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Difficulty V
Length 1.4 Miles
Flow Range 2000 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 10 years ago 227 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 03/02/2007 9:49 pm

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.

Rapid Descriptions

Super Boof

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.25

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

The First big one

Class - 5.1 Mile - 0.4
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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

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 - 0.85
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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
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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
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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 - 1.25
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This is a large rapid of extended length that may require a scout.

Big Monster

Class - 5.2 Mile - 1.35
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Just doesn't look like any fun. A huge piton/pin at the bottom of an abrupt manky drop. Portage on the left.


default user thumbnail
Mike Nail
8 years ago

Headcam of this section.

Gage Descriptions

For most of modern paddling history the TVA gauge Little Pigeon at Sevierville has been used to speculate on flows on the Middle Prong. 2000 cfs was a good indicator for a reasonable run.

Now there is a better way. There is a gauge called Little Pigeon above Sevierville which measures the flow of only the Middle Prong and the East Fork of the Little Pigeon. This more accurately conveys flows in the upper stretches of the Middle Prong, as the West Prong is not included in the values recorded at this gauge location. This gauge is four miles upstream of the West Prong confluence

Using local radar rainfall totals, investigate whether the rain was valley precipitation or whether it fell in the higher altitudes at the top of the headwaters. If it fell high then look for levels of 2000 cfs or more for good flows. If it is still rising it is anyone's bet, based on rainfall totals. If it is falling and is below 2000, then this run has already expired.

National Weather Service/NOAA Rain gauge for Sevier County
Newfound Gap is a good rain gauge for this run, though it is in one watershed west, that of the West Prong Little Pigeon. If there has been an inch and a half or more, this is likely to be running, with more rain required after extended dry periods.

This run is navigable on a more regular basis than people realize, and has a sizable drainage.

This run is high in the watershed, and runs off quick usually. Look for heavy rainfall at Newfound Gap, and the beginnings of a large spike on the referenced streamflow gauge.

At the US 321 bridge, there is a gauge on the midstream river left bridge abutment that is faintly spraypainted on the upstream face. Unfortunately as of 12/2006, the gauge is not readable and needs a repaint real soon.This is downstream of the confluence with Porter's Creek, which can bring in equal or higher volume than Middle Prong itself. The section described herein can be running as low as 2 feet on the gauge and not running with as much as 3 feet. It depends on the amount of water coming down Porter's Creek and whether the system is rising or falling. With uniform rainfall and arival just after the peak, look for levels of 2.5 as a minimum and 3.2 as a maximum. The trailhead down can be run lower and Porter's confluence to the 321 bridge at even lower levels.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports





Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192829 03/02/07 n/a