Clear Creek - 1. US 127 to Barnett Bridge


Clear Creek, Tennessee, US

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1. US 127 to Barnett Bridge (Upper Upper Clear Creek)

Usual Difficulty I-II+(III) (for normal flows)
Length 20 Miles
Avg. Gradient 18 fpm
Max Gradient 40 fpm

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Mini Awesome View

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
CLEAR CREEK AT LILLY BRIDGE NEAR LANCING, TN
usgs-03539778 400 - 1000 cfs I-II+(III) 00h49m 377 cfs (too low)


River Description


20 Miles from Hwy 127 to Barnett Bridge, the next bridge. 4.5 more miles to Jett bridge. Many of the local paddling clubs do overnighters on this section. The rock houses are mysterious, wonderous and deserve to be explored. Some of them are incredably large, some overhang the creek and others are so deep in the woods that you only get a hint of there existance as you paddle by. We paddled from the put in on Hwy 127 to Jette Bridge once,25 miles, in our K1 creek boats. The first 10 miles were OK, the next 10 were painful and the last 5 miles were torture, knowing that we could have parked at Barnet Bridge, instead of Jette. This run is made for big open boats or touring kayaks.
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StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2006-05-08 23:54:12

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

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February 6 2012 (1909 days ago)
x (1)
Ben Burns We ran this upper part at 2,000 Cf's with open boats and Kayaks, do not run more than 900
Cf's the class II is pushed to class III with some III +. You will have to portage about ten times
due to dead fall. NOT FOR BEGINNERS!! I boat class IV-V a lot and took some beginners down and had
to hike out around mile 17 due to they were not mentally ready for this trip.
April 5 2009 (2945 days ago)
Alex ZendelDetails
Paddled this for the first (and last) time April 4-5, 2009, level at Lily was mid to high 500s,
which felt low, but sufficient. I don't want to sound like a snob, but I feel that I should say
something to those considering this run. 1) LOTS of FLAT water. This run re-defines flat water.
Many long pools with pretty much zero current; if you don't paddle, you don't go anywhere. 2) We
were attracked to this run because several people reported mind-blowing scenery. Yes, there are a
good number of scenic spots, but they represent 10% of the run. Most other plateau runs way
out-compete this run in the scenery dept. I'm never going back.
May 4 2006 (4012 days ago)
James LockeDetails
This is a trip report from Chota Canoe Clubs listserve about our trip last weekend:

The Mission: a route typically used for an overnighter
The Crew: Duckie Boy and The-One-Who-Needs-A-Real-Helmet
The Setting: Clear Creek from the 127 bridge to Barnett
The Level: 350 cfs at Lilly (consider it minumum for a day paddle). It had
peaked two days earlier
at around 750.

A beautiful Saturday dawned with a plan to meet at the Ranger Station in
Wartburg.
We knew there might be a little paddling involved (about 20 miles) so the
meeting time was set for 8am.

Put-on time: 9:23
The first several miles were very pretty although scrapy (lots of
wheelchair boating). The highlight
of that section was about 50 yards of the river where you ran under a wide
rock shelf (think of a taller
version of the cave on Island Creek)). Lots of scenic camping areas and
small waterfalls joined the
river, slowly raising the river level. Lots of dogwood still blooming and
the wild azaleas were thick
with white and pink blossoms. We had heard that the first few miles
dropped about 15 feet to
the mile, then went to about 40 before settling back down. The steepest
section had some pleasant
class 2 stuff.

A few areas had some portages. There were two rapids in
the first 8 miles that could
cause trouble with more water. Easily boat-scouted, but no obvious lines
at the low level we were using.

The toughest part was the "10 Mile Lake" in the middle. Although not much
more than one mile in
length, there is little as demoralizing as a long stretch of flatwater
followed by several more in
succession.

Around mile 16, we ran into 5 canoeists who had been on the river for two
nights and were going to
spend another night there. They were a little amazed at the distance we
had covered. Would have liked
to chat more, but we had a schedule to maintain. At this point, my
shoulders were starting to complain.

Around mile 19, we hit the only significant rapid on the stretch; Monte
Smith has a picture of it in
at least one of his books. A class 3, the biggest hazard is that you run
it blind. The river turns
to the left for about 30 yards and then turns back right. At that point,
you finally see the double
drop. Not a problem in a kayak, a loaded canoe should have everything tied
down. Plan on hitting
the line on the right if you can.

