Hazel Creek - Appalachian Trail to Fontana Lake.


Hazel Creek, North Carolina, US

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Appalachian Trail to Fontana Lake.

Usual Difficulty III-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Avg. Gradient 100 fpm


River Description

This creek is known as the "Crown Jewel" of trout fishing in GSMNP. It is a large creek, unusual for the park in that it has a gravel road for at least 5 to maybe 7 miles upstream. Carts are allowed.

I'd say that with a lot of water, it'd be a great class 3-4 run, with some 4+ drops. In the lower 5 miles there are some nice Sluice-type drops. Have not been up past 5.6 miles, where Bone Valley Creek comes in.

A couple miles up, on the main stream, is a falls of some extent. Put on your heavy hiking boots (that gravel is tough on the feet.) Get a good cart. Don Kirk's popular book "Smoky mountains Trout Fishing Guide" can give you more trail info. I'd like to fish way on up the trail-but without a helicopter, or someone to carry a big open boat for me, ddoubt that I'll be fortunate enough to paddle it! Check it out. Catch a fish. I imagine that the water is fishable no matter how high the water.

Hopefully someone will have the gumption to boat across Fontana, get their boat 5-7++? miles up the stream, and write a paddlin' report. I'll buy you a beer! A horse and a Kayak or C-1 might actually get you way up there.(Documentary material!) Gradient shows 100ft./mi. for the lower 5 mi.


http://www.nps.gov/applications/parks/grsm/ppMaps/GRSM%5FTrail%20Map%202005%2Epdf
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2006-01-28 18:53:32

Editors


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments


2009-07-29 11:04:34 (1730 days ago)
robert franklinDetails
I've run Hazel Creek a few times now and it remains one of my favorites. It's very secluded with
the occasional fisherman or hiker, pristine water quality (some of the cleanest waters you'll ever
find), and has some very nice ledges and a few drops. This is an intermediate level run with few
consequences at normal levels. Contrary to the description here on AW database, there are no class
IV's at normal levels and the III's are mostly clean and drop into calm pools every time. As the
water rises some holes can be pushed to class IV and lines become more important than ever. There
are very few places to sneak rapids and the general rule is to "go with the flow". Even at normal
levels some places are scrappy you'll get a nice workout trying to get through them. The biggest
threat on this creek is wood in some very inconvenient spots and the limited access means any
rescue is likely more than 6 hours away (You must be shuttled across Fontana lake and hike up
several miles to put in generally above the upper falls). This run is only worth it if you camp at
the Proctor campsite near the lake and drag boats up to do laps and make stops along the way to
paddle certain sections a few times. A nicely balanced cart system is really the only way to go
here.

2007-08-21 12:07:21 (2438 days ago)
x (1)
ive got a couple good mules and a pack saddle when we get a hurricane lets do it peace. I like
mules. Do you like mules?

2007-08-07 02:11:38 (2452 days ago)
robert franklinDetails
I ran this stretch with a friend and a well-balanced cart system and everything was runnable. If
you've never been here and want a gauge you are out of luck. USGS used to have a gauge here, but
have removed it. Generally if the area has had a decent rain and there are still puddles on the
walk up then you will be clear. The wide trail follows the creek closely, so be sure to scout
rapids on the walk up. Watch out for lots of wood. While the gradient listed is similar sounding to
Wilson Creek or other relatively steep runs, I'm not sure it is entirely accurate. At high water
the lower falls and upper falls would turn into Class IV's, but generally if water isn't rushing
over entire bottom ledge at lower falls (recognize this as the first and only small waterfall you
come to, about 7-8 foot drop) then you're still in class III territory. I've run the drop the a few
times and it seems to be totally clean and deep at the bottom. My suggestion is to run it
backwards.

2006-03-11 14:01:58 (2966 days ago)
brian nelsonDetails
This creek is known as the "Crown Jewel" of trout fishing in GSMNP. It is a large creek,
unusual for the park in that it has a gravel road for at least5(maybe 7 miles upstream. Carts are
allowed.I'd say that with a lot of water, it'd be a great class3-4 run, with some 4+ drops.in the
lower 5 mi.(There are some nice Sluice-type drops. Have not been up past 5.6 miles, where Bone
Valley Creek comes in. A couple miles up from there, on the main stream, is a falls of some extent.
Put on your heavy hiking boots(that gravel is tough on the feet.) Get a good cart.)Don Kirk's
popular book "Smoky mountains Trout Fishing Guide can give you more trail info. I'd like to
fish way on up the trail-but without a helicopter, or someone to carry a big open boat for me,
ddoubt that I'll be fortunate enough to paddle it! Check it out.Catch a fish. I imagine that the
water is fishable no matter how high the water. Hopefully someone will have the gumption to boat
across Fontana, get their boat 5-7++? miles up the stream, and write a paddlin' report. I'll buy
you a beer! A horse and a Kayak or C-1 might actually get you way up there.(Documentary material!)
Gradient shows 100ft./mi. for the lower 5 mi.
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