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Difficulty II-III
Length Miles
Gauge CLEAR FORK AT SAXTON, KY
Flow Range 200 - 2500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 38 minutes ago 373 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 08/23/2009 3:05 am

River Description


Gage that works SAXTON GAGE
Take out:
 

NOTE: FOR NOW YOU MAY NOT WANT TO USE THIS TAKEOUT.  THERE ARE SOME NEW BIG "KEEP OUT" AND "NO MORE TRESPASSING" SIGNS.  SUGGEST TAKING OUT AT THE CEMETARY DOWNSTREAM (ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE QUARRY) OR EVEN PADDLING ON DOWN TO THE BRIDGE AND PARKING AT THE STARLIGHT CLUB.  THIS INFORMATION WILL BE UPDATED IF I AM ABLE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE LANDOWNER. THANKS...BUT HERE IS THE INFORMATION IN CASE IT ONE DAY BECOMES ACCURATE AGAIN:

From Jellico, TN, follow Hwy 25-W South for a mile or 2 (or 3) until you start seeing the river on your left. Continue on, past the quarry until you see a driveway on the right and some paved shoulder parking on the right.  From here you walk down to the river and look up at the last rapid. Park here, preferably on the river side of the road. Walk down the trail and check out the big flat rock that you will need to look for when you get back to the take out. Be careful where you step in this area as we did find one used syringe by the trail a while back. Recently (2007) the property owner has been cleaning it up regularly and even provides a trash can. PLEASE don't give him a reason to keep boaters out...respect the property and don't leave trash behind. Be courteous if you meet the owner. He is the guy with all the dogs who lives across the road.


Put-in:
Continue up 25 W (South) until you see a sign for a 4-way intersection. Turn Left here onto Travillion Ln. Follow Travillion for about 1/2 mile and park at your own risk near where the road crosses the train tracks. Be sure not to park so close to the tracks that trains will hit your car as they pass. I've usually parked here and never had any problems with trains or with the locals. 2001-2007. There is a local who lives across the tracks who invited me to park and put in in his yard, but as I can't remember his name or which house he lives in, I still park by the tracks.
Put-in 3:
Continue South on 25-W until you get to highway 90. Turn Left on Hwy 90 and park either on the side of the road near the bridge over the Clear Fork or drive on down and park in the area under the bridge. This put-in is actually on the Hickory Creek. Even though this put-in adds a mile or so of flat water, it is easier to park. I haven't been to this put-in since 2002 or so.  Recent reports in 2009 say that the road to under the bridge is now impassable due to kudzu. 

Rapid Descriptions: (rapid names were made up by me and my friends.....apologies if they already had names before this)
The rapids on this run get progressively better (bigger) as you go down the river. The first couple are class II but the last 2, called "train wreck" and "salad shooter", are class III. Between these last 2 rapids is a big haystack shaped rock with a sign hanging on it. This commemorates the troop train wreck that happened here during WWII.
The rapid before train wreck (it has no name that I know of) is mostly a wavetrain, but the waves are playable, you just don't have a lot of eddies. You have to just catch the next wave after you fall off of one. At 1000 to 2000 cfs, the waves are quite big and lots of fun.
Train Wreck rapid is best run on the right side of river left (left of the huge rock). From upstream it looks like you can go to the right of the big tall rock, but I wouldn't try it without looking at the drop from the downstream side first.
Salad Shooter is arguably a class IV rapid at higher levels (above 1000). The most "exciting" route at higher water is to take the first drop about 8 feet from the left bank, then take the second drop however you happen to hit it. At lower levels this is the only route you can take, but at higher levels you can take an easier route on river right.
 

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Kevin
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9 years ago

Ran this section today at 200 cfs according to the Saxton gauge graph. This would be the minimum as it was pretty scrappy. However, there were access issues. Takeout now has "no trespassing" signs up at the trail and was somewhat overgrown. We ended taking out at the cemetery across from the gravel pit, but parked up the hill at the end of the guardrail so not to take a chance on blocking the gate to the cemetery. Put-in was also a little confusing. We opted for #3, but the trail under the bridge was overgrown with kudzu so we ended up getting permission from a landowner to access the creek. Overall, good run, but short and could use some more water.

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Brent Johnson
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5 years ago

Thought I would add some info to the run. It is a local run tor me I live right across the river from the takeout, so thought I could shed some light on the run and some general info. I A fairly new paddler been paddling less than a year at this point and really enjoy this run it is a good training area for newer paddlers as the river increases in difficulty as the run goes on, great warm up time. I have since bumped up my level of runs but continue to go back to the clearfork to sharpen my skills. So if you are a new paddler looking to sharpen your skills this is an excellent forgiving river to develop class 3ish skills. The wave train that my crew calls "Train Wreck Wave" even though it is a little ways away from the actual wreck site is awesome play spot. Worth the run itself if you like to play. Put in info I always use the Travillion Lane put in have boated and fished here for years with no issue, and honestly the water above it is not worth the time. Takeout Park roadside above the cemetery just make sure you are well off the road and not blocking the cemetery gates. Hope this is helpful Brent

Summary of Gauge Readings

You can find the Corps of Engineers gage for this reach here:
SAXTON GAGE
Keep in mind that the gage is a few miles downstream from the rapids, so it lags actual level by a few hours. I have run this river as low as 100 cfs (bony) and as high as 2200 cfs (lots of fun!)

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
CLEAR FORK AT SAXTON, KY
AW Gauge Info
373 cfs 00h38m n/a
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Directions Description


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Michael Spanjer