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Difficulty III-IV+(V)
Length 5.3 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 02/14/2006 11:21 am

River Description


Gauge Description:

This one doesn't run very much due to a small drainage. It takes a lot of water and falls quickly. Usually flashes if the Chattooga is well over three feet.

Best gauge for this is the small white pipe directly upstream of the small bridge entering the put in parking lot. About 8" below the pipe should be considered minimum and 4" below is very fun. Higher water will make things more fun downstream but make for some pushy water in places filled with logjams and strainers. Be careful at high water on this one, especially in the upper stretch that has the most wood.

 

 

River Description:

On June 7, 2003, Alex Harvey organized a trip down Big Panther that included Will Van De Berg, John (Crusty) McRae, and Drew Dekle. The following is a brief report of what we found.

This is a great (but chockfull of wood and rhodo) run that is surprisingly different in character than the nearby Tallulah Gorge. The upper section of the run, which is basically above the small bridge on the hiking trail, is very tight and low volume with endless strainers, logjams and heavy rhododenron coverage. You will do a bunch of hard charging through rhodo clumps while running class 3 and 4 rapids in this stretch of water. There is one multi part class 5 rapid in this upper stretch that needs logs removed from the first section to make it runnable (last run on 6/7/03 and it was jammed up with logs), but the bottom section of the rapid was runnable by catching eddy on far river left at bottom and ferrying out in front of a small log infested undercut. This drop is recognized by the distinct horizon line that will come up. Scout on river left. The rapid involves a bony drop over about 8' onto a rock shelf, then carves around a right turn and down into what is currently a log across the river buttressed by a serious log pincushion on far right and a riverwide log 6' or so below that. Yeeesh! If it is clear, then run it, if not, then carry and put in on river left immediately downstream of the log at the bottom and run the second section of the rapid.

After running past the bridge, another creek comes in from left and adds to the volume and the creek broadens out a bit, in time for a series of drops (III+/IV-) at the site of some large boulders on river left and right. Run this either down the center or river left. Further down, you will need to get out (on right) at the VERY distinct horizon line and look at Big Panther Falls. The upper section of the falls looks runnable, but feeds dangerously into the main drop of about 50'. We walked the whole lot out of prudence the upper is definitely runnable and perhaps depending on water level, the big drop might be doable too. Heath Miller has now run the falls.


Beneath the big drop, the bottom of the creek drops out for several miles and gives up great class 5 and 4+ rapids, with slides, boofs and multi-staged drops abounding, with one drop giving up 25-30' of elevation over a short stretch and then another drop immediately beneath it that drops another 15' or more. Further down, an awesome 10' boof awaits; Run that dead center for nice air time. Several slildes follow.

This is a very fun creek but it requires a good deal of threading your way through the wood in a many places. Give yourself more time than you think you would need for a 5.3 mile run to allow for many bushwhacking portages around hazards. Without the wood, this would be a great run for someone not yet up to the Narrows of the Green but who has done Tallulah and other easier steep stuff. The lines are all straightforward and good to go, but the constant threat of trees in the water make for more intensity than the rapids would normally call for.

PUT-IN/TAKE-OUT DIRECTIONS:

Put in at the parking area on Old Hwy 441. Paddle under the small bridge, under the road's overpass and into the run. Beware strainers that come up soon afterwards.

Take-out: From Toccoa, take Prather Bridge Road, then Yonah Dam Road until a dirt road heads up the creek. (There is a small white sign with "Church" on it at the turn for the dirt road.) Park where the road deadends at the creek. There is a trail that can be hiked upstream from here to look at the bottom of the run.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Chris Gorman
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12 years ago

I have a video of big panther from the summer of 05 on my site
http://www.AutoBoofProductions.com

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Chris Gorman
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13 years ago

I have a video of big panther from the summer of 05 on my site
http://filebox.vt.edu/users/cdgorman/index.html

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Robert Maxwell
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14 years ago

The gage for Big Panther Creek is located on the 441 Old Historic Hwy culvert, upstream river right. In short, its the culvert downstream of the "white pvc pipe" most people have been using to gage the creek.

You

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BradR
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14 years ago

What happened to the rapid descriptions?

