This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-IV
Length 2 Miles
Flow Range 200 - 100000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 12 hours ago 222 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/25/2016 5:41 pm

River Description

This is better understood as a run with two distinct personalities. The upper section, above the dam, is an easy class II drop-pool with a II+ ledge at the end. This is a favorite, close run of Boone boaters.   Below the dam, are 3/4 mile of continuous, rocky class IV (V at higher water). This drops 125 feet in the first 0.4 mi. (equal to about 300 ft./mile) then levels out for the last 0.3 mile to rocky class II-III. Unfortunately, some ASU students do not give this run the respect it deserves despite the numerous shallow drops and plentiful undercuts.  (I got the honor of surviving a 45º pin here in 2000, this is not a run for a boat longer than 9 feet. -BLP)

There are also a few good ledges sprinkled among the riffled run much farther up between Foscoe and Seven Devils.  If the headwaters has enough water to run it will be a narrow run with numerous low bridges, occassional sweepers, and few catchable eddies.  Boone's Fork enters on private property just above the put-in and contributes significant water to the flow.

The latter half of this section is in the NCWRC Delayed Harvest Trout program and is frequented by fishermen in the winter and spring.  Please be respectful of other river users, though it's not likely anyone is fishing if there is enough water to run.

***UPDATE SPRING 2016***

Access to this section has now become VERY limited. Private property surrounds both the put-in and take-out of this section all the way down to the riverbed. It is feasible to ask parking permission at the Ham Shop Cafe or the Fly Fishing shop at the takeout but parking at the put-in is virtually inaccesible. Large boulders have been placed by landowners at the roadside pulloffs along Old Shulls Mill Road (1568). Upstream on Shulls Mill Road (1557), it is possible to park at Shulls Mill Baptist Church but permission needs to be obtained. Multiple "no trespassing" and "private property" signs are now posted at the large parking area on 105 by the dam. If access at either end of this section is granted, please keep a low and respectful profile while getting on and off the river. The access situation regarding the Red Roof section is very sensitive and should be treated respectfully. 

Rapid Descriptions


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10 years ago

Along with trashcan, there are quite a few others with pin potential. The second drop has a pin in it along with the small 3-4 foot ledge on the right of the big boulder above the lead in to trashcan. Nothing out here is too serious but it will get you if you let your bow sink in any of the rapids.

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Bing Oliver
14 years ago

Note that the two photos currently displayed appear to be from Watauga Gorge, not this section.

Gage Descriptions

Gage is at the put-in bridge.

Minimum is 2 inchs below zero.


Directions Description

To reach the take-out, follow HWY 105 out of Boone toward Foscoe.  Just after the Watauga Anglers shop, you will cross the river just before the traffic light at Broadstone Rd (The Ham Shoppe, turnoff for Valle Crucis). You will see a decent-sized parking area left, which is also used by fishermen. For the put-in, continue 2 miles further south on 105. Bear left just before Appalachain Angler's shop on Old Shull's Mill Rd, noting the dam which spans the river and divides the run. Your next left will be Shulls Mill Rd. When you pass over the river again, look for a place to park. We have not had trouble parking behind the church on the left, but obviously we don't want to lose the priviledge, so tread lightly and be modest in changing.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2003-06-09 High Fatality Inadequate Equipment Read More





Bing Oliver


Thomas O'Keefe


Emory Klesick


Brandon L Price


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193674 09/21/05 Bing Oliver n/a
1196586 11/20/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1206373 04/25/16 Emory Klesick
1205850 02/03/16 Brandon L Price Description, directions, comment edits.
1206372 04/25/16 Emory Klesick