3/4 miles later, we were at Barnett bridge, a mere 6 and a half hours after
the put in.

The whole trip was like a wilderness hike where you could sit down the
entire time.
Recommended for strong paddlers who need a break from steep creeks, also
suitable for flat water
folks (easy portages except for the last rapid). If you do an overnight,
you can probably run it a lot lower
although the first four miles will take longer as you hike alongside your
boat.
February 7 2005 (4463 days ago)
James LockeDetails
Copied from Bill & Nancy on Boatertalk:

I am posting this because there is not much info available on this run.
Saturday Feb 5 2005
Overnight canoe camping trip. in an Old Town Discovery 15.6 float bags front and rear

Put on at 9:30 Jett bridge @ 3.1 feet don't know the cfs because some idiot got the gage taken off
USGS UGH!

First six miles technical with a few bony spots. Very intimate , closed in cliffs, beautiful. One
spot you paddle under a large rock house: COOL. Another spot a waterfall falls in over a rock house
into the creek. You could camp inside the rockhouse behind the falls and it would be great because
someone has built a fireplace complete with chimney in there. The morning sun shines through the
waterfall creating an amazing display. YOu would probably need to make it a 2 night trip to use
this site because it is only about 1 1/2 miles in. In this top stretch we had to carry once and had
to get out of the boat about 3 more times and do a short slide over rocks due to some unrunnable(by
us with a loaded canoe @ this water level) rock jumbles. I was beginning to get worried about
making the trip in two days because we were not making good time and were getting tired. We flipped
once the first day @ the bottom of a rapid. Made it 8 miles or so the first day. Very quiet. We
heard only 2 small airplane engines on the whole trip and that was it for man noises. Water is
swimming pool clear.

After the first 6 miles, the river opens up and takes on many small tributaries with the rapids
becoming a little more powerful and getting a few waves. The second day went much faster. We did
the last 12 or so miles in about 5-6 hours including one swim and one portage around a river wide
tree, and a lunch break. With 5 more inches of H2O we could have blasted over this tree. The double
drop at the end has been reported to be 1/2 mile from the end but my gps gave it as 0.74 miles. Be
on guard. It looked runnable but the lead in is blind and appears to be just another class II wave
train from right to left dissappearing on the left. eddy out on the right to scout/ portage. If you
get on this wave train around the left you are comitted to running the rapid *about class III+ at
this level- undercut bottom left! FOr some reason from upstream the noise of the rapid is muffled
and it does not even sound louder that the many class I-II rapids on the run. We may have tried
running it but we had had a good fright a few miles above. There are 2 or three rapids in the last
5 miles that have current blasting into large storage shed sized boulders. GOing by the rule that
every rock in the Obed system is undercut, we assumed that they were undercut although this was not
clearly visible. On one of these we missed our line and rammed head on into the rock. I went by the
principle that if you are going to hit something, it is better to hit it head on. When it became
clear that we would hit it, I just aimed for a head on collision. We rammed hard and broke the
plastic nose piece of the boat. At least this stopped the momentum so that when we presently got
pushed sideways into the rock we were able to lean in to the rock and hold the boat off with a
heismanlike push to keep the boat from pinning. We lost both paddles and it was very dicey for a
moment. Luckily we managed to hold the boat off long enough for us to eventually wash around the
rock. One paddle was floating nearby and I grabbed it and retrieved the other paddle.

Summary:
* 3.1 on jett is enough water. would be fun with less.
a lot more could get hairy for loaded canoe
* Don't get discouraged by the first few miles. They are beautiful but rocky and full of pinning
opportunities. the last half goes much faster.
* This is a challenging trip with a loaded open canoe. I have been boating 10 years, kayak class IV
nearly every weekend, raft guide in the summer, and canoe often, and this was a challenging trip
for me. If you are not experianced, you will probably not die on this run, but you could end up
hurt or with lost gear and a pinned boat and no "reasonable" way to secure assistance.
From our campsite there was no way within a short distance to hike out of the gorge unless you are
a good rock climber with gear. Hwy 62 as about 1.5 to 3 miles North as the crow flies (river left).
Hiking out would be very difficult.


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