Clear Creek - 2.- Blackberry Mountain Road to DNR Takeout (Cartecay River)

Clear Creek, Georgia, US


2.- Blackberry Mountain Road to DNR Takeout (Cartecay River)

Usual Difficulty I-III+(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 60 fpm
Max Gradient 60 fpm

Under the rock

Under the rock
Photo of Amanda Loftis by Will Reeves taken 01/09/06 @ medium-low

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02381600 1.70 - 8.00 ft I-III+(IV) 01h11m 1.68 ft (too low)

River Description

So your friends are running the Cartecay AGAIN for the 100th time this weekend and it just rained. The idea seems horribly boring so you are thinking there must be something else you can do.
There is an alternative, Clear Creek. Clear Creek is the small stream that confluences with the Cartecay at the base of Clear Creek Falls. Perhaps you have looked up it wondering what could be found upstream in that flood scoured riverbed.
Clear Creek was once fairly congested with trees, but the massive and I mean massive 2004 floods following the hurricanes gouged the creek bed free of almost all strainers and debris.
There is no direct gauge for Clear Creek. The nearest stream Fausset Creek is a good indicator. A quarter inch of rain is good enough to make it run since the watershed has been badly damaged by the floods. The creek is as a result rather flashy and drops quickly.

To reach the put in turn right onto Lower Cartecay Rd. after leaving the “River Right” put in from the Cartecay and drive about 200 yards. Take a right on Old Clear Creek Rd. Drive till you see Parker Dr. on your left. Go right here and almost immediately turn right again on Blackberry Mnt. Rd. Basically Stay on Blackberry Mountain Rd. as it twists and turns around along the ridgelines. You will eventually drop down into a river valley with a small bridge this is the put in. If it looks good then you have enough water. The takeout is at the Cartecay DNR takeout. Just go back to Lower Cartecay Rd and go left. Drive till the Rd. ends at Hwy 52. Take a left and drive till you see the DNR sign at the dump and go left again. Drive around the dump and down to the Cartecay river takeout. (THIS IS NOT THE BLACKBERRY TAKEOUT). The shuttle takes about 20 minutes.

Clear Creek could be a great beginner creeking trip. The only downsides are the unreliable water and possibly less an optimum water quality. The creek does drain some farmlands so expect the runoff to have some input from cattle.
Clear Creek starts off as a fairly easy Class I stream with some small shoals and occasionally overhanging trees. The floods of 2004 removed almost all strainers but some trees will require ducking under them. High water could require some short portages.
After about 10 minutes of floating, most boaters will notice the change in stream morphology and the massive rock island and outcrops blocking downstream view. This is the approach to Timber Falls. The medium to low water line is on river right. The drop is a double drop rapid with an undercut left wall. The high-water line is on river left over a single drop.
Almost immediately downstream with river makes a 180 degree turn around a rock outcrop and drops over a ledge into a tight flume. Stay left on the ledge to avoid the pinning rock in this drop.
Clear Creek then pools up above Headless Horseman, the hardest drop. This drop is a single rocky ledge into a narrow flume. The river is undercut on the left and will smack you in the face if the water level is high and you miss the line. There are some shallow rocks on the approach that can nock boats around.

After Headless Horseman the river calms down till you reach the final sliding drop. Both the center and left side of this rapid are good to go. Approximately 100 yards below Finale, Clear Creek confluences with the Cartecay River at the base of Clear Creek Falls.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-03-28 04:33:39

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.4Timber FallsIIIPhoto
0.4Timber Falls (left line)N/AWaterfall Photo
0.6Headless Horseman (bottom + view of undercut)IIIPhoto
0.6Headless Horseman (view of approch)IIIPhoto
1.0Clear Creek FallsIIIPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Timber Falls (Class III, Mile 0.4)

Timber Falls

Timber Falls
Photo of Will Reeves by Amanda Loftis taken 01/09/06 @ medium-low

The first major rapid is Timber Falls. Apperently a rd "Timber Falls Rd." comes fairly close to this drop on river right. The rapid is easy on both river left (single drop) or river right (double drop). The lower water line is on river right.

