Little Pigeon, Middle Prong - 1. Ramsey Prong confluence to Bridge at Trailhead

Little Pigeon, Middle Prong, Tennessee, US


1. Ramsey Prong confluence to Bridge at Trailhead

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 1.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 414 fpm
Max Gradient 461 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03469175 2000 - 5000 cfs V 8y253d06h30m 227 cfs (too low)

River Description

This is one of the most quality runs in the Smokies. The hike up is a beautiful and pleasant walk through the smokies. It is a little steeper pitch and more constant than Big Creek's hike up, but is shorter. And heck, the steeper the hike, the better the run, right?

This run is of the same difficulty as the Trailhead Section of the West Prong. It has a little more breathing room as far as pace and continuity, but this is undermined by the larger drops spaced more frequently and evenly along the run than the WP. Unlike the West Prong's large drops being all put together in the distance of 1/4 mile, Ramsey's has them throughout the whole 1.4 miles. There are some incredible boofs. One near the beginning stands out as being the best in the smokies. The boogie is high quality class 5. This is considering the boogie on Upper Big Creek is quality class 4. Interlaced in the boogie are frequent large drops that should possibly be scouted. A guide might be neccessary the first few times, as this run is braided in spots with only one channel being safe. There is a spot called the Death Sieve about 2/3 of the way down that one must be aware of. It looks just like any of the other 100's of blind turns, but is something more. There is a super cool sneak on the left. Soon after is one of the big boys, a manky entrance into a full on shallow corridor of about 20 feet in drop. The river then gathers momentum and drops over a manky ledge that is sieved out on the left. Aim right. The last big one above the eight footer at the trailhead bridge is like a big version of monster on Upper Big Creek. Walk on the left. Enjoy.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2007-03-02 21:49:50


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.3Super BoofIV+Waterfall Photo
0.4The First big one5.1Hazard
0.7Island Rapid5.1Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.9The flume5.0Hazard Waterfall
1.0Death Sieve5.3Portage Hazard Waterfall
1.1You gonna like it5.0
1.3Toby's Tumble5.1Hazard
1.4Big Monster5.2Portage Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

Super Boof (Class IV+, Mile 0.3)

Flying off superboof

Flying off superboof
Photo taken 01/25/10 @ a good level

Ride out on the dragon's back and boof off. You will be smiling.

The First big one (Class 5.1, Mile 0.4)
A shallow ten foot lead in boof with a narrow line leads into a sharp swerve left to avoid the whole right side of the river which is a mankfest. Then one drops six feet into a crazy wash out.

Island Rapid (Class 5.1, Mile 0.7)

Island Drop

Island Drop
Photo taken 01/25/10 @ a good level

A huge smoothe boulder splits the flow, with a tight sieved out eight footer on the right, and a technical line with wood on the left. A portage can be accomplished after scouting by lowering down from the boulder into the eddy between the two different lines.

The flume (Class 5.0, Mile 0.9)
This is a large twelve foot sliding plunge of about 70 degrees into a big hole against the right wall. Angle right to left and get your bow up. The drop levels out at the hole to facilitate this. Really fun one.

Death Sieve (Class 5.3, Mile 1.0)
It has been run by Nate Helms and John Grace, but not recommended. There is a cool ten foot sneak on the left, where you push off the wall, kinda like silver box on the West Prong at low water. Good fun.

You gonna like it (Class 5.0, Mile 1.1)
A long series of shoulder and pourover boofs spaced closely and super steep. There will be an abnormally large drop somewhere near the bottom of ten feet or so into a large hole. You should be grinning by the time you get there.

Toby's Tumble (Class 5.1, Mile 1.3)
This is a large rapid of extended length that may require a scout.

Big Monster (Class 5.2, Mile 1.4)
Just doesn't look like any fun. A huge piton/pin at the bottom of an abrupt manky drop. Portage on the left.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
February 10 2011 (2688 days ago)
Mike NailDetails
Headcam of this section.
July 1 2009 (3277 days ago)
Mark SingletonDetails
Park Dispatch Office number (865) 436-1230 See BoaterTalk post: June 25, 2009 - If you didn't catch it, an
overturned kayak was found just outside of the Smokies on the MP of the Little Pigeon. It spurred a
search and rescue scenario that was serious enough for it to be reported to local TV stations. Not
sure of the outcome and I hope everyone is OK. But this did raise a very significant question. Who
do we notify when we a boat gets pinned or gets out of our control in the Smokies and darkness or
other circumstances force us to abandon it for any period of time? My friend Russell asked this
question and this was his post on a local paddling list serve. I asked the GSMNP folks what would
be the best way to report a lost boat.Here is their reply: Hello, If there is a report of an
accident or missing person, the park responds and/or conducts a search, but just finding an empty
kayak in the water would not necessarily result in a full-fledged search and rescue effort as the
town of Pittman Center launched during the recent incident. If one of your club members loses a
boat, but is otherwise okay, please call the park's Dispatch Office at (865) 436-1230 to let them
know that an empty boat may be found and it is not an emergency situation. This is a non-emergency
line which is staffed from 6:00 a.m. - midnight, but if a serious accident or other emergency has
occurred in the park, sometimes all available dispatchers have to concentrate on radio
communications among responding units and don't answer the line. If there is an accident with a
serious injury or a member of your party is known to be missing, please call 911. Best regards,C.
BloomGreat Smoky Mountains National Park

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