Stekoa Creek - 2- Timber Bluff Road off US Route 76 to Chattooga River

Stekoa Creek, Georgia, US


2- Timber Bluff Road off US Route 76 to Chattooga River (Lower Stekoa Creek)

Usual Difficulty II-V(V+) (for normal flows)
Length 6.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 75 fpm
Max Gradient 250 fpm

Really Big Slide

Really Big Slide
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02177000 2.00 - 10.00 ft II-V(V+) 01h20m 2.42 ft (running)

River Description


The water quality for Stekoa Creek is very poor.  Clayton's sewage system is not very good, and it is on Stekoa Creek as it flows through town.  It is also very dirty water from all the road and parking lot run-off from the town of Clayton.  I have paddled both the upper and lower sections and the water seems to be a little cleaner in the lower parts but probably because there are a few larger tributaries that help dilute the nasty water that comes from Clayton.  This being said this is a beautiful run and it is very sad that such a beautiful creek is being destroyed by the poor sewer system of Clayton.  When putting on at Timber Bluff road the creek is pretty flat to start off.  There are a few class 1 and 2 shoals along with 2 logs jams that had to be portaged the last time I ran it (Jan. 2, 2008).  It then goes through some fields and a pretty large creek comes in on the right while the river has been flat.  It is about to pick up after this so be on the lookout.  You then go through a little gorge that has like 4 or 5 rapids with three that could give some trouble.  The first has a bad undercut on the rive right side where a lot of the water is pushed, right below this is about a 6-8 foot slide that had a log in it.  We were able to get around the log but had to stay as far left as possible.  The next rapid drops about 8 foot, and can be ran as a double drop down the left center heading left then back to center or possibly boofing on the far right side into small and kind of shallow landing, we ran the left side.  The river then mellows to class 2 for a ways and passes under Wolf Creek Road Bridge.  It then stays by the road for about half a mile or so before heading around a sharp left bend in the river. 
     This is the other option to put in at, and is where I have put on mostly because the few rapids that are up stream are not really worth the flat water and log jams, plus there are plenty of bigger rapids down the river.  The river takes a sharp bend to left and then immediately bends back to the right with a big rapid.  This rapid probably drops about 10-15 feet.  The river right side is a rapid that has potholes and is like a slide.  The river left side is a more vertical drop but does not have a great landing.  There is a good trail to scout this rapid on the river right side.  At low to medium level say from 1.0 to 2.0 feet on the wolf creek bridge I would say the river right line would be the best.  I have only ran this section 2 times and the level was 1.0 and we ran the right line with no problem, but I have looked at this rapid at other levels and when it gets over 3 feet it starts looking very hard, and has a big corkscrew type wave in it.  When it is this high the left line could defently be an option. 
I have tried to put some descriptions of the major rapids on here, but it is a long run and I cannot explain all the rapids and dangers.  This creek is very bad undercut and sieved out below the Really Big Slide Rapid.  In the lower mile before it empties into the Chattooga it is very steep and pretty much every rapid has a sieve, undercut, or strainer in it so be very careful in the lower section.  There are also 2 very big waterfalls that need to be portaged as they both land on rocks.  Don't let them sneak up on you, as they both come after a stretch of flatwater with some entrance ledges that are runnable as long as you can eddy out before the lip.

Gradient: Mapping this out on Google Earth here is the Gradient I got for feet per mile-by-mile starting at Timber Bluff Road Bridge. 30, 55, 35, 75, 10, 80, and 200 feet in the last .60 miles before it drops into the Chattooga. I did this by using the path ruler on Google Earth and looking at the elevation by the mile.  This is probably pretty accurate, but the next time I go down I will try to take a GPS to make sure.


 Shuttle Details

The logical and easiest shuttle for this run is to put on at either Timber Bluff Road off of 76, or at the pull off of East Wolf Creek Road where the river leaves the road, (putting on at the pulloff on East Wolf Creek Road cuts out the first two mile of the run).  The take out that is the easiest to access if coming from Atlanta or Clayton would be to take out at Camp Creek which is about 2 miles down the Chattooga from where Stekoa Creek flows in and is above the Five Falls.  The other Shuttle option is to use the standard Chattooga take-out for section four which includes the infamous 2 mile lake paddle to the Tugaloo Lake Boat Ramp.  The Camp Creek take-out is a parking lot on river right about two thirds of a mile off the river. The trail is similar in length and steepness to the trail at Woodall Shoals. Using this option knocks off about 30 miles of shuttle. 



See also the Class-V Upper Stekoa.


