Crooked Fork Creek - US 27 to Potter's Falls (Upper)

Crooked Fork Creek, Tennessee, US


US 27 to Potter's Falls (Upper)

Usual Difficulty III-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 60 fpm
Max Gradient 100 fpm

LaMance Falls

LaMance Falls
Photo of G by Tom Rennalls @ 4.65 ft Hwy 27 gauge

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
- 1000 - 2500 cfs III-IV(V) cfs
usgs-03540500 3500 - 10000 cfs III-IV(V) 01h12m 4890 cfs (running)

River Description

Crooked Fork is a tributary of the Emory River on the Cumberland Plateau just south of Wartburg, Tennessee. It is considered to be a part of the Obed River System.
If you are into waterfall creeking action, then the upper section of Crooked Fork is the run 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 while the first mile is class I.
Some choose to run both the upper and lower sections together while others choose to run only the upper section.
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.

The Crooked Fork Tennessee Paddle Page



Waldens's Ridge WhiteWater information:More web information

Shuttle Directions:

Upper-Put-In to Take-Out at Potter?s Falls Bridge:
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, which is the 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. 

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.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-09-27 16:56:54


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put-InPutin Photo
1.4LaMance Falls5.0Hazard Waterfall Photo
1.61st Boulder GardenIV
1.82nd Boulder GardenIII+
2.0Potter's FallsIII+Takeout Waterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions


Upper Crooked Fork Put-In

Upper Crooked Fork Put-In
Photo of Put-In by Brandon Hughett taken 11/2005

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 1.4)

LaMance Falls

LaMance Falls
Photo of G by Tom Rennalls @ 4.65 ft Hwy 27 gauge

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. The portage is on river left. A path leads to the base where you can walk under the falls.

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 1.6)

This rapid is a boulder field that is 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 a lot of the 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 1.8)
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 2.0)

Tera running Potter's Falls

Tera running Potter's Falls
Photo of Tera by Tom Rennalls taken 03/16/08 @ 4.65ft Hwy 27 gauge

This 15ft waterfall is one of the easiest to run in the Southeast. Though it can be ran most anywhere, the common line is run in the center over a small curler which lines you up 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.

Other information on Potter's Falls.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 12 2010 (2687 days ago)
Brandon HughettDetails
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.
November 18 2006 (4111 days ago)
Brandon HughettDetails
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.
January 17 2005 (4781 days ago)
Karl WhippDetails
"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

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.
December 29 2002 (5531 days ago)
Chris BellDetails
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.

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Or, consider donating