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Difficulty II+(III)
Length 4 Miles
Flow Range 250 - 2500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 30 minutes ago 226 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/03/2019 1:59 am

River Description

Clear Fork consists of mostly class II+ rapids with one class III near the end. It is frequented by boaters looking to make the Big South Fork of the Cumberland run longer.

Burnt Mill Bridge to Confluence Shuttle Information

From the takeout parking lot take John Long Road for 4.8 miles. Make a right on Airport Road for 1 mile. Turn left on Detour Road for 1 mile. Turn right across the railroad tracks. Make a right on Hwy 27. Go 6.0 miles to Old Hwy 27, which is the second right past the New River Bridge. Follow Old Hwy 27 for 1.3 miles to B&H Market and Deli. Make a right then a left at the next stop sign. Go about 2 miles to the Crossroads Church and make another right. Burnt Mill Bridge will be approximately 1 mile.

Here is a link to a Big South Fork area map. The roads mentioned above are very detailed on this map.

Camping Options

Camping options are available in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Additional Information
For additional information about paddling in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, checkout A Guide to Paddling in the Big South Fork.

Here is a link for all information on the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Contact the streamKeeper: Brandon Hughett, Knoxville, Tennessee

Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0
Burnt Mill Bridge is a put-in on Clear Fork. A new bridge has been recently built. Parking is available at the west end of the bridge.

The Flume a.k.a. The Funnel

Class - III Mile - 3.4
The Flume is the middle of three rapids on Clear Fork where the river channels into a 10ft wide passage. The entrance rapid is refered to as Rocky Top while the rapid after the Flume is called Broken Rib. This section is also called The Little Three. The Flume can creat a strong backwash at higher flows and can surprise you. You will be in it before you realize where you are.

Confluence Takeout

Class - Mile - 4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
New River and Clear Fork meet at the confluence to form the Big South Fork. This is also the putin for the Big South Fork of the Cumberland. Access to the parking area is by hiking 1/4 mile uphill to the end of John Long Road.


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5 years ago

Thursday we had a mixed group, from Canada eh?, that did Clear Fork to the Confluence while a smaller group went all the way down to Leatherwood Ford on the BSF proper. Clear Fork was approx 570cfs. Six BlackFly canoes and one kayak (me). Plenty of water to avoid a scraping, shallow day on this section. Once you turn off of Highway US27 the posted directions for this section work fine, but there are also supplemental Brown Natl Park Service signs and other signage to get you to Burnt Mill Bridge without issue. Pit Toilets at BMB now. Our group all scouted Funnel/Flume Rapid from river left and setup rope on river left. Speaking of which, about the time you'd be thinking that "Flume should be showing up soon" Clear Fork starts to narrow down and you get into your first more-interesting rapid after a long-ish flatter stretch. Even from low-down, close to the water in my kayak, you definitely get the sense that something more substantial is approaching and I could see strong indications that the river was going to get very narrow between some large sets of boulders even though I could not see the Flume-Hole itself until we got out and scouted.

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Simon Krzych
5 years ago

Monday we did the clear fork of the BSF. Clear fork: Burnt mill bridge to BSF confluence. 10/13/14 Flow was about 850cfs on the Clear fork at Robbins TN guage. G- canoe, Eli- canoe, CT- kayak. G ran everything in the canoe except "the Flume" which was a retentive hole. There was lots of quality class 2++ rapids with great spots to work on eddy catching and ferries. The big undercut on the left in the third rapid was ferocious but for the most part well out of the way. Most of the big overhangs and undercuts we saw at 530 cfs were covered or were not as intimidating undercuts. The "orca rocks" on river left were still visible and useful for orienting yourself. The lead into the Flume was faster and blended into a long class 3- rapid, we ran left, there was plenty of time to eddy out on river left and portage or scout the Flume. Great trip and spectacular leaf color.

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Simon Krzych
6 years ago

3/16/14 Class 2++. Great river for big rocks and (ironically) clear water. 530 cfs. 1shredder, a canoe and a sit on top. The first rapid we called it "little neck" because the river like the top on a drysuit. The third rapid in had a big undercut on river left. There was one rapid about half way through the run, on the left there were 2 rocks and one looked like an "orca". A little ways after was the class 3 rapid. It can be broken into 3 rapids at our lower level but at more flow would flow together. The first part was river right to left and was shallow and technical. The second wasn't memorable but then third was "the flume" drop. A pour over into a nice small hole (good recovery pool), would get more green and flat with more water. Ferry across the poo brown New River. Longish uphill takeout. Shuttle 30 min. George

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Ziggy Rules
14 years ago

There is a new bridge beside the old truss bridge. Also a bigger parking area on the west end of the bridges.

Gage Descriptions

The Clear Fork gauge is located on river right just downstream of Burnt Mill Bridge.

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




Jim Mazzola


Brandon Hughett


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1211821 04/03/19 Jim Mazzola updated description
1194575 08/26/06 Brandon Hughett n/a
1196448 11/10/09 Brandon Hughett