Cullasaja, North Carolina, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV(V+) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||84 fpm|
|Max Gradient||136 fpm|
|CULLASAJA RIVER AT SR 1620 NEAR HIGHLANDS, NC|
|usgs-0350056050||4.00 - 5.50 ft||IV(V+)||6y264d14h35m||2.91 ft (too low)|
The usual put-in for the middle section, according to a well-known local, is Â½ to 2/3 of
a mile above T-Bone. There is a Forest Service Road that has been cut down the right bank. You
can park here and walk your boat down to the river and put on below the mayhem of Nemesis,
Bricklayer, and Cosmic Crunch. The later of which seems to be on the outer limits of whatÂs
About 1/4 mile below the put-in is the First Drop, a sliding drop that has a vertical drop of river left. Good landing area below, so it's pretty user friendly. The Second Drop is directly below and can be run down the slide or down the drop, but if you run the drop go to the right of the rock that has recently possitioned itself in the main channel. Going left usually results in a bad bow pin (witnessed).
The Take-Out is usually at the Rock Shop or the 1st bridge above the shop. The few that want to paddle on down to The Big Stuff will probably have to set a vehicle in the big pull-off on the right side of the road and then run the drops and huck back up to your vehicle.
About halfway into the run is T-Bone. T-Bone is a 4-step drop next to a bend in the highway. In the bottom center of the drop is one of the biggest, scariest potholes you will ever see. The usual line is up against the left bank. There is a very easy portage beside the road. At higher levels, say above 5ft, a right line opens up.
Below T-Bone is some class III+ technical boogie water, until you cross under the bridge and then look for the Rock Shop take-out. After the Rock Shop there is a good looking surfing wave and then a small ledge before the proverbial bottom drops out. A pretty serious horizon line marks the entrance, and the current split by a large boulder. Scouting is best achieved on river right. ThereÂs a 10-12FT slide/drop, then most of the river takes a hard right hand turn around the big rock in the middle of the channel. While passing the rock start looking for an eddy to get in to line up for the stuff below. Next, hit another steep sliding drop and then you really, really need to look for an eddy to get into, because 200ft plus Cullasaja Falls is waiting below.
There is a Super Slide that has been run, but it is not advised because a swim would set you up for the last of your life. The slide is only run a low levels because of the push the extra water would give at the bottom and the chance of having to run Cullasaja Falls. A word of CAUTION about the class VÂs. Only run these if you have a bombproof roll and have adequate boaters to set up safety. A swim here would probably be FATAL.
AFWS Current Rainfall Data for Macon County.
Check the Highlands gauge, 1824.
See also: Other sections of the Cullasaja:
0. Above the lakes (Class IV-V+)
1. Upper (Lake Sequoyah to below Cosmic Crunch) (Class )
3. Lower - Base of Cullasaja Falls to Peeks Creek Bridge (Class IV-V(V+))
4. 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)
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.9||Ledges Below T-Bone||II+|
|2.3||Lead in Ledge||III+|
|2.4||The Big Stuff||5.0|
|2.6||Boogie Above the Falls||5.0|
IV+ at low levels, say below 4.5ft, a solid V at higher levels. Starts off, with some smallish ledges leading into a steep slide with a huge pothole in the center bottom. Usually ran on far river left at low levels, at higher levels a right line opens up. During the summer there will be a crowd swimming below the big slide.
After what feels like a long flat section the river picks up for a small micro-gorge with three to seven drops depending on how you count rapids.
The last drop in the second micro-gorge can be run as a fun vertical slot move. Watch for trees.
Last series of drops before the big falls. Still roadside.