Also if anyone has any information on the names of the rapids post them in the comment section and I will change them.  I made them up from my 2 runs that I have done.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2008-12-28 18:31:04


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put inPutin Access
2.1Alternate Put-inPutin Access
2.3Big Bend RapidWaterfall Photo
3.3Entrance to Taylor ShoalsPortage Hazard Photo
3.4Good Boogy Below Taylor Shoals PortagePhoto
3.4Taylor Shoals5.3Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
4.9Flatwater LedgePhoto
5.3Entrance Ledges to You Run It FirstPortage Hazard Photo
5.4Big ShoalsPortage Hazard Waterfall Photo
5.5Mill ShoalsWaterfall Photo
6.0Triple UndercutsPortage Hazard Photo
6.1Double Boof or DieHazard Photo
6.2Boof above Cave RapidHazard Waterfall Photo Video
6.2Cave Rapid5.3Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
6.31st Boof Below Cave Waterfall Photo
6.32nd Boof Below CaveWaterfall Photo
6.4Pothole SlideHazard Waterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Put in

Bridge that crosses creek on Timberbluff Rd.  Find a good place to pull off the road completely and be discrete, all private property so be respectful of residents.

Alternate Put-in

This is a put in that cuts out 2 miles of flatwater and only passes up 2 rapids.  It is the bend in Wolf Creek Road where the road leaves the creek.  There is a gage about a quarter mile upstream on the bridge. 1.0 feet is what I consider a minimum as it will be a little scrappy at that level.

Big Bend Rapid

Big Bend Rapid

Big Bend Rapid
Photo by Logan James taken 12/19/08 @ 2.1

This is the rapid right after the creek leaves wolf creek road.  It is right around the corner.  At low flows say below 1.6 feet on wolf creek bridge gage run the right side of the island.  You can portage and scout on right.  At higher flows you can run the more vertical left side.  This rapid drops about 15-18 feet total.  Class two boogy water afterwards till it gets flat again.

Entrance to Taylor Shoals

Entrance Ledge Taylor Shoals

Entrance Ledge Taylor Shoals
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

You will paddle by a field on the right side of a short flatwater section and as the river bends to the left you should start thinking about getting out, especially at high water.  There are a few small ledges for about 50 yards before the big waterfall of Taylor Shoals.  At low water you can run this entrance, but be careful and don't miss eddys.  There is an ok portage trail on theleft for the waterfall.

Good Boogy Below Taylor Shoals Portage

Boogy water below Taylor Shoals

Boogy water below Taylor Shoals
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

Good fun class 3/4 boogy water after taylor shoals waterfall.  This is just read and run, but there are some undercut to stay away from.

Taylor Shoals (Class 5.3, Mile 3.4)

Taylor Shoals

Taylor Shoals
Photo by Logan James @ 2.1

This is a very big waterfall that lands on rocks.  Portage on Left.  If you run it take pics so you can right the description.

Flatwater Ledge

Ledge that breaks up long flatwater section

Ledge that breaks up long flatwater section
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

After Taylor Shoals boogy water there is a long stretch of flatwater of maybe a mile or so in length that is broken up by a nice 8-10 foot ledge.

Entrance Ledges to You Run It First

Entrance to You Run It First

Entrance to You Run It First
Photo by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

Some Ledges that are the entrance to a very big 40 foot waterfall that all lands on rocks. Be careful after coming out of long flatwater section and know you can make eddys. Portage on the right is not a good trail at all, don't know about left side.

Big Shoals

You Run It First

You Run It First
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

Very big 40 or so foot waterfall that lands on a big rock shelf.  Portage on right is hard, but doable. Don't know if left side is a better portage or not.  If you run entrance ledges above this one don't miss the eddy.

Mill Shoals

Really Big Slide

Really Big Slide
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

We ran this one down the right side making it like a double drop slide, but maybe a possible line down the center.  Pretty scrappy at top at low water.  Drops about 30-40 feet total.

Triple Undercuts

Triple Undercuts

Triple Undercuts
Photo by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

This rapid is not too big, but very dangerous. It has bad undercuts on the right side where you enter the rapid and then the current pushes bad to the left side of river to another undercut. There is a rock ledge here that you have to power over at low flows. There is also a bad undercut at the bottom of the rapid. Stay center as much as possible.  You can portage on right.

Double Boof or Die

Double Boof undercut on left

Double Boof undercut on left
Photo by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

This is another small rapid that is a double boof of about 3 and 4 feet, but it has a very bad undercut sieve on the left side. 

Boof above Cave Rapid
Click Here For Video

Boof Above Cave Rapid

Boof Above Cave Rapid
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

This is a pretty nice boof above the cave rapid. The top part of the drop is about 4 feet with current feeding into undercut on right, then some current into a nice boof of about 6-8 feet. It kinda lands on rocks.  There are sieves and undercuts everywhere.  Eddy out just below cause Cave Rapid is just below.

Cave Rapid (Class 5.3, Mile 6.2)

Cave Rapid

Cave Rapid
Photo by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

This is about a 12 foot drop that is very nasty and dangerous. It is all undercut and sieved out. Most of the current goes into a cave with no escape. Fun to Risk factor is very low on this one.  We portage and seal lonched off rock on the right, may be able to portage left but not sure.

1st Boof Below Cave

1st Boof Below Cave

1st Boof Below Cave
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

Nice boof rapid of about 6-10 feet total.  We ran a little right of center.

