Cataloochee Creek - Catalooche Campground to Waterville Lake

Cataloochee Creek, North Carolina, US


Catalooche Campground to Waterville Lake

Usual Difficulty II-III(IV) (for normal flows)

Cataloochee Creek

Cataloochee Creek
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller taken 04/15/03 @ 3.5

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03460000 2.70 - 6.00 ft II-III(IV) 01h01m 2.8 ft (running)

River Description

Looks like there is a short roadside stretch with an easy shuttle,
and a stretch that ends up in the lake with a 30 mile shuttle.

Running Cataloochee Creek is an adventure. Many boaters get lost trying to find the put in and takeout. The water level is somewhat curios. Good flows at the top part of the run when the river is at 4 feet provide easy boating and even a few nice play spots. Some of the annoying strainers are underwater so you can boat most of the creek without getting out. The rapids are generally easy class II rocky ledges or just piles of boulders in the streambed. All of these rapids are easily boat scouted. When the water level is low these rapids are actually a bit more challenging and can be a scrape and grind experience. The last half mile is different. Cataloochee drops into a mini-gorge and really picks up steam here. The three final rapids are hard core bad ass and gnarr. When the water level is low you can easily run the first two rapids. This is the payment for all of the scraping. The last rapid is practically unrunnable unless you don't mind pain or are really good. Really good boaters usually don't run Cataloochee. After the last drop the creek stagnates in one of the filthiest pools of polluted water in the southeast. The lake at the top of the pigeon dries. Once you paddle this lake you will never want to run the pigeon again. Be careful of trash piles in the lake. I saw a Mack truck sized floating mass of toilet paper once. If it fell on you while rolling around on the lake this could be a bad scene. The takeout might be illegal it is hard to tell.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

NPS Map of the Park

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-07-11 02:01:19


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

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