Catawba - Great Falls

Catawba, South Carolina, US


Great Falls

Usual Difficulty III (for normal flows)
Length 2 Miles

Great Falls

Great Falls
Photo of Al James by Andrew Lazenby taken 02/23/03 @ ???

River Description

Normally dewatered unless water is spilling over the dam.

From Joemess on boatertalk (2-23-03):

A friend, my wife and I had a chance to run the Long section of the dewatered Catawba riverbed near Great falls. I do not know anybody that has ever ran this before and I figured with the rain we had there would be a chance it was running. When we got the the bridge above the put in, we could see just a little water starting to spill over the cofferdam. We set shuttle and headed off. One warning, the put in is on PRIVATE land. The takeout, however is on public land and can be accesessd at the Stumpy Pond Boat Ramp. For the first 3/4 mile or so there was not to much water and we did a fair amount of scraping over the rocks and did a lot of tree and dead wood dodging. After a set of islands where a creek empties into the riverbed it started to come alive. There were about 6 good rapids with many waves, wavetrains, and eddylines to goof on in between. I didn't see any huge waves to play on, but with the river 60-100 yards wide in places I am sure I could have missed them. Lots of fun. Took about 7 30 second movies and a few pics. The photos are here.

I uploaded one movie to American Whitewater but I am having no luck with the others. (is there a file size limit?) It can be seen at:

This was one of the nastier rapids of the day. (mostly because there was wood sharing the ride down with me) If I can't get the others to load I will have to figure somewhere else to put them or just mail them to those that are curious.

Thanks to my Wife and Al who did this with me today. It was amazing.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2003-03-22 13:20:28


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.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 16 2010 (2924 days ago)
Kevin YountDetails
any new news about releases on this section?
March 17 2005 (5024 days ago)
Andrew LazenbyDetails
Time for a long overdue update on this reach. In October of 2004 AW in partnership with Duke Power
successfully completed the flow study on both river sections. The quality of the whitewater and
playspots were impressive. We are currently in the middle of negotiations to determine the number
of opportunities to boat his section in the future. I look forward to continue to work with AW to
bring this section of the Catawba river back to life. Completion of this project is slated to

Andrew Lazenby
March 16 2005 (5025 days ago)
Any news or updates on this run? Will it see water in the future?
January 10 2005 (5090 days ago)
A major update is needed for this run. The AW arranged a series of test releases and the run is
being considereed for regular rleases.
March 23 2003 (5750 days ago)
In this months AW, Jeff Tallman wrote an article describing a section of the Catawba river in
between Rock Hill and Columbia S.C. This is a two mile section of old riverbed that has not had
water in it since the early 1900's on a regular basis. AW is trying to secure regular flows in the
channel for us to use.
With all ths rain we have had this last week, Great Falls is running as we speak.(according to duke
dude this afeternoon. It wasn't this morning) According to a Duke power contact there is at least 2
ft of water going over the Coffer dam and into the old Dewatered Riverbed. I am getting ready to
drive back down to look at it this afternoon and get some pictures of the Fishing creek Dam with 2
floodgates open. I have some photos I have taken inthe past when I have chanced upon it running and
ran the section and they can be viewed


there are photos of it with no water and with water running in both channels. The titles to the
albums will say Great falls or dewatered. There are 3 or 4 and they should be on the first

I will post an update in an hour or so after I get back to verify what the Duke person said. Ill
add details then.


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Associated Projects

  • Catawba Relicensing (SC)
    The relicensing of a string of dams on the Catawba River could restore the Great Falls of the Catawba, and bring massive public benefits throughout the watershed.