Put in at one of the many outfitters along river right. Make certain that you have the permission of the outfitter before parking at their place. Similarly at the take-out make certain to park near the bridge.
From the bridge, the river works down several Class I-II ledge drops. Then the current slows and the river is impounded by a lake that lasts nearly half a mile. The pattern then resume of working down small ledges. At mile 2.8 the river passes underneath I-40 for the first of two times. As the river turns to the left, you soon encounter the Ledges, a series of Class II+ drops.
After the last ledge the current briefly calms then quickly loses gradient for the next quarter mile. These shoals offer many holes and rocks to negotiate through fast current. After another series of Class 1-2 drops the river calms as it turns to the left. Here is the river is divided by Brown Island, just above the most significant rapid on the river, Maytag [Class II(III)]. Work to either the right or the left of the bridge support for I-40. After another small drop, the river passes underneath the bridge for Greasy Cove.
A few hundred feet on the right is the public take-out.
Ran this section in our canoes on 8/6 at 1370 cfs with our boys.
A couple of notes:
-the parking area at the upstream end of USA Raft is now public parking with easy access. The take out at Greasy Cove Road is staffed by a Cocke County river control officer and has changing room and portable toilet.
-allow 1 - 1.5 hours for the water to arrive from the Waterville powerhouse
-there was more raft traffic than we expected (it was Saturday) but we could find space between raft groups
- we ran Maytag down the left bank but there was even more room to the right of the holes to pass safely
-a good description can be found in Kirk Eddlemon's "Whitewater of the Southern Appalachians, Volume 2: The Mountains"
-overall a gentle run and a nice change of pace for beginners. It is wider than the Tuckaseegee and didn't appear to offer as much opportunity for eddy and ferry practice and due to the width rescue could be more challenging.
Me and some buddies ran this stretch of the Pigeon today. We had a great time. The ledges provide a number of play opportunities...did some bow stands and such today at the larger set of ledges after the 1st I-40 bridge. Maytag is fun, just stay to the left! Good short trip, could run it twice probably. We took some pictures...will add them on here as soon as possible.
Boatable releases occur on the Pigeon most of the year. In addition to the releases whose main purpose is to generate power, Progress Energy is required to provide recreational releases from 12noon to 6pm (as recorded at a brige one mile downstream from the put-in) every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. They are also required to provide recreational releases from 2pm to 6pm (as recorded at the brige) three weekdays a week for each of the four weeks preceeding Memorial Day weekend.
Call 1-800-899-4435 to hear a recorded message announcing the anticipated release dates for the coming week. The message is updated every Friday year round. For current Pigeon River Gorge levels, consult the boatingbeta MyFlows page. The minimum recreational release is 1200 cfs.
We have had releases on this reach but don't show any currently. This information is
gathered by the public. If you know about releases then contact us about them. If
you would volunteer to enter the releases, then reach out to us.
The Lower Pigeon, like the Upper, is a dam release river. Scheduled releases occur from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The USGS gauge is just below the water intake. It takes a little more than an hour for the water to reach the lower section.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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