Tuckasegee - Section 3. Dillsboro to Rt. 1392 (Barkers Creek)

Tuckasegee, North Carolina, US


Section 3. Dillsboro to Rt. 1392 (Barkers Creek) (Tuck Gorge)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 5.3 Miles

Dillsboro Drop

Dillsboro Drop
Photo by Steve Pack taken 01/28/12

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03510577 500 - 5000 cfs II-III 00h21m 620 cfs (running)

River Description

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.    

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 Dillsboro. 

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. As of 7/7/13 Tuckasegee Outfitters has placed signs stating they will tow private boater vehicles that park in their lot. Even if you are purchasing a shuttle the new owner has indicated that he does not wish you to park in his lot.



StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-06-19 16:14:07


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Duke Put InN/APutin Photo
0.3Dillsboro DropIIIPhoto
1.0Railroad BridgeIIPhoto
1.11st HoleIIPhoto
1.42nd HoleII+Photo
2.0Double DropIIIPhoto
2.3Sling ShotII
3.0Suprise HoleII
3.5Surfing RapidII
4.5Shark ToothIIPhoto
5.0Barkers Creek BridgeN/ATakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Duke Put In (Class N/A)

Ramp at the new put in.

Ramp at the new put in.
Photo taken 06/15/11

Dillsboro Drop (Class III, Mile 0.3)

The Tuckaseegee at Dillsboro

The Tuckaseegee at Dillsboro
Photo taken 06/15/11

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.

Railroad Bridge (Class II, Mile 1.0)

Railroad Bridge

Railroad Bridge
Photo by Steve Pack taken 11/29/11 @ 2500 cfs

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.

1st Hole (Class II, Mile 1.1)

First Hole Rapid

First Hole Rapid
Photo by Steve Pack taken 05/21/12 @ 800 cfs

Good play hole at some lower levels. Good eddy hopping practice, too. The hole can be skirted to the left or right.

2nd Hole (Class II+, Mile 1.4)

Second Hole Rapid

Second Hole Rapid
Photo by Steve Pack taken 02/18/12

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.


Moonshot (Class II, Mile 1.8)

Moonshot Rapid

Moonshot Rapid
Photo by Steve Pack taken 05/21/12 @ 800 cfs

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.

Double Drop (Class III, Mile 2.0)

Double Drop

Double Drop
Photo by Steve Pack taken 11/29/11 @ 2500 cfs

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.

Sling Shot (Class II, Mile 2.3)

As the name implies...slings boats from left to right. Pretty straight foward though. Swirly eddy line on bottom left.

Suprise Hole (Class II, Mile 3.0)

Small hole in the middle of a long set of shoals.

Surfing Rapid (Class II, Mile 3.5)

Fun surf at higher levels. Occurs in a set of shoals also.

Shark Tooth (Class II, Mile 4.5)

Sharkstooth Rapid

Sharkstooth Rapid
Photo by Steve Pack taken 09/11/12

Last rapid on the Tuck. Nothing major though. Usually run on right side.

Barkers Creek Bridge (Class N/A, Mile 5.0)

Take Out

Take Out
Photo by Steve Pack taken 02/27/12

Take out on river right about a quarter mile past the bridge at the new Duke takeout.

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Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

November 2017



Associated Projects

  • Tuckasegee Relicensing (NC)
    AW signed a settlement calling for new dam releases, sweeping conservation measures, new access, and the removal of Dillsboro Dam in North Carolina.