Wildcat Creek (Tellico Tributary) - Source to Tellico River

Wildcat Creek (Tellico Tributary), Tennessee, US


Source to Tellico River

Usual Difficulty III-IV+ (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 100 fpm
Max Gradient 135 fpm

Tail end of the Wildcat

Tail end of the Wildcat
Photo of Ken Strickland by Hank Zachary @ Medium (Tellico 5')

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03518500 5.00 - 7.00 ft III-IV+ 01h03m 1.89 ft (too low)

River Description

Really fun, tiny, and incredibly scenic run. Lots of trees throughout. The run has two distinct sections of class 3-4.  The first section starts with the V8 minigorge and ends shortly after Reconnection, a good boof-to-slide affair of 12 feet.  Some class 2 shoal rapids follow for a mile or two with maybe a sporadic class 3, then towards the end you get two to three more good class 3-4 boulder jumbles ending with The Icing--an 8 foot ledge with a great fading boof on the left shoulder--just 100 yards above the confluence with the Tellico.  There is no class 5 in here as long as the water is not high.  You will get the feeling of being one of the few to have done it.

From Put In #1 (referenced in the directions) to the start of the V8 minigorge is approximately 0.6 miles.  The gorge starts when the creek makes a hard, blind left turn through some faulted bedrock (will be hard not to notice).  This is a must run. The gorge is 10 feet wide all the way through, narrowing to an exit just a little bit wider than your boat.  If wood collects in here it will be difficult/impossible to avoid.  From an eddy on river left about 30 yards above the start of the gorge, you can easily get to the overhanging lip and scout the entire length from this vantage point. Could portage from this side as well, just would take a little while.

For a good runnable level, look for Tellico to be 5 feet and rising, or for 2-3 inches of widespread low elevation rain in the past 12 hours. The Tellico should probably peak at least 6 ft for a medium level.  Timing is important and putting on more than two hours after the Tellico has peaked may be too long.  I would rate this run 3-4+. Good fun. Best run in the Tellico watershed. Don't put on too high, because of the wood though.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-02-13 21:38:08


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
3.8The IcingIV+Waterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

For many this will be the tiniest putin you will ever see.

V8 (Class IV+, Mile 2.1)
This rapid is 100 feet long and virtually unportageable. Its possible, but you will want to run it unless it is full of wood. Unique spot for sure.

Reconnection (Class IV+, Mile 2.3)
Some try to come in low on the left and slide back to center. The move of choice is the boof over the hump in the middle with a reconnnection onto a 10 foot slide that's smoother than vanilla.

The Icing (Class IV+, Mile 3.8)

Wildcat Creek

Wildcat Creek
Photo of Hank Zachary by Ken Strickland @ Medium (Tellico 5')

This is unexpected, and perhaps the most satisfying drop on the run. Only a quarter mile from the takeout it is a perfect end to a perfect run. The river funnels down to the right and drops over an 8-10 foot converging drop which slams into the right slightly undercut wall. come in center trying to stay back and then charge the left shoulder and keep it straight for a sweet boof. Don't grab too much rock, and don't fall off early. Either will result in going deep.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
January 8 2015 (1438 days ago)
Wes BrownDetails
Ran Wildcat this weekend on January 4th 2015. There were 7-8 wood portages, and another 7-8 that
required creative maneuvers to avoid getting out of our boats. We scouted every blind spot to be on
the safe side and the run took 3.5 hours. V8/Minigorge was completely clear (!), Reconnection had a
tree that didn't really affect running the rapid and The Icing was clear. Only one tree prevented
running a decent class 3 type rapid, all other portages were in flat sections or class 2 rapids. We
put on when the Tellico was 6.2 ft and had peaked just 30 minutes prior at 6.7 ft, taking off when
the Tellico was 5.1 ft. In the previous 12 hours, the TVA precipitation gauge at Etowah recorded
1.39 inches of rain and the TVA gauge at Cleveland recorded 1.55 inches. This is a video from our
run: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkyxvSFhfcc Updated river description a bit with more detail
on scouting/porting V8, and the put in hike. Runnable level mentioned on the page seems to be
pretty accurate, although if the Tellico only peaked at 5 ft, Wildcat would probably be painfully
low. Peak probably needs to be at least 6 ft for a low-medium level and timing is
important--getting there more than 2-4 hours after the peak may be too long except for rains of 2+
December 9 2009 (3294 days ago)
Shane EddlemanDetails
I and about 7 others or so ran this today and it was well worth it! It's a must run for any Class 4
boater. The hike in was a nice leisurely stroll through the wild on a well marked and pretty clean
trail. Looking at the creek initially it's about a 15-20ft wide creek bed, swift but a gentle
entry. Class 2-3 for a while before getting to anything significant. Watch for wood as we had to
portage about 4-5 times, easy portages and not any of the major rapids so we didn't have to miss
any great drops. I will be back for this run. I checked the guage on the Tellico at 10:15am and it
was 7.33 and falling: we put on the water at 1:30pm and were at the takeout at 3:50pm; when I got
home I checked the guage for the 6:15 reading and it was 4.59. So I would guess we were putting on
at around 6.5 - 6.7ish and taking out at 5.5-5.7ish. Anyone with me feel free to give your take on
the level.

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