Bear Creek - Hwy 129 pull off by bridge to Canyon View Rd takeout

Bear Creek, Georgia, US


Hwy 129 pull off by bridge to Canyon View Rd takeout (Cloudland Canyon)

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 270 fpm
Max Gradient 475 fpm

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven
Photo of Daniel Talley by Chris Young taken 03/15/01

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03568933 1000 - 5000 cfs V 00h56m 494 cfs (too low)

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.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2005-07-12 11:26:45


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.1Surrealistic Pillow5.0Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.3Stairway to Heaven5.2Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.6Big Bang5.2Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.8Momentary Lapse of Reason5.0Hazard Waterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Surrealistic Pillow (Class 5.0, Mile 0.1)

Surrealistic Pillow

Surrealistic Pillow
Photo by Daniel Talley

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)

Another Stairway View

Another Stairway View
Photo of Jerry Jascomb by Scott Shoup taken Winter '93/'94 @ 14"

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)

Big Bang

Big Bang
Photo of Kat Levitt by Matt Theiling taken 07/18/04 @ 12"

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)

Just below Momentary Lapse of Reason

Just below Momentary Lapse of Reason
Photo of John by Daniel Talley

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.

Armageddon (Class 5.0, Mile 0.9)


Photo of Jerry Jascomb by Scott Shoup taken Winter '93/'94 @ 14"

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 4 2006 (4366 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
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..
December 10 2004 (5089 days ago)
clay wrightDetails
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 />
December 8 2004 (5091 days 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!
August 14 2003 (5574 days ago)
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