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Difficulty III-IV(V+)
Length 4.5 Miles
Flow Range 2000 - 10000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 361 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 02/24/2003 3:59 pm

River Description

some flatwater, a steep gorge, a mandatory portage, some good 3/4 boogy water, then some flatwater.

Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

Takes a lot of water. I know a group that put on when the watauga hit 3000 cfs.

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



article main photo

A Close Look at Cheoah River Fatalities

Charlie Walbridge

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)


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193725 02/24/03 n/a n/a