Raven Fork, North Carolina, US
|Usual Difficulty||V+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||390 fpm|
|Max Gradient||560 fpm|
|OCONALUFTEE RIVER AT BIRDTOWN, NC|
|usgs-03512000||800 - 3000 cfs||V+||00h55m||1270 cfs (running)|
|Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.|
Note: By order of the Cherokee Tribal Council, that portion of the Raven Fork crossing the Qualla Boundary (the official name of their reservation) is closed to boating. The bottom portion of this run is located on the reservation -- it is illegal to boat it. Carefully read the additional information below.
The majority of the Upper Raven fork is outside of the Cherokee Reservation. A good portion of
the run is in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. However the takeout is squarely in
reservation grounds. Please note that the Raven Fork within the reservation is presently closed
Don't even think about paddling the Raven Fork with out politely obtaining permission from those who live at the take out. There are two variations on getting to the put-in. If you're good enough to be on this run you'll track down that info from one of the local experts.
Some of the larger named drops include (not in order), Jedi Training, Harjes Rapid (where Chris blew out his shoulder), Cave Man, Anaconda, Headless Horseman, Mortal Kombat, Mike Tyson's punchout, Big Boy, Atomic Elbow Crusher, Mangler and others.
The top mile accessed via the Enloe Creek Trail is 400 feet. The next two are the same, but a bulk of the gradient is in the middle at 560 ft/mile, and the 3/4 mile stretch from jedi training through mangler is 730 ft/mile. As steep as the steepest 3/4 mile on road prong, but pool drop. Tell me that aint the steepest 3/4 mile of boating in the SE.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.0||Lord of the Rings||5.0|
|1.2||Class 4 with wood|
|1.4||More unnammed boogie||IV|
|1.5||Boof above Big Boy||IV|
|1.6||Atomic Elbow Crusher||5.2|
|1.7||Mike Tyson's Punchout||5.2|
|2.1||Little Headless Horseman||IV+|
The bottom is unfortunately clogged with wood. 15 foot superboof.
Fun and Easy
20 foot waterfall into a big pothole on the right. Run center.
Right below Wet Willy are two boofs. The second one signals its time to get out on the right above Big Boy.
The centerline is the easiest, and has a great boof at the bottom, but watch the cave on the left. Right is best with good water, a straightforward flume. Some run the left, but it is least common.
This is reputed to be the most serious drop in the Southeast. No one seems to argue about it. 35 foot drop with the finest of lines. Easier lower.
This one drops more vert than any other and is definitely the most out of control. Its huge and will blow your mind. Must run!
One of the harder and more technical rapids. The first drop is pushy, leading into a sticky hole right above second drop, a jagged ledge you want to run far left. Then the classic third drop, where you boof the left wall 10 feet and land on a righty so you don't go spelunking. Check the cave out afterwards, or before, if you like setting safety.