It appears the most dependable way to anticipate if Yellow Creek is running is to check the Wauchecha AFWS rain gauge, which sits on the southeastern corner of the upper watershed. In the summer a minimum of 1 inch of rain 4-5 hours before putting on is needed. In the winter the same amount of rainfall would create a nice level.
Another way to anticipate when Yellow Creek is running is to use the Cheoah gage. To use it you must assume that there is no or minimal discharge coming from the Cheoah. The only other major tributary upstream of the gauge is Deep Creek, which is micro and drops fast (not runnable, by the way). When I see the Cheoah spike, that means Yellow and Deep are both going. Once Deep drops out of the curve, the gauge practically reads just for Yellow since it's so close. Unfortunately, we need more runs to be reported to determine accurate correlations, though I think 300 cfs as a low, 450 as mid, and 600+ as max is a good starting place. A significant limitation of the use of the Cheoah gage is that on a normal spike, by the time the water reaches Tapoco, the run is dropping fast. In addition, it can be hard to distinguish between Yellow Creek water and all the other water flowing past the Cheoah gage.
We were out there today and it was around 1.8-2.0 feet on the colvert and it was juicy I would venture to say close to the high side of good. Just watch out there is lots of wood out there.
Jerry We ran it on feb 1st 08 level was 1.5 felt like a good low medium level
We checked the new culvert gauge on May 5 and it was a foot. Hiked up, looked awfully bony. What is a good level on this gauge?
Hey this is steven I just wanted to comment that me and my buddy daniel young ran yellow earlier this month at a very low flow VERY LOW. Like paddling on rocks the whole time. It was a blast! anyway. I just wanted to add that it looked like there was some new wood on a couple rapids I don't know there names though. So keep an eye out for that.
Ran Yellow Creek today at 9 inches or should I say I scooted it. All drops were runable just too low. Cheoah was at 134cfs.
There was plenty of water to run the 20 footer. It'd be a great park-n-huck falls even at low water. It's gotta be the easiest 20 footer I've ran. It has a nice pool at the top to simply float off the lip, just run it center to right of center. The left side could hurt.
Obie, Daniel, & myself did this run on 12-07-2004. Beware of a few nasty strainers on the river-left shore at the 2nd to last boulder drop before the tunnel. The sieve also had a huge log jammed in it. Duck under 2 trees on 2nd of the triple slides. Belive it's called Limbo. AWESOME run! Ran at about 350-400 cfs then ran Cheaoh at well over 3,600 cfs.
On 8/7/04 I put a gage up on Yellow Creek. Its located at the take-out on Hwy 129 at the Yellow Creek & Cheoah confluence. It is a spray painted gage, upstream on river left of the culvert -- best seen from upstream river right. 0" is the base of the culvert. It was running 5" when I painted it, so the gage actually starts at 6" and caps out at 5ft. The marks are in 2" incraments. I would assume a minimum run would have to be somewhere over 1ft. Please, start reporting levels so we can dial in a low, med and high for this one.
We ran it Saturday 2/7/04. Cheoah was around 120 CFS. Seemed to be about the same level the pictures were taken at. Seemed like a Good level, maybe a little low. 4 peoplein our group ran most of the stuff and 2 of us walked most of it...I was in the latter. But still fun. We ended up walking from below the falls all the way to below the sieve. We weren't real sure about where it was. Seems like you could run some of the other stuff below the falls but before the Sieve. The Portage "trail" was marked with orange ribbons which made the portage a little easier...but not much easier. Someone should paint a gauge on one of the bridges so we could start to figure out what it takes to run...
I first ran Yellow Creek with Daniel from the Nantahala Gorge on March 30th, 2002. Anyone out there know of an earlier descent?
There are currently ongoing negotiations to protect Yellow Creek from development and other water quality impacts through Dam relicensing. The dam owner on the Cheaoh owns all of the Yellow Creek Gorge. It appears likely that a significant buffer will be established that protects the creek and our right to access it. AW is working to protect this creek, along with the Cheoah River. The run above the falls features a number of slides. The nature of the creek changes after the 2 or 3 slides below the falls into a more boulder drop style of creekin. The second boulder rapid after the falls has a nasty sieve in it and should be portaged. This requires also portaging the first boulder rapid.
A spray painted staff gage (thanks Rob!) is located at the take-out on Hwy 129 at the Yellow Creek & Cheoah confluence. It is upstream on river left of the culvert -- best seen from upstream river right. 0" is the base of the culvert. It was running 5" when painted, so the gage actually starts at 6" and caps out at 5ft. The marks are in 2" increments.
At this time our best guess for reading the gage is as follows:
1 foot: bare minimum
1.2 : nice low
1.4 : med
1.6 and up: high
Please help dial this gage in: report your runs!
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One of the final drops
Beneath the Falls
Yellow Creek 2ft
bottom half of Tongue & groove
log crossing above entry to last rapid
Yellow Creek Falls
(RM) Yellow Creek Gage
One of the drops below the falls
Chris runs a slide below the falls
Chris runs the 20 footer
Charlie Runs the 20 Footer
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The recent death of Chris Clark at Python Rapid on North Carolina's Cheoah River is the third at this site in the last six years. In each case, the person who died was an expert paddler and their paddling partners did not see exactly what happened. Let's take a close look at the Cheoah below Bear Creek Falls and develop strategies for future runs. The river here is very fast and continuous. After a fast lead-in (Chaos), the river drops over Bear Creek Falls, a 12' drop. Below, most of the flow pushes toward the river right channel (Python). Ferrying over to the easier river left channel (the West Prong) requires careful boat control. Python itself contains several nasty holes and sieves, with a bad hole blocked by a boulder at the bottom. There is a good route through it, but paddlers need to plan their route carefully. Scouting is a good idea for first timers, although catching eddies and getting out is not going to be easy. Groups need to stay together.. The rapid is tough enough that you can't watch your buddy all the time, but you can be ready to help if needed. Click through for links to the accident reports, photos, and comments from expert Cheoah River paddlers. (Photo above by Boyd Ruppelt)
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