Cullasaja, North Carolina, US
1. Upper (Lake Sequoyah to below Cosmic Crunch) (Upper Cullasaja)
||IV-V+ (for normal flows)
Triple Drop on Cullasaja
Triple Drop on CullasajaPhoto of Tim Johnson by Adam Garrett taken 12/20/03 @ 4.04FT
First, anyone running this section of river must be aware that there are several unrunnable
waterfalls and slots along with miles of flatwater between the rapids in this section of river. No
one runs the whole thing but instead this section of river is usually run in several parts. For
example the upper slide is usually done as a one shot waterfall and the gorge above the Nemesis to
Bricklayer Falls and Cosmic Crunch section is run by itself as a short class V+ run.
The Cullasaja begins on the west side of Highlands NC, at the outflow dam of Lake Sequoyah. The
rest of the run is semi-roadside along Hwy 64.
For the top Park & Huck:
Put-in at the base of the dam. If the first drop scares you, then you should not be on the river.
The first drop is a three tiered slide dropping about 60 feet. The drop is similar to Stairway to Heaven on Bear
. Then pull your
boat back up the rock face to hike back out.
Below Triple Drop
is a short gorge with a lot of flat water and wood. There are at least 4
trees of 2 feet plus diameter that cross the entire river bed. The only major drop is a slide/Flume
150yds above Dry Falls. The Flume looks nasty and cuts from center and goes river right before it
empties out directly into a rock wall. Run the slide river left, and don't forget to take out as
soon as you can because the mandatory portage, Dry Falls is just downstream. Taking out here is
short, but rough because of the dense undergrowth.
Below Dry Falls
is another gorge with some good class 5 water in it. After that the gorge
flattens out for a few miles leading up to the RT 1620 bridge aka Turtle Pond Road is where the
USGS on-line gauge is.
There is one more major gorge of note below this. And it includes the big roadside drop, Nemesis.
If you are driving upstream from the lower, the first really big drop you will see above the falls
will be T-Bone on the middle section. It will have a pullout that can handle about 10 cars. Keep
driving upstream. About three more miles up the road and the river will take a sharp right hand
bend. If you look upstream at the bend you will see a big convoluted mess that makes T-Bone (class
5) look like a walk in the park. ThatÂs Nemesis. There is a roadside pullout past it on the right.
You can decide if you are all that in a creek boat or not. To scout: park and walk back down the
road until you get to the sharp bend where the guardrail is built on a rock wall. Walk under the
wall and you'll see Nemesis. Be Careful the Rocks are VERY Slippery.
If you make it down
through Nemesis you might as well keep going to Bricklayer Falls. About a 60 foot drop that ends on
a huge rock that cuts the river in half. Be sure to have some left or right angle when you go.
Below Bricklayer is a convoluted mess called Cosmic Crunch that is on the outward realmes of what
on river right below Cosmic Crunch where a forest service road meets the river, or
you could just paddle the extra mile down to T-Bone and take it in too.
AFWS Current Rainfall Data for Macon
Check the Highlands gauge, 1824.
See also: Other sections of the Cullasaja:
0. Above the lakes (Class
2. Middle (Below Cosmic
Crunch to Above Cullasaja Falls) (Class IV(V+))
3. Lower - Base of Cullasaja Falls to Peeks
Creek Bridge (Class IV-V(V+))
Peeks Creek Rd (NC-1678) to Peaceful Cove Rd (NC-1677) (Class II(III))
5. Peaceful Cove Rd (NC-1677) to Fulton Rd
(NC-1668) (Class I-II)
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2006-02-11 09:12:05