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 to boating. 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.
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.
Ran it today with Ted, Ben, Andy, Payton, and myself. The Oconaluftee peaked at 2500CFS when we put on. The gauge at the bridge registered 20inches. The drop below headless horsemen has new wood in it. The drop below caveman also has wood in it. Run far left on that one. Caveman, Mortal, Mike Tyson, Headless, and Anaconda were clean of wood.
Ravens TR New [add to watch]
Date: Mar 21 2005, 16:41 GMT
As TDUB suggested and our group confirmed on Saturday, you can get down as low as 4 in. On Saturday the level was exactly that. The road leading to the old railroad bed was blocked by a truck so we opted to make the hike up and over. The hike sucks, just shoulder it and go. 2 miles up and 1 down felt about right.
It being the entire groups first time, we took every bit of daylight we had and scouted everything. A summary of the rapids at this level:
Big 15 boof up top with large wood exit, sketchy but runnable, easy portage on the left
Lord of the Rings
From Leland on Boatertalk:
Manuel at the takeout likes Budweiser. (they usally get him a 12 pack inexchange for parking privilidges)
He's a super cool guy to talk to as well - been all over the world.
On the drive up to the putin hike there is an almost exposed drain pipe in the road. BE AWARE OF THE PIPES AND DON"T BREAK THEM!! We damn near lost access due to someone driving over this pipe, breaking it, and pissing off the folks who live up there. The pipe is right after you turn right onto gravel at the top of the driveway. or at least in the first couple hundred yards. I think it's on the right side of the road (showing in the rut) but I haven't been up there in a while so that could be wrong.
The put-in and take-out are both on private property, the bridge and "public" road are actually tribal land, and the whole thing is such that it's a miracle we have access at all. don't fuck it up.
Wood in Big Boy. <more> New
Date: Jun 20 2003, 12:38 GMT
right right is clean
the log is gone from the pool @ jedi training
thw log in the lead in to mortal combat is gone
new wood between atomic elbow crusher & mike tyson
the log in mike tyson, at the top boof, is gone
2 trees have fallen @ the top of caveman, several branches are hanging halfway in the first drop. it would be easy to cut them out with a small hand saw.
Oconluftee @ 850
bridge guage @ 12"
the steepest mile around here (western nc) is the raven's fork, but there are several portages:
a short partage for some wood in the third rapid - but the rapid was run pre-wood.
portage around hail mary which you can scoot over in your boat (has been successfully run once by tao, but it didn't look pretty).
portage at the mangler - this drop still hasn't been run.
even with those portages and another at big boy, i ran more hard rapids in a mile there than i have anywhere else. maybe run 'em again tomorrow...
From Clay Wright from Boatertalk, March 1, 2001:
went back to the Raven Fork yesterday and it is even better with higher water. We had about 1' 3" on the "Tony Robinson" guage - a good bit higher than the "Freshwater" footage. Big group of 8, but great weather and we all had good lines. No broken boats, paddles, bones etc.
Daniel D's backward "anaconda" run. So good he went back and came down backwards again.
The surfs at Headless Horseman
Running Leelans's new "waterspout" line blind (3'wide exit)
Pat Keller surfing the 1/2 way hole in Mortal Kombat.
My piton of the log about 2.5' above the water just below.
Pat's near "face shot" into "elbow-basher" wall.
Mike Tyson's punch-out -
- this is now one of my favorite rapids ever.
10' ledge into a long curler-packed 30' slide and off about 20' vert. Like a creek-version of Oceana after an approach series. Big trip highlight.
The hike-in. over one log, under the next for 2 1/2 miles.
Continuity: pool drop, but a blown skirt or broken paddle could spell disaster. At this level, set safety below every rapid.
Cold: about 20 degrees colder in the gorge than on the hike.
Walking Big Boy:
long and steep and loose - makes you feel like hucking and hoping . . only the next 2 rapids aren't friendly at all. We hiked the set.
