Conasauga Creek - FR 341 to Holly Springs Rd Bridge

Conasauga Creek, Tennessee, US


FR 341 to Holly Springs Rd Bridge

Usual Difficulty III-IV(V+) (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 130 fpm
Max Gradient 280 fpm


Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03518500 5.00 - 8.00 ft III-IV(V+) 00h24m 1.88 ft (too low)

River Description

It is rumored that Conasauga Creek was run first by Mike Lewis of USA raft

The run is 1.7 miles of whitewater and 1.3 of flatwater, due to a lack of an earlier takeout at this point. From Tellico Plains, go 2.5 miles south on Highway 68. Turn onto Holly Springs Rd., which has a sign for Towee Falls Church. Proceed through this quiet mountain valley for 3 miles, bearing right at a Y, thus not crossing the creek. Continue just under half a mile to a bridge that crosses the stream. Park in the spot on the downstream river right side of the bridge just out of the way of traffic. This is the takeout and the gauge. To the putin, go back to 68 and after turning right, immediately turn right on to FR 341 to Conasauga Falls. 2.5 miles down the road there is a right turn for the Falls Trailhead. One can scout the creek from this trail. To the putin, continue past this turnoff another 2 miles to where the creek is. Putin here. There is limited parking at the putin and takeout.

Description: The creek starts right off with a 5 foot ledge best run on the right, though a more interesting line is on the left. The creek is non stop 3-3+ moves and boofs for the next 4/10 mile. The gradient for this stretch averages to 280ft/m There is an undercut half way through this section. The wood is cleaned out for now. A brief respite ensues, followed by an island. Go left, but avoid the log at the end by beaching up on the shallows on the right. Some more bends and isolated class 3 brings the paddler to the takeout eddy for the falls. If you haven't been here before, err on the side of caution.

The falls is a 35 foot cascade called Conasauga Falls, and is definitely 5+. It is a drop of LVM type nature. It can be run, but I will not explain it. Below here is a series of slides that is called Chutes and Ladders. There is a 7,12,8,and 15 foot series here, which is overall gradual in nature but still very horizon-lined and intimidating if you haven't scouted. Easy big fun though.

After the slides, look around and notice this previously unnoticed beautiful gorge. Appreciate the lack of roads and human impact. It's rare. Next the stream kicks several class 3 rapids and 3-5 foot complex ledges your way all the way to the flats in the valley. At higher levels this run is definitely solid class 4 and only a couple of inches at the gauge will make a big difference in the gorge, due to it's channeling effect. The valley is beautiful and there are two beaver dams, one you run and another that is a walk. The farmers will probably give you some weird looks but they seem friendly. Since this is such a new run please takeout at the county bridge, as this is the only public area to takeout at this point. We don't want access jeopardized for future paddlers.



For more information please click on the link below:

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-09-27 16:52:35


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0First LedgeIII+Putin Photo
0.4Gettin InterestingIVPhoto
0.9Conasauga Falls5.2Access Portage Hazard Waterfall
1.0Chutes & Ladders Part OneIII+Waterfall Photo
1.1Chutes & Ladders Second DropIII+Waterfall Photo
1.1Chutes & Ladders Third DropIIIWaterfall Photo
1.1Chutes & Ladders Last DropIII+Waterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

First Ledge (Class III+)

First Ledge

First Ledge
Photo by Kirk Eddlemon @ minus 3 inches

The action starts about 4 paddle strokes from the putin. It is a 5 foot drop. Run it on the right or left. The left is undercut.

Gettin Interesting (Class IV, Mile 0.4)

Boulder Bouncing

Boulder Bouncing
Photo by Kirk Eddlemon @ minus 3 inches

Just some good boulder boofing and weaving with some pins and dead ends thrown in for good measure.

Conasauga Falls (Class 5.2, Mile 0.9)
You first

Chutes & Ladders Part One (Class III+, Mile 1.0)

Just Add Water

Just Add Water
Photo by Kirk Eddlemon @ minus 3 inches

Bounce down just left of center on the obvious tongue, which is not so obvious at the low level the picture was taken.

Chutes & Ladders Second Drop (Class III+, Mile 1.1)

Chutes & Ladders

Chutes & Ladders
Photo by Kirk Eddlemon @ minus 3 inches

Slide down the left or right, the right being more straightforward, the left with a turn halfway through.

Chutes & Ladders Third Drop (Class III, Mile 1.1)

Chutes & Ladders

Chutes & Ladders
Photo by Kirk Eddlemon @ minus 3 inches

Just a low angle slide connecting the second and fourth slides.

Chutes & Ladders Last Drop (Class III+, Mile 1.1)

Chutes & Ladders

Chutes & Ladders
Photo by Kirk Eddlemon @ minus 3 inches

This is the final slide into a nice pool below. it is a beautiful view looking up from this pool.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 20 2009 (3314 days ago)
Alex ZendelDetails
We got to the take out and saw 12". Two people we were boating with, both of whom are usually very
grounded and trustworthy, told us that 14" was a good low. They had apparently been pulling beta
off of this page using their iPhone and I still don't understand how they misinterpreted this beta.
None of us had run Conasauga before and we were looking forward to paddling a new creek. During the
paddle I remember thinking, "This feels below minimum" .... several times. I agree with Kirk. 14"
should be considered a bare minimum. I don't think I'm ever putting on below 16-18" and I'm no high
water snob. We ran Coker at a nice low or medium low level later that day. I strongly recommend
that you go there if Conasauga's gauge is below 14" Otherwise, this was a damn fun run. Can't wait
to paddle it when there's actually water.