Run Length: 4 miles
Putin: Waterloo Falls
Takeout: Spring Creek Community
Waterloo Falls is a 40-footer. It is runnable when the water is high. It has been run before. The "secret creek" is actually in some really old guidebook, so I guess it isn't so much of a secret. I have decided to reveal the location of my secret run for the following reasons:
1. The access issues I was worried about have become far less of a problem. The putin and takeout are both on private land. The entire creek is bordered by private land, and some sections are viewable from houses. The landowners in the area live there because they like their privacy. Remember this if you are there. Be extremely respectful. Be quiet, drive slowly through the gorge, don't take your dog here. Under no circumstances should you be in view while changing. Access is okay now; let's keep it that way. If someone ruins my ability to paddle here I will seriously regret my decision to post this.
2. Clay's post. I agree in so many ways. Localism is very bad for the sport in most cases. I am going out on a limb here that everything will go fine, and if we all follow the rules it should.
3. It turns out that it is not as much of a secret as we thought. A lot of old-timers around the area have heard of it, just no one paddles it anymore. More on this later.
The creek is 2 miles of whitewater, 2 miles of moving flatwater. It is in one of the most scenic gorges I have ever been in. It is runnable after basically any rain. At every level there is at least one nice playhole, usually several. The river holds water very well.Rapids:First Ledge: Run river right. Then ferry to river left in front of the island/strainer that covers the entire side you just boofed. Basically a 4 foot ledge drop. Hit the boof and it will kick you up and out.Second Ledge: Several lines here. We now always run the right line. Slide down the slide, boof the ledge. Hole will work you if you miss your boof. At really high water sneak it on the river left. Center lines possible at some levels, but they are rocky, and pins are possible. Scout/Walk river left. Class III.
Next is a series of awesome play holes. All holes on this river are shallow--vertical tricks work only at really really big water. Flat-spin yourself silly. Pictures were taken here today, at a big, but not too big level.Electric Slide: Big river-wide long slide. Not fast, feels like you are taking an escalator down. You want to start moving right, and hit one of the two eddies on the river right before the next rapid.Horseshoe: I believe this was originally called Big Daddy. It is a big curved ledge that covers the majority of the river. There is a chute on river right. Run it through here. Start working you way left as you head down the chute. There is a big hole on the river right at the bottom. Scary at really big water, but still avoidable, Flushy at medium high levels, excellent play at lower water. I have had several rides here where after about 5 minutes I just decided I was tired of being in the hole.
There is a waterfall, Mill Creek Falls, coming in on the river left below the falls. Kind of neat. The rest of the river is read-and-go class II, a few good surf waves, some fun wave trains, and a lot of flat water.
Our run times are usually between 2-4 hours, depending on play. Could be done faster, probably around 1.5 hours without much trouble, if you just ran it.Takeout: Head North out of Cookeville, TN, on Willow Ave (Exit 286 off I-40) You will travel about 5 miles out of Cookeville or so. You will enter Jackson County, then pass a school, and then a church. The road turns left, with a road heading straight. Take the road that is straight in front of you. After a mile the pavement ends, and then you head down into the gorge. Go all the way to the creek and turn right. Turn left at the split, across the bridge. Follow this road up the creek until you come to a house with a footbridge leading across the river. Park in the pull-off for the bridge. At the request of the landowner, leave a note on your dashboard that says "kayaking". His name is Gabe, and he is a nice guy. You can also use his boat ramp to take out on. Leave as few cars as possible here, and don't tear up the grass, or leave trash, or get naked, or drink beer, or leave you dog, or anything you wouldn't want someone doing in your front yard. Remember, this is private property, and you have no right to be there. It is only by his kindness we are allowed to park there. There is no public access to this creek.Putin: From the takeout head back the way you came, downstream. Keep following the road along the river, until you come to a road that heads right across a bridge. Turn and go over the bridge, heading up the road. Follow this road for several miles until you see Waterloo Falls Rd on your right. It angles off to the right, and uphill. Take this to the bottom of the hill and turn right on the gravel road just before the bridge. Take the right split, not the one with the gate, the next one. Park by the top of the falls. Either run the falls, or walk your boat back up the hill, turn down the road with the gate, carry around on the left side, follow the driveway down, turn left on the trail, and head down the metal staircase. This leads to the river just below the falls.
