Half mile hike in to the put-in. Check out the abandoned stills on river right.
The creek starts off with some easy slides and ledges but do not miss the first big drop "Asleep at the Wheel". Asleep at the Wheel starts off as a series of shallow short slides. Then the river quickly drops into a narrow slot & chute and screams off a 14 foot ledge onto exposed bedrock. A good portion of the water shoots left into a cave, but boaters with good control can miss this experience.
Rocktown Creek enters on river right before the action really starts. Apparently highly motivated boates can carry up the drop and run the falls. Portage Asleep at the Wheel on river right, but bring a rope. Make sure to get out before the river enters the slots.
The river follows up with a few easy rock gardens, before approaching the second big drop. To my knowledge no boaters have run the second big drop because it essentially falls 15+ feet straight onto a rock shelf. While it would be easy to launch off the top ledge the landing would be painful and almost certainly involve some injury. As far as I know this is the only drop on Allen Creek that has not been run by a canoe or kayak.
Allen creek continues to drop off the mountain with lots of blind boulder gardens and ledges before reaching No Shoulder a rapid partially featured in the video Steep Creeking. In the video the boaters portage the meat of the drop and run the last ledge. No Shoulder consists of a slot that drops about 6 feet onto what looks like a sharp rock. This is followed by some ledge like drops. The most successful line for No Shoulder has historically been to run up on the left side of the slot and drop flat into the crevice on the downstream side of the midstream rock. If you pull this off the next ledge is a piece of cake.
Once Past No Shoulder, Allen creek still has some good creeking rapids and a series of long shallow slides for the next half mile. Be careful running these rapids because some are difficult to boat scout without being swept over. The river almost seems to flatten out for a second before it really picks up and takes on a more serious nature. The rapids on the lower section are steeper and more difficult. One or two rapids on Allen Creek have clean lines that donÂt involve some pinning rock or undercut at the bottom. On one run a kayaker was swept off the only clean waterfall on the creek backwards because he missed a highly recommended eddy and sliced his face open requiring 17 stitches.
Dickson Gulf pours into Allen Creek on river right above the lower section. To my knowledge no boaters have run this steep little creek, but there is roadside access near the top of Pigeon Mountain.
The lower section of Allen creek consists of rock piles and exposed bedrock. Strainers are more serious in this section and most rapids cannot be boat scouted safely. After the last big drop the creek spreads out and trees become more common in the riverbed. At this point the stream starts to sink into the limestone and the flow drastically decreases. Pigeon mountain is famous for its caves and evidently a large portion of the stream drains into one. There are no rapids greater than Class II here and the flow return before you reach the takeout.
Be careful about the takeout. At least one local lawyer is not very friendly to outdoor recreation on his mountain (Pigeon Mt. Wildlife Management Area) and has been hostile to boaters in the past. He does not own the takeout bridge as it is state property and does not own both sides of the creek.
An access trail on river left reaches all of the lower rapids. A second trail is sometimes accessable on river left near the top. Will Reeves, Nov 2002
User Comment: Shayne Day "Very serious run. After the shuttle around the world start your hike to the creek. First mile or so, very small, beware of the low hanging branches. First big rapid is runnable, and not easy to spot until your in it. Then it gets serious; steep and low volume, then steep and big volume, then steep and low volume. Lots of scouting, some portaging. Start thinking about the Hairy Bear if you think it's fun."
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The takeout shown on the map is Harrisburg road bridge not state road
337 as the title implies.
12 years ago
by Eddie Wilson
USGS gauge at the takeout bridge.
The gauge online is the same used for the Bear in Cloudland Canyon, which is a nearby stream. Level corrolations are not fully understood yet. I ran this once when Town Creek in AL was 3000 CFS.
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Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, died on November 20th, 2019. He was 83. A microbiologist by training, Terry began paddling in the mid-1960's while a professor at Emory University. He took to whitewater readily, and it became an important focus of his life. In 1969 he met veteran paddler Doug Woodward, and in 1971 the two became the technical advisers for the movie “Deliverance.” Afterwards, Terry and Woodward purchased the rafts Warner Brothers used in filming and bought 19 acres near the river. This became Southeastern Expeditions, one of the Southeast’s first whitewater outposts on the Chattooga. In 1974, Terry took then-Gov. Jimmy Carter on three trips on the Chatooga River, totaling 57 miles. This inspired Carter to get the Chattooga included in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and influenced later decisions protecting rivers across the U.S.“Terry adopted me as one of his students,” Carter told Outside Online in a 2017 interview. “it opened my eyes to the relationship between a human being and a wild river that I never had contemplated before that. When I got to be president I vetoed 16 different dam projects all over the United States.” Terry eventually quit his Emory University job and started full time career in environmental advocacy, including founding American Rivers, a principal U.S. conservation group. For the next 30 years he specialized in environmental projects involving rivers and wetlands and later, when he became a board-certified toxicologist, he developed an expertise in hazardous waste cleanups. He was an active paddler until sidelined by Parkinson's Disease. A passionate teacher and advocate, he is sorely missed by all who knew him. Click through for an excellent obituary and a photo of Terry taking Governor Carter over Bull Sluice!
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