Timber Falls (left line) (Class N/A, Mile 0.4)

Timber Falls

Timber Falls
Photo of Chuck Kirk by Chuck Kirk taken 02/28/09 @ 1.92

The left line is a sliding drop.

Flume (Class III, Mile 0.5)

Clear Creek

Clear Creek
Photo of Amanda Loftis by Will Reeves taken 01/09/06 @ medium-low

After a small pool below Timber Falls the river makes a very strong turn around a blind drop. The top drop is a slide with a bad pinning rock on the right. The rapid then becomes a narrow flume and ends in the pool above Headless Horseman.

Headless Horseman (bottom + view of undercut) (Class III, Mile 0.6)

Headless Horseman (Clear Creek)

Headless Horseman (Clear Creek)
Photo of Will Reeves by Amanda Loftis taken 01/09/06 @ medium-low

You can see the undercut ledge on the left.

Headless Horseman (view of approch) (Class III, Mile 0.6)

Headless Horseman

Headless Horseman
Photo of Amanda Loftis by Will Reeves taken 01/09/06 @ Medium-low

A solid class III rapid. Headless Horseman is a slide into a vertical ledge with a pinning rock on the right and a big undercut on the left. At higher flows the rock on the left will smack you in the face.

Finale (Class II+, Mile 0.9)


Photo of Will Reeves by Amanda Loftis taken 01/09/06 @ medium-low

Finale is a slideing drop that is fairly straightforward and easy on the left or center. The right line is obstructed with rocks and a tree.

Clear Creek Falls (Class III, Mile 1.0)

(RM) Clear Creek Falls

(RM) Clear Creek Falls
Photo of Amy Conger by Rob Maxwell @ 2.5 ft

Clear Creek enters the Cartecay at the base of Clear Creek falls. An easy walk to the top lets boaters run this drop.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
November 9 2013 (1595 days ago)
calhounboi (155978)
We did a DNR run the other day and even though Clear Creek was low I wanted to hike up and check it
out. For anyone who runs the Cartecay because of convenience but also wishes there were more rapids
on it.....the hike up to Clear Creek is worth it. Can't wait to go back when there's more water in
it. Makes for a long day on the water if you do the Cartecay first and play any at all, so start
August 25 2013 (1671 days ago)
Chuck KirkDetails
As of August 25, 2013 all rapids from Timber Falls down are clean and clear of debris after the
recent floods. The high water flushed everything out including several feet of soil from the banks.
April 1 2012 (2182 days ago)
kayakingkid101 (153897)
Be very careful if you do happen to run the creek. My group ran yesterday and the main line at
Timber Falls (first big rapid) is completely blocked by a few trees; an alternative is the single
drop on river left which is runnable at a low level. Also, at Finale, there is a huge felled tree
immediately after the rapid. The rapid is runnable but you'll have to portage around the tree.
April 28 2011 (2521 days ago)
jdcarlson (152548)
as of 4/15/11 all rapids are clear. I ran it at 1.86 and scraped over 2 trees down in flatwater but
all rapids are clear and good to go
January 2 2010 (2637 days ago)
Chuck KirkDetails
1/1/11 The right line at Timber Falls is clear. This could change as Clear Creek Flashed today, but
when we ran it all rapids were clear of logs.
February 17 2010 (2956 days ago)
Mark NeislerDetails
I ran this on February 6, 2010 and the right side of Timber Falls (the first drop) is blocked by
more than one log. I would not consider running it on that side. The left side was clear. Make sure
you run to the left of the island with the propane tank sitting on top of it. The approach may
deceiving to first timers. There is a channel that cuts across from right to left above the island.
December 23 2009 (3012 days ago)
Chuck KirkDetails
The log in the right line at Timber falls has shifted down. It is still in the way but might be
able to be skirted at the right water level. The rest of the trees on this run are out of the way
except for one that you can easily paddle under. It is a before you get to Timber falls.
October 15 2009 (3080 days ago)
Chuck KirkDetails
The log below Finale is no longer blocking the creek.
March 1 2009 (3309 days ago)
Chuck KirkDetails
As of 2/28/2009 there is a log that is blocking the right line at Timber falls. 2 other logs block
the entire creek as well - 1 before Timber falls that can be squeezed under depending on the level
and 1 below Finale that must be portaged.

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

Or, consider donating