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Difficulty II-V
Length 17.2 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 02/15/2003 11:27 pm

River Description


Data from local expert, Ron Stewart, Box 1337, Chatanooga, TN 37401

This run is noted for having the longest shuttle in the state. 65 miles one way. While you can do the shuttle by driving thru the Cohutta Wilderness, the standard route is to go back to Hwy 411, drive up to and past the Ocoee, back down thru Copper Hill and then come back into the Cohutta Wilderness from the Eastern side. Trust us when we say its quicker to drive the 65 paved miles vs the 30 or so miles of dirt roads in the Cohuttas.

Due to the length of the run, its best to set shuttle the night before. Then do the drive in a pounding thunderstorm up to the put-in and camp there. You're going to want to put-on as the sun comes up.

To find the put in, take Watson Gap Road to Watson Gap. From there follow Jones Cemetary Road to Jones Mill/Bethlehem Church. At the put-in expect the stream to be about 10 feet wide, with just barely enough water to float a creek boat.

Gradient breakdown by mile.
20, 20, 20, 43, 140, 263, 232, 85, 53, 100, 40, 145, 51, 70, 95, 60, 50, 75, then 60 feet in the last quarter mile (presumably skewed by the falls).

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Simon Bishop
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6 years ago

For several years the ongoing question of the falls being ran or if they were runnable has to be resolved. I have lived here all my life and have been paddling in the cohuttas 17 years now. To the best of my knowledge Jacks falls has never been ran in a craft. Numerous injuries have happen from hiking and swimming around this waterfall. Rescue isn't an easy task anywhere in this wilderness. I have seen the falls at many different levels and would say its a no go. Location of it has to be considered as should risk vs gain. I have carried in on Beach Bottoms trail 3.5mile an put in below the falls an took out at the steel bridge two times now. Once was really scary high water with campgrounds flooded in the spring of 2000. The huge boulder mid stream at the bottom of the falls was under water. Way to much water created some terminal holes and lots of trees floating down with us. Next trip was caught at a med/low flow. It made it a nice run but was alot of work for what you get. There is 3 class 4 to 4+ drops just below the falls. The second rapid below the falls slams you against a wall on river right at lower flows. The last of these rapids is a low slide against a wall on river left. After these rapids the river becomes similar to the nanty but with a few more 3's and trees. The section below the falls has been ran a few times. The 8mile sect above Jacks falls has no description that matches what a few others and I have seen. The steepest section is about 1mile below the 1st jacks ford on the trail hiking down from Dally gap. This steepest section begins where the old railroad bed "now Jacks trail" had to be cut in and away from the river due to the terrain. This has been called the Highcut by loggers and locals for decades. The river can't be seen from the trail and is the rhodo hell section/upper gorge of Jacks. A few rapids I would call V's but is for sure continous class 4. It is about 1/4 to 1/2mile before the river intersects with the trail again. The next few miles below the Highcut is class 3+ with a few 4's. It calms down a bit just upstream of Penitentiary branch and picks back up again just below lost branch. Around Murray creek there is a 6ft ledge followed by a 10ft slide an ledge. The river calms down again untill Jacks Falls. So the section below the falls is not the most continous mentioned from others. I have heard of 1 group who ran the whole river and described the upper gorge well. Many small settlements were along the river. In the early 1900's my grandmother washed clothes just below the falls for the loggers earning about 50 cent a day. That is how she met my grandfather who worked as a logger. Penitentiary branch was a logging camp for the workers. Only having Sunday off work they didnt have time to travel back to their homes or to visit family so it felt like a penitentiary to them. And yes an indian name Jack piggy backed folks accross the river for a small fee to later hince the name Jacks river. Hope this may help any questions of this beautifull and history filled river.

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10 years ago

I was at the Jacks River this weekend.( we have a cabin and land in Ellijay near the Cohutta Wilderness.) The water was the best I have seen for kayak or small raft. The top portion of Jacks River Falls is doable in high water although class V in high water. It empties into a beautiful pool about 40 feet in diameter. Deep enough to be a perfect landing.( maybe 15-20ft.). The second half of the falls is definitely NOT recommended. I am talking about a 100 foot drop into the gorge. Go there and check it out if you dont believe. BEWARE by Ted O

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tucker deloach
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10 years ago

I dont know if the falls is runnable but it seems like its in the middle of the run so do a run and then decide if you have the skills to run it.

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11 years ago

That answer didnt mention if the FALLS was runnable or not which seemed to be the question......so is it or has it been run anyone?

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11 years ago

Has anyone ran Jack's River Falls or is it undoable??

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BradR
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16 years ago

From Boatertalk - - Jul 29 2003, 21:19 GMT
From: selmaraid

I have run it twice several years ago. Starts out as a very small creek and then gradually picks up. A very beutiful river for sure! The firt time was a perfect level, seems like it took a good 2+ inches of rain. I think the Conasauga was on top of the elbow, the second time was about half way down the elbow, but it was kinda low. It is a long run (i.e. 17 miles) so the more water the better. I would say it is mostly Class III-IV but might have a Class V or two along the way. It seemed the section below the falls was the most continuous action but all very doable. It might have some wood it so be careful!

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Geoff Kohl
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17 years ago

Gradient from Bethlehem Church put-in to first bridge is a total of 1,360 feet, with the first mile or two flat, then three miles of gorge averaging at 180 ft/mile. Very log infested. Last half dozen miles close to 40 ft/mile (after Jacks River Falls).

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Takes a big rain.

Permits

NA

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.

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News

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Simon Bishop

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190282 02/15/03 Simon Bishop n/a