs@Oakdale) the rock broke off and was hurdled downstream and buried in the gravel, pointing to the sky and leaning slightly upstream as if bracing against the flood.

A grist mill once stood on the river-right cliff of this falls back in 1895.

Other information on LaMance Falls.

1st Boulder Garden

Class - IV Mile - 1.75
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This rapid is a boulder field divided by an island. The left line can be run at higher flows but at low water, there is a narrow chute that has several pin rocks. We portaged it at 4.6ft.

The right line seems to carry more water. Just be careful in the entrance as there is a badly undercut boulder on the left that has a lot of water going under. Many portage the entrance, walk 20ft and seal launch back in.

Just pick your way through this field of boulders. A few are undercut. You might need to take a quick scout.

2nd Boulder Garden

Class - III+ Mile - 1.9
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Same as before, eddy hop your way through the field of boulders. Follow the main channel just left of center.

Potter's Falls

Class - III+ Mile - 2.18

This 15ft waterfall is one of the easiest to run in the Southeast. Though it can be run most anywhere, the most common line is in the center over a small curler (upstream of the lip) which lines you up perfectly for a rock finger. The extreme right side of the landing zone is shallow. Caution: The center line is easy to boof so watch your landing. This is also the takeout for the upper section.

If proceeding downstream (to run Lower Potter's Falls and/or the entire lower section, please read information and cautions about Lower Potter's Falls in the full description for that section.

Other information on Potter's Falls.


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Brandon Hughett
9 years ago

As of 10/12/2010, the right side of the island below Laymance Falls in the first boulder garden is now clear. A large tree was blocking it but it was removed today. The log had been blocking the right line for nearly 4 year.

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Brandon Hughett
13 years ago

As of 11/18/2006, there is a log blocking the right channel of the 1st boulder garden. Get out and look before you round the bend and drop into the entrance.

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Karl Whipp
15 years ago

"Exiting the pool (below Lower Potters), stay river left and catch an eddy. You?ll see a big boulder in the center of the river half way through the next drop with a big pillow on it. You want to peel out of the eddy ferrying right, into the center and across the face of the pillowed rock into an eddy. This is a pretty cool move. I think the rock may be undercut, so don?t take it too lightly."

Not only is this undercut, but its actually 2 rocks forming a sieve with wood jammed in it. There is a third boulder as well, just to the right and it is undercut in a BIG way!

Be careful out there.

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Chris Bell
17 years ago

I am posting this comment for Karl Whipp:

Crooked Fork - Us 27 to Camp Austin, III-IV (V)

We ran this fun little stream on 12/15/02. The US27 bridge gauge was about 4.2. This was a fun level, but I would like to see it at about 4.5 - 4.7. 4.2 was a little bony with lots of screw-ya rocks in the boulder gardens below Lamance Falls and I would have liked to see a little more cushion at Lower Potters Falls. Other than the above mentioned, it was a pretty good level.

If you don?t already know this, the water quality pretty much blows on this creek. Just a heads-up and a plug for Coca-Cola. Coke will kill darn near anything you may swallow.

Gage Descriptions

The Crooked Fork gauge is on the downstream side of the US Hwy 27 bridge at the put-in. 3.4 ft. is getting low while 5.0 ft begins to get pushy. If the Emory River Gauge is reading 3500 cfs or more then Crooked Fork will probably be running.
About 4.2 is a fun level, but a little bony, with lots of screw-ya rocks in the boulder gardens below Lamance Falls, and Lower Potters Falls at this level also has very little cushion. (4.5 - 4.7 is likely a more enjoyable level.)

Directions Description

The Put-In is located at a sewage treatment plant a few miles south of Wartburg, Tennessee on US Hwy 27. From the Crooked Fork Bridge on US Hwy 27, go south 0.1 miles and make a right on the first road to the right. There is an Armes Chapel Missionary Baptist Church sign at the road. Go 0.9 miles and make another right, which is the first blacktop road on the right. There is an Armes Chapel Missionary Baptist Church sign at this road also. Go another 0.8 miles and turn right at the next road. The Potter's Falls Bridge (take-out for Upper Crooked Fork and the put-In for Lower Crooked Fork) is 0.4 miles down the hill.

Upper Put-In to Take-Out at Camp Austin Bridge on Emory River (Lower Section Take-Out):
From the Crooked Fork Bridge on US Hwy 27, go south 4.8 miles to the junction of S.R. 328 and make a right following the signs to Oakdale. Go 3.7 miles and make a right on S.R. 299 at a convenient store. Go down the hill 0.2 miles and make another right just before you cross the Emory River Bridge in Oakdale. The Take-Out at the Camp Austin Bridge over Emory River is 5.3 miles. Park across the bridge on the left side of the road or if you have 4-wheel drive, turn right at the end of the bridge and pull down next to the river (mud riding will be required). There used to be an alternate shuttle route to the Camp Austin Bridge on Emory River (Lower Section Take-Out) but it is now blocked.

No Accident Reports






Brandon Hughett


mark cumnock


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1209158 04/02/18 Rob move in/out (which were way off-river)
1192450 10/20/08 Brandon Hughett n/a
1198242 09/27/10 mark cumnock