The other portages:
some BAD undercuts/logs etc along the way.
Daniel's near first Descent:
only one drop still unrun, and Daniel D just about dropped in backwards. Good thing he's such a scrambler. All those 200% days on the Green really paid off.
Daniel, Jason Hale, and Al G hittin it again today.
Good luck, boys -
Date: Jun 02 2004, 14:13 GMT
Anaconda (has wood)
? (has wood)
Jedi Training (tree @ top, but room to get under it)
Mortal Combat (wood, but easily avoided)
Big Boy (wood)
Atomic Elbow Cruncher
Mike Tyson's Punch Out
the question marks have names, but I'm not positive on what they are. the warm-up starts out big & then it gets bigger.
& a few in the boogie water that would probably have names if they were on any other run.
From Chris Young on Boatertalk:
about Ravens put-in/take-out (please read) New
Date: Jun 02 2004, 23:06 GMT
recently people have been abusing the generosity of of the locals. The nice man who allows us to take out on his land usually receives some compensation (beer or smokes) but people have just pulled up and parked without asking. Also people who have not made it all the way up the put in raod have left their cars blockin gthe road. this not only prevents others from getting up, but specifically their is a landowner who lives up there and this is essentially his driveway. I would encourage people not to discuss the details of where the put-in/take out are on this board due to nature of the situation on tribal lands. those who go to the raven can easily call someone who has been for the necessary details. i would hate to lose this resource as there are no other backups available and people put in a lot of work to establish this. Thanks. -Chris Young
From Leland, on boatertalk:
Road Prong: 616
book is coming right along....only another month or two till the writing is all done!
7 years ago
9 years ago
by Mark Singleton
Online gauges consist of:
1) The Oconaluftee USGS of which the
Raven Fork is a tributary.However since this gauge is a
considerable distance downstream - and not actually
on the Raven Fork itself, the Oconaluftee gauge may
not always accurately reflect actual water levels in the
2) For the visual bridge take-out
gauge, most of the reported runs have been from a
minumum of 7 inches, to close to two feet. Keep in mind the numbers on the gauge(10,20,etc), are not feet! They are inches. So when its at 10 its 10 inches, not 1.0 feet. This has caused confusion in the past when making visuals.
3)An new gauge has been reported: the
Swain County Gauge (aka
"Trout Farm SG")
This gauge (aka "Trout Farm
SG") has been directly observed to correlate
with the visual gauge on the take out bridge so that a
4.5" bridge reading = 0.9 on the above Trout
Farm gauge. While more data points are needed
(please post them below!) it is currently assumed that
a 1.1' reading on the Trout Farm gauge = 7"
(minimum level) on the takeout bridge gauge.
A good rule of thumb is if the West Prong ran good one day, Raven Fork will the next. With a watershed of 20 square miles and nice channelizing bedrock, this one goes often, and an inch of rain at Pin Oak Gap and or Newfound Gap is all it takes to get it going. In the winter those totals can get it going high.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Canoe Firing Up Mortal Kombat
Entrance to Razorback
Boofing into Mortal Combat
Bottom Drop of MTPO
Top of MTPO
Entrance to Caveman
Raven's Fork Gorge 2 (Aerial Shot)
Raven's Fork Gorge (Aerial Shot
Big Boy (Aerial Shot)
Boof Above Big Boy
Mortal Kombat (5)
Mortal Kombat (4)
Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat 2
Mortal Kombat - Entrance
Mike Tyson's - Final Drop - 7
Mike Tyson's - Bottom View - 6
Mike Tyson's Punchout - 5
Mike Tyson's Punchout - 4
Mike Tyson's Punchout - 3
Mike Tyson's Punchout 2
Mike Tyson's Punchout - Top View 1 in Sequence
Some Raven Big Stuff
Raven Fork Buggie
Raven Fork Put-In
Raven's Fork Gorge
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