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Brian Jones
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14 years ago

We just ran this today (9/18/2004). I'm going to strongly disagree with Sutton's minimum and mildly disagree with Robert's: I would consider 12" on the painted gauge a minimum (this would correspond to a level about even with the above-mentioned PVC pipe). You're going to be battling alot of wood (portages and sketchy limbo maneuvers) and rhododendron in the first 2 miles, and to make that worth your time you'll want enough water on the few rapids downstream. Otherwise, it's class II - III shoals the whole way (frustratingly shallow). The slides are fun, but the big boof needed more water and the boulder gardens would definitely benefit from the reduced pinning potential afforded by more water. Have fun, and let us all know what you think.

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Sutton Bacon
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14 years ago

Ran BPC last week when the Chattooga the day after Chattooga crested at a little over 9 feet the night before. It was about 2 inches under the PVC pipe when we put on. It was super-fun. Here are some details. First, the shuttle is truly around-the-world. You'll spend at least 45 minutes one way. This run is truly best if you have a bunny to help. Thanks to some Athens boaters, there is now a beeline through the trees from the parking area all the way down to where the river clears out at the footbridge. It's not very wide, but it will do with some prudent ducking of rhodo. Also, the big drop under the cliff wall will hopefully be cleaned out soon -- making it the best rapid on the river -- 10 foot total double boof thing into a long around the corner slide under a cliff wall into a big hole and two good ledges immediately below. I cant wait to run this thing. Almost did even with the wood, but a mistake at the bottom would have been costly. The river opens up at the campground on the left and the footbridge. After that, you reach the first rapid, a long slide with an obvious horizon line. It's good to go, just dont go too far left and end up in the trees or too far right and end up in the undercut. Left center all the way down will be fine. After that, you'll get some creeky rapids down to the falls. You will see a narrowing of the river through a 15-foot slot with a major horizon line below. That's the falls. Start the portage before the entrance slide to be safe. Carry right. After the falls, you'll see some more great little creeky rapids until you reach the boof. 5-6 foot steep but not vertical slide into a small moving pool and right down the pipe over a perfectly clean 10-footer. Super fun. After that you'll see another horizon line. This is Automatic for the People. You should probably scout left to check out the tree situation, though the scout trail (or lack thereof) sucks. Go left of center with a little right angle down over the double boof and boogie right at the bottom to avoid the tree in the washout. Until it's gone, might consider placing a buddy down there on the tree just in case. The rapid is fine, looks a lot tougher than it actually is (and a lot easier than the portage trail). The next rapid immediately downstream is a fun slide with a tricky entrance and a major piton rock at the bottom right waiting for any stray boaters. Boof left with some good lefthand momentum to be sure to clear the ugly piton rock at the bottom right. If you hit it right, it

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Alex Harvey
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15 years ago

Recently talked to a fellow who had run Panther before, he said that what we tentatively called Automatic is really called Bootcamp and that the 10-footer preceded by a small slide is called Combat. He said that Bootcamp was one continuous drop at the level they ran it. I forgot to ask if the falls had been run yet.

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wreeves
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16 years ago

Panther Creek appeared to be running this afternoon after a heavy thunderstorm. The water was rising at about 3 inches a min. So this stream can come up in a hurry even if the Chattooga is less than 4 feet.

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BradR
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16 years ago

2003-06-10 02:04:18
Recently the Chattooga went over 4 feet, Upper tallulah hit 1000 cfs, and overflow hit 2.9 - but panther was still low. To quote one person who has run it "panther takes a butt load of water"
. Seems that Will and the boys did get a run of it in.

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BradR
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16 years ago

There is a parking area off Old Hwy 441 for the Panther creek trailhead that can be used as a put-in.

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

This one doesn't run very much due to a small drainage. It takes a lot of water and falls quickly. Usually flashes if the Chattooga is well over three feet.

Best gauge for this is the small white pipe directly upstream of the small bridge entering the put in parking lot. About 8" below the pipe should be considered minimum and 4" below is very fun. Higher water will make things more fun downstream but make for some pushy water in places filled with logjams and strainers. Be careful at high water on this one, especially in the upper stretch that has the most wood.

Permits

NA

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.

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William Van De Berg

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193162 02/14/06 William Van De Berg n/a