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Difficulty V
Length 3 Miles
Flow Range 1000 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 27 minutes ago 37 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/12/2005 11:26 am

River Description

Gauge Description:
The local gauge on the bridge upstream from the put-in - downstream river right side. 9" min, 12"--18" optimim, 20"-2' high but commonly run (watch fishbowl and revelations).
The cfs gauge listing is for Lookout Creek, just downstream of Trenton, Ga. Bear drains into lookout creek. The gauge is less than two miles from the Bear takeout.

Information from local expert, Ron Stewart, Box 1337, Chatanooga, TN 3740
Bear was first run by Ron Stewart and Doug Wellman in the early 90s.

Significant rapids are:

1. Edward Scissorhands - constriction with sharp shelf off right (get up on left)

2. Surreal Pillow - right sneak at med flows, portage best when low - trees block channel

3. Fishbowl - hidden piton center of 1st ledge, big hole below over 20"

4. Snakepit

5. Knockin on heavens door - leads into

6. Stairway to Heaven - faster than you may think. Eddy left and early to scout. Portage by walking IN FLOW down left (slick above waterline). Numerous accidents here - compressed vertabrae, skull fractures, broken ribs, elbows, etc. Big fun, big bounce.

7. Cosmic trigger - watch for new logs, run right

8. Big Bang - Far right boof to shallows - hard to line up launch pad w/o scouting. Far left run at very high flows or portage river left by jumping into pool.

9. Reveleation: 3 drops - big hole and pile-ups at high flows. Set spotter or space out.

10. Momentary Lapse of Reason: big boof! Sketch crack w/ piton at low flows

11. Armageddon: watch for trees in runout, super-technical but by now . . .

Daniel's Creek enters from river left - hike up river left trail1/2 mi for 4-5 additional drops when levels are over 15" and logs permit. 30'er has not been run.

12. Pinball Wizard - Mucho technical drop with changing log configurations. Bottom right slot pretty nasty w/ pin danger at low flows.

13. Gargoyle - scout at low flows

14. Omega - dangerous seive just downstream on left (1/2 river dissappears). Very continuous lead-in for 1/2 mile at high flows. Don't leave your 1st timer buddies and blaze in blind!!! Rapids fine, but the seive warrants consideration.

About a third of the way down the run Daniel Creek will enter on river left.
According to the topo maps from the confluence down the creek becomes Sitton Gulch Creek. Eventually the creek drains into Lookout Creek in Trenton, Ga.

Rapid Descriptions

Surrealistic Pillow

Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.1
From Daniel Talley: "That one picture with the tree in it is from Surrealistic Pillow. This is after Edward Scissor Hands and the first large rapid that you come to. We run the far right crack that ends with a ten foot drop, which is what the picture shows." Center line blocked by log and undercut, left too rocky. Often portaged when low - pins in right crack happen.

Stairway to Heaven

Class - 5.2 Mile - 0.3

3-step 45' drop with the 2nd step 15'er landing on flat rock. Super-fun but back and rib injuries common. Head injuries when people flip, too. A common story you hear about Stairway is that people scout the drop and say "no way am I running that!". At which point they start to look at the portage. Then the hapless boater quietly gets back in their boat and starts to psyche up. Walk up and out river left to Cloudland Canyon picnic area if needed.

Big Bang

Class - 5.2 Mile - 0.6
This used to be a mandatory portage but is now commonly run against the river right bank with boof as shown. The landing area is very shallow. Only portage is to jump off river left into pool.

Momentary Lapse of Reason

Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.8
Big easy boof above 13" ; nasty f-up flake in channel when low. Memorable piton to skirt-pop to right wall overhung rock grovel move when boof gets blown.


Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.9


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clay wright
13 years ago

Heard several boaters made an 11'' run Nov. 2006, some new wood in lower but all avoidable at that level on that day. Major windstorm later in month so be aware..

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clay wright
15 years ago

Heads up for locals; there is a piton rock in the
second ledge in 'snakepit' (just below
Fishbowl) and the right exit rock is now
undercut since 2004 hurricanes. Consider
scouting. Tree below Surrealistic sneak. And
a left slot between Big Bang and Revelations
has a nasty pin rock in it now - drive left or run
the center ramp instead. <br />

default user thumbnail
15 years ago

from Boatertalk:
Bear 20'' 4PM - usual suspects (brad, todd, mark, brent, lane, bryce) doing laps. New

Forum: BoaterTalk
Date: Dec 08 2004, 8:25 GMT
From: ClayW

Finally made it down and it was every bit as good as remembered.
There's 'new' wood in the surrealistic sneak (runnable?) and an 'new' undercut on the right in the rapid below Fishbowl (Snakepit) and above Knockin on Heaven's Door. Meltdowns in Cosmic Trigger, Corey ran left at Big Bang, then surfed Revelations (on my directions). Logs in left channel at Armagaddon (still) but squeeky clean down from there.
65 degrees - in December? Love this season!

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16 years ago

AW negotiated access to the Bear in 1995. Support AW for keeping classic steep creeks like the Bear open!!

Gage Descriptions

The local gauge on the bridge upstream from the put-in - downstream river right side. 9" min, 12"--18" optimim, 20"-2' high but commonly run (watch fishbowl and revelations).

The cfs gauge listing is for Lookout Creek, just downstream of Trenton, Ga. Bear drains into lookout creek. The gauge is less than two miles from the Bear takeout.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, dies

Charlie Walbridge

Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, died on November 20th, 2019. He was 83. A microbiologist by training, Terry began paddling in the mid-1960's while a professor at Emory University. He took to whitewater readily, and it became an important focus of his life. In 1969 he met veteran paddler Doug Woodward, and in 1971 the two became the technical advisers for the movie “Deliverance.” Afterwards, Terry and Woodward purchased the rafts Warner Brothers used in filming and bought 19 acres near the river. This became Southeastern Expeditions, one of the Southeast’s first whitewater outposts on the Chattooga. In 1974, Terry took then-Gov. Jimmy Carter on three trips on the Chatooga River, totaling 57 miles. This inspired Carter to get the Chattooga included in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and influenced later decisions protecting rivers across the U.S.“Terry adopted me as one of his students,” Carter told Outside Online in a 2017 interview. “it opened my eyes to the relationship between a human being and a wild river that I never had contemplated before that. When I got to be president I vetoed 16 different dam projects all over the United States.” Terry eventually quit his Emory University job and started full time career in environmental advocacy, including founding American Rivers, a principal U.S. conservation group. For the next 30 years he specialized in environmental projects involving rivers and wetlands and later, when he became a board-certified toxicologist, he developed an expertise in hazardous waste cleanups. He was an active paddler until sidelined by Parkinson's Disease. A passionate teacher and advocate, he is sorely missed by all who knew him. Click through for an excellent obituary and a photo of Terry taking Governor Carter over Bull Sluice!

article main photo

Ron Stewart Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Kevin Colburn

Last week, American Whitewater recognized Ron Stewart for his many contributions to river stewardship - or more accurately steep creek stewardship.   American Whitewater presented Ron with an AW Lifetime Achievement Award at an AW event in Atlanta Georgia on September 28th, following a presentation on the many rivers and creeks Ron has sought to protect.  The honor comes with a framed and numbered William Nealy "mystery move" print.

clay wright


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190259 07/12/05 clay wright n/a