Putin to Cookeville, and I-40: Head back out to the paved road and turn right. Cross the bridge and continue to the stop sign. Merge with the road there, it will be Washington Ave back in Cookeville.
Follow this road into town, and follow the signs to I-40. This will not be the same way you came in, but will work.Rules:
1. No changing in public--this is all private land.
2. Be discreet with beer.
3. No dogs.
4. Take out your trash, and someone else's. There is a ton of trash up here; bring a bag and help clean it up a little. I am sure this will help with our access.
5. Be quiet aroud the houses.
6. Drive slowly in the gorge. There are painted signs that say 25 mph, try to adhere. Remember, this is all private land, don't make the landowners hate paddlers. This creek is close enough to my house that I can run it before work. Don't take that away from me. I have worked hard at improving relations with the landowners. Don't make this work in vain.
This creek is fun, but probably not worth driving to. I like it because it is really close. Almost anything would be a better run, but nothing is closer to me here in Cookeville. Try it if you want, but let me just warn you it is NOT on par with Tellico, or anything like that.
By the way, this was not a first descent for me. I have heard it was run in the early 70's, before I was born.
There is a strainer across the entire creek just after you pass a barn on your left where the cows come down to the creek. This strainer is maybe half way through the run after all the real rapids. It's not super dangerous, but just a heads up to everyone.
heard there was barbed wire up in runout this week, watch for it in case it gets put back up. C
I don't remember how to change the main page, so I will do this for now. With all of the people who seem to be interested in running this now, I thought I would add some more info. When I first posted this run, I lived 15 minutes from the putin or takeout. This run holds water well, is fairly short, and has a few good rapids. I could do it before class, and after work, sometimes both. If you are looking for a ton of quality whitewater, don't drive a long way to do this one. If you are looking for a beautiful gorge, with some fun whitewater thrown in, you are in the right place.
I know the driving directions are vague, you will see why when you get there. I have heard there are road signs now, so if someone wants to send me the names, I will add them. When I first posted this, there weren't any signs.
Good luck to everyone paddling this creek, I loved it for a couple of years, probably got in almost 100 runs.
By the way, the height on Waterloo falls came from a hiking guide book I had, looks to be more like 30 or a little over to me.
If you put in at the bridge above the falls (the one you have to drive over) you add an additional 5 foot waterfall. I have always asked permission from the man who owns the metal staircase at the base of the 40 footer and he has always said yes. You have to walk very close to his living room to get to the metal stairs, so get permission. P.S. by putting in at the bridge you shorten your shuttle, add a 5 footer and only lengthen the run by 1/4 mile, just dont blunder down the 40 footer. This run is the the Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to the Streams of TN by Benner & Sehlinger of Menasha Ridge Press.
Nice run . . . several fast slides with a couple
drops you can run most anywhere. Hard to
boat scout - blank horizon lines with fast
shallow water draws you in and over. Follow
the flow (or scout early)!
Waterloo Falls does look tempting; might be
sweet! might pitch and piton :-( I'd guess 30',
but a ledge 10' down looks hard to clear. Hit n
bounce or try to clear it an risk pitching . .
. ..No-shuttle option: paddle to big trib falls
and hike back out. Start river right, then right
up the slides, then river left trail, ferry back to
the stairs at Waterloo Falls.
Today's level just over 0 at lower bridge, right
at 1 on upper.
Best gauge at Waterloo Falls Rd bridge on
downstream side. Lower gauge only goes to
Thanks for the beta, Scott!
10 years ago
2.0 feet will be scrappy with one really good play hole at horseshoe.
18.0 feet is my personal highest recorded run. Class IV+-V at this level.
Normal runs 4.0-8.0
The guage is of a river that Spring Creek flows into, it is the main trib. I am working on a gage an the correlation, but this river has proven to be an accurate indicator.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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Air Time On Spring Creek, TN
Kamptner park and play
Meatgrinder - Top Ledge Entry
Meatgrinder - Meltdown Line
Meatgrinder- Melt Down
Meatgrinder- The Meat Line
Meatgrinder - Bottom Ledge
Meatgrinder-Second Ledge Entry
Rocker On Meatgrinder
Goat and his new paddle
Running the chute
Putin, just below Waterloo Falls
Pushed out of the hole
Back-surfing @ Horseshoe
Second play hole 2
Second play hole
Mill Creek Falls
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