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Difficulty I-II
Length 3.5 Miles
Flow Range 325 - 750 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 570 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/11/2003 7:24 am

River Description

This section begins at the small town of Clifton about three miles east of Spartanburg, South Carolina. The putin is immediately below the old Clifton II mill dam. It is at a beach off Goldmine Road. Take Clifton-Glendale Rd. and turn onto Goldmine Road near the bridge over the Pacolet. You have to park across the street in an open dirt lot near a neck bar. The section is about 3.5 miles. The rapids are mostly class I -II. This is a good beginner's run. Nothing is very difficult and there are some decent small play waves at good levels. The Pacolet is 100' or so wide in this section. It can be paddled way above the levels mentioned above. However, many of the rapids would be washed out.The takeout at the end of the whitewater section is .25 miles up Lawson's Fork Creek river left at the bridge on Goldmine Road. Lawson Fork enters the Pacolet on river right in a bend. The trip can be extended if you paddle to Pacolet Mills, another couple of miles down river. There are no rapids past the confluence with Lawson's Fork Creek. If you go to Pacolet Mills, you have to portage a large dam on river left. It is mostly slow water in the last mile or so before the dam. The take out is on river left at the bridge.

River Description: This section of the Pacolet is downstream of several watershed lakes (Bowen, Rainbow , and Blalock). The river is about 100' wide with numerous shallow rocky shoals and several class two rapids. The are some decent small waves at the bottom of the rapid where an island splits the river. You normally have to go river right. The water quality is generally good for the section of the Pacolet. You paddle up Lawson's Fork Creek about 1/4 mile to the takeout at Goldmine Road. There is normally a noticeable difference in the water quality of Lawson's Fork.

Shuttle Directions: They are simple. Both putin and takeout are both on Goldmine Rd. The putin is about 1/4 mile past the intersection of Clifton-Glendale Rd. and Goldmine Rd. on Goldmine. This is at the large beach below the dam at Clifton II mill. The takeout is approximately 3 miles or so down Goldmine Rd. at the bridge over Lawson's Fork Creek. There is room to park on the shoulder of the road at take out.

****The worst recorded flood in South Carolina history took place on the Pacolet River and its tributary Lawson Fork Creek on June 6, 1903. It had rained of and on for five days. On June 6th it rained approximately 11". About 65 people were killed. There were several textile mills along the Pacolet that were heavily damaged or destroyed. Numerous homes were swept down the flooded river. Clifton #2 mill, at the putin to this section, was flooded up to the second floor. the furthest upstream end of the mill was demolished. It has been estimated that the Pacolet at the putin area was about 32' deep and 700'wide during the flood.

Rapid Descriptions


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15 years ago

this section of river needs maps.

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11 years ago

I paddle this section quite often when there is water (above 300). The rapids are class I and II that are great for beginning paddlers. If anyone is interested in paddling this section let me know. robinsondp(At)

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Daniel Robinson
11 years ago

Paddled this section today at 218, water was pouring over the dam at the put in. It was a nice paddle and not too boney, I would not paddle this below 205, unless you like dragging your boat down the river. If anyone wants to run this after work or would like a copy of a list of rapids and best lines let me know

Summary of Gauge Readings

There is no gauge at the putin. Use the AW

online gauge for Pacolet River below lake


Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
AW Gauge Info
570 cfs 01h23m n/a

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.


No Accident Reports




Jim Spears