Puting in at the takeout for the Upper section, the paddler is immediately thrown into non stop class 3 creeking for the next 2.2 miles. There are some crappy rapids and some quality ones. The big drop in here is called stop sign and is not a good place to miss a boof and/or swim. The recirculation can be terminal. If you are unsure, SET A ROPE or portage. The hole is scary. The boof is the best on the river, a great 6 foot launch pad.
Below stop sign, Spruce Flats Prong cascades in from river right, where more fun bedrock ledgy rapids wait. There is another half mile of class 3 before the run slows to class 2-3 to the takeout at Tremont institute. There is a nice parking area on river left on the other side of the road from the creek.
If you haven't had enough the last 1.5 miles is a relaxing but continuous class 2-3 creek trip that can als offer adventurous novices some exciting moments and good intro to the notion that hitting rocks is not always bad (creeking).
One more thing. There are always wood problems on this run and they are ever shifting. Have a plan for this.
Ran this section for the first time today. A bit odd as I've been living in and paddling near Knoxville, TN for a long, long time. The Little River gauge was rising as we got to the putin so it was probably 3.4feet which, I was told, was an excellent first-time level. And I couldn't agree more. As of today there were a few tree hazards, including one near Stop Sign Rapid (that strainer was river-wide, looked new-ish, but was 100% clearly in-view from the road and would probably be obvious from the river until another few inches of water puts it out of sight.
I enjoyed the first 1/2 mile or so, some nice boofs into eddies and a bit of read-&-run. After the first half mile it slowed down just a bit and I might rate it more class-3 rather than the pretty-constant class-3+ that started right at the putin.
Log in stop sign rapid as of 1-21-2006. Be cautious.
If the Little River above Townsend is at least 3 feet, this creek is likely to have water. Assuming even rainfall distribution and the water holding reasonably well, here are some correlations with the Little gauge:
3.0 - minimum
3.3 - good low
3.5 - medium
3.7 - good medium
4.0 - getting high
4.3 and up - high
The great thing about this run is it can be run pretty high or pretty low. This gives a window of runnablility of almost 3 days after a solid rain event, assuming good water table saturation prior to the activating rain event.
If the Little River at Maryville is all you can go by, look for 1500cfs as a good minimum. It does run with the Maryville gauge lower than this, but who knows.
A new visual gauge is located near the Tremont Institute. Here's information posted on Boatertalk.com:
"I think 100cm (top of the bottom meter stick) is a fair minimum. I ran it this morning at 95cm b/c that is all I had time for, but I probably should have gone to the Little. Hike-up Elkmont probably would have been better too.
115 cm is a nice level. med-low to med maybe?
130cm is solid, with holes and push. Some may call it high.
It's a metric gauge. There are two meter sticks (which are similar to yard sticks) one on top of the other. They are secured in a seemingly precarious and half-assed way, though they have now survived at least 3-4 years. So each stick being a meter has 100 centimeters (cm) on it, broken into units of 10cm. The runnable range IMO is 95-140."
"If just down to the first bridge, 85cm would be minimum."
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Lynn Camp/Thunderhead Prong Confluence
Lynn Camp/Thunderhead Prong confluence rapid (SH)
Stop sign rapid at 4.6 feet!
The big stuff!!
the drop at the stop sign
Tremont--Keith boof (team ELF)
Lynn Marks Creek confluence with Middle Prong of the Little
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