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Difficulty III+
Length 3.5 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 06/14/2004 2:56 pm

River Description

From Boatertalk:
Re: Thunderhole Creek, NC ncriverboarder
Date: Mar 03 2004, 11:44 GMT
From: Mr.Wilson

Thunderhole Creek is off of Globe Rd. between Collettsville and Blowing Rock. If you have a NC gazetteer, it's easy to find. The access trail is a spur off of FR 4071. We hiked in about a mile to get the footage you saw. The rest of the creek was too low to run. Thunderhole would need a lot of rain to run. Very small watershed. A run of about 3-4 miles could be made down to Upton, there's good access there. Don't know about in between, but it looks as if the gradient is all in the upper parts. A put-in as high as the confluence with New Years Creek would be possible I think. I would say that it is mainly class III, but boat control and eddy catching skills are a must as wood is always a problem on creeks this small.


Put-in : ~1850' at New Years Ck Conf. at 36.1062, -81.6949
Take-out: ~1200' at Upton at 36.0682, -81.6948
Elev.loss: ~650'

Rapid Descriptions


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Matt Jackson
8 months ago

Ran this on 6/9/2019 with Jack and Mike. The gate for FR 4071 was open and we put-on on New Years Creek upstream of the Thunderhole confluence. For reference Watauga hit 12k, Lost Cove was flooded, and last I heard there was 8" of rain reported around the High Country recently. Expect flood conditions for this thing to run. From the put-in to the confluence, expect it to be super micro. The put-in drops on New Years Creek are sweet and the creek follows a very tight course to the confluence with Thunderhole. Wood and brush are common, eddies are tiny, and visibility is minimal. After the confluence the creek widens but follows a similar Class 3+/4 creeking nature EXCEPT for two bigger rapids, one of which being the horseshoe hole in the main photo of this article. With our much higher flows it created one of the worst-looking hydraulics I've seen in a minute. All risk, no reward, obvious portage. Riverwide strainers are plentiful. A low bridge crossing the river marked our take-out. The rating is accurate, but I would not bring a Class 3+ boater out here. This is by all means a wilderness creek run. Eddies are tiny, scouting and portaging is difficult, and mandatory portages are plentiful. If there's a place where being able to drive onto shore and get out of your boat quick is a useful skill, this is it. Regardless, it's a beautiful run and a very fun adventure that few people experience. If it's running, give it a shot, especially because you won't have many other options

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Dale Glenn
15 years ago

Wow! Just put a message on Boatertalk and you're on the AW page.Mack Roebuck and I attempted this at a water level that was too low. We were able to run one flume/waterfall where we got video and stills. I had no intention of making it public, but someone asked on BT, and here it is. I'd look for a few inches of rain in a short period of time on the Bailey Camp rain gauge at the site for Caldwell County NC. Best to be there when it's raining or everything else in the area is flooded. Now how do I add a photo?

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Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194072 06/14/04 n/a n/a