Tuckasegee, North Carolina, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III (for normal flows)|
|TUCKASEGEE RIVER AT BARKER'S CREEK, NC|
|usgs-03510577||500 - 5000 cfs||II-III||00h39m||2450 cfs (running)|
The Tuck is a fun river that runs regularly and is an excellent place to learn to paddle or work on skills. There are many places to practice eddy turns, ferries and peel outs without serious consequences. The minimum "fun" level is about 450-500 cfs with 800-1500 cfs being a nice level that covers up most of the shallow sections, without being too pushy. The rapids are wave trains/holes with good pools below to recover boats and swimmers.
American Whitewater worked with Duke Energy, paddling clubs, and others to negotiate a significant series of dam releases and access areas on the Tuckasegee River starting in 2001. Together we created a vision of a fully accessible Tuckasegee River, from the headwaters to Fontana Reservoir. Controversy around the removal Dillsboro Dam caused delays, but as of 2016 that vision has become a reality with 13 public access areas having been built at strategic intervals along the river. Thanks to the flows and access, the Tuck supports rafting companies, summer camps, float fishing, and significant private boating visits.
ALERT: Didymosphenia geminate, a slimey invasive algae known as rock snot, was found in the Tuck in 2016. Please rinse all mud and sand off your boat and gear before leaving the Tuck, and clean, drain, and dry your stuff before heading to the next river. It is our responsibility to avoid transporting this damaging algae to other rivers to protect the native aquatic species. Watch this video to learn more.
Flow Releases: The Tuck release schedule is robust! Check out the 3-day flow forecast (select "Nantahala Area" from the dropdown menu). Since the releases come from two forks (East Fork @ 700cfs and West Fork @ 500cfs) and because it takes a while for the water to travel the 35 mile length of River, Duke Energy has made a convenient online tool that calculates the timing of releases planned for the next few days at a range of locations. You can find links to the annual schedule here if you want to plan farther ahead.
Put-In There is a new put-in with a large parking area and restrooms on North
River Road that was part of the dam relicensing agreement. Turn off of Rt. 441 onto North River
Road. The old one under the bridge in Dillsboro can still be used if you wish to bypass the first
rapid. The old put in is a public access area and it's status has not changed, in spite of
there being other access. This information has been confirmed with the City of
Take-Out There is a new take-out for this reach that was also a result of the dam relicensing process. The new take-out is 0.3 miles downstream from the old take-out at Tuckasegee Outfitters. Please use this new take-out. The new owner of Tuckasegee Outfitters requests private boaters to use the new takout to free up his parking lot for rafting and tubing customers. The new Duke takeout has a paved and gravel parking lot in addition to a concrete ramp. Update 2016-09-06: There is now a premanent pit toilet facility at the takeout which is large enough to change in if necessary.
Access Area Map: Explore a great map of river and reservoir access sites.
Shuttle Services: (Call first)
Smoky Mountain River Adventures 828-586-5285
Dillsboro River Company 828-586-3797
Tuckasegee Outfitters 888-593-5050.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Duke Put In||N/A|
|5.0||Barkers Creek Bridge||N/A|
Ledge exposed by the removal of Dillboro Dam. Can be run in several places. The two most popular lines are slightly left of center over a toungue with a drop or far river right. Be careful of the right line as it is shallow and rocky after the diagonal wave. Scouting is recommended for first timers. The rapid is shallow in many areas, so a flip might get you scraped up.
Can be easily scouted from river right on the way to the put in or from river left on shore.
The rapid can easily be portaged on river left.
This rapid is given an easy Class III rating due to being shallow at normal flows with some consequences if you flip.
Starts below the railroad bridge. Usually run starting left and keeping left over the first small ledge. Then, working back right to the middle of the river. 1st hole is right below.
Good play hole at some lower levels. Good eddy hopping practice, too. The hole can be skirted to the left or right.
A lot like 1st hole, but there is an undercut rock on the right side. Nothing major, just be aware.Prudential Rock is at the top of the rapid and can be run on the left or right.
Pretty long rapid. Best run against the left bank. There are several side stream eddies on river left for eddy hopping practice as well as some in the center for ferrying practice.
This one has some of the biggest waves on the river. Fun play waves at low levels. Theres a good boof at the second drop. The wave train below the second drop is a good place to practice your roll in whitewater. The is a small eddy at top center of the first drop for trying your eddy catching skills. It gets smaller and more challenging as flows increase.
As the name implies...slings boats from left to right. Pretty straight foward though. Swirly eddy line on bottom left.
Small hole in the middle of a long set of shoals.
Fun surf at higher levels. Occurs in a set of shoals also.
Last rapid on the Tuck. Nothing major though. Usually run on right side.
Take out on river right about a quarter mile past the bridge at the new Duke takeout.