2nd Boof Below Cave

2nd boof below Cave Rapid

2nd boof below Cave Rapid
Photo of Adam by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

The secong nice boof below the cave rapid.  Eddy out on the right to scout or portage pothole slide.

Pothole Slide

Pothole Slide seen from Chattooga

Pothole Slide seen from Chattooga
Photo by Logan James taken 12/18/08 @ 2.1

 This is the slide you can see looking up from the chattooga. it is about 20 feet long slide that has bad undercut on the left. Run far right.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 28 2010 (3033 days ago)
sdmagley (152456)
After many years of putting it off, I finally ran the Lower Stekoa from E. Wolf Creek Rd. into the
Chattooga. The 441 gauge was at 0" and the Wolf Creek bridge gauge was at 1.4. This was a low
level, but that is ok for an exploratory run. There were seven of us in the group, none of whom had
run the entire length. Several had hiked up from the Chattooga previously and run the last several
rapids, but none from the top down. It was a good trip, rather uneventful. I was not expecting that
there would be so much flatwater. The entire run is probably 60-70% flatwater with some big rapids
thrown in. At one point, nearly half way down the creek, one of the guys with us proclaimed, "wow,
I finally got to run a rapid." The first rapid was fun, right or left of the island. The second
rapid was big with a hard hit at the bottom. The third rapid is the money drop. This one rapid, I
don't know if it has a name or how many people have run it, but it is the money drop that will lure
me back again. It is fairly intimidating looking but smooth as butter. Note to self, don't start
celebrating until the rapid is done...I started calling it Gorilla's Mama for lack of knowledge of
it's already name. (This name because when you run the right side, it has the same feeling of
Gorilla, without the notch, but of the feeling you get of landing off the pad and continuing to
drop under the veil)....The last stretch into the Chattooga is tight and technical, but short and
leaves you feeling slightly unsatisfied. If it weren't for Gorilla's Mama, I probably wouldn't go
back. There is one rapid I would especially like to comment on. The death cave, sieve, whatever its
name is rapid. I have heard about this rapid for at least a decade and a half...ever since Chris
Harjes and Nathan Hale ran this creek back in '94 or '95. That one rapid...and the poor water
quality...let me repeat that...and the poor water quality, have kept me from wanting to experience
this creek, at least from being able to find others that would want to go explore it with me. So I
am thankful for a group of paddling friends who are willing to try new stuff and break out of the
vicious cycle of ALWAYS going to Overflow. Let me state for the record that Toxaway and Overflow
were checked first, and since neither were running, Stekoa was our last option short of a long
drive to the Smokies. Anyway, the death cave, sieve rapid has a very clear, albeit very narrow line
through it that does NOT feed the cave, sieve. Yes it is a mean looking rapid, but a great example
of a rapid where you have to drive toward the thing you want to avoid in order to avoid it. What?
In order to avoid the cave, on the approach, you have to drive toward the cave, because when you
crest the top of the wave that guards the cave, there is a tongue that bypasses the cave. If you
try to stay too far right of the cave, there is a ledge with a hole, kicker wave that throws you
into the cave. Anyway, the moral is, sometimes you have to go toward that which scares you in order
to find the safe way. I could very easily start preaching about giving your life to Christ, but I
will save that for River Fellowship (1st Sunday of every month at Woodall Shoals 8 am, 2nd Sunday
of every month, Green Narrows take-out 9 am). To sum up, lower Stekoa is fun, big, somewhat stinky,
a lot of work if you are not willing to run the big ones, but definitely rewarding. PS paddling
Lake Tugaloo with hand paddles is less than enjoyable. Happy boating and may you find the joy of
knowing Christ as you enjoy His handiwork.
July 16 2007 (4203 days ago)
Robert MaxwellDetails
I painted a paddler's gage on the new Hwy 441 south bound bridge over Stekoa on 7/14/07. To see it,
you'll need to park on Rickman Airfield Road, carefully cross 441 to the median between the north
and south bound bridges. The gage is on the South bound bridge river right, downstream pilon.
Please report your levels and low, medium and high info so we can dial this gage in and develop a
correlation. E-mail info to me at -- Thanx -- Rob Maxwell
May 3 2004 (5372 days ago)
Chris GormanDetails
We hiked up this from the chattooga on Sunday May 2, 2004. It was a pretty good medium level. The
chattooga was only about 1.7 (it had just rained the night before). But the last mile or so into
the chattooga is non-stop class 5. The entire section we looked at had undercuts, sieves, caves and
potholes everywhere and there were very small pools in between the drops. You can hike/wade/climb
up the creek on the river right side but it isn
June 20 2003 (5689 days ago)
I have run this whenthe Chattooga was 2 feet and would warn against rushing to jump on the creek at
extreamly high water. Several Southeastern Guides said 1.9 on the Chattooga was a good minimum. At
levels near 3 feet or higher you could easily not be able to stop at the big rapids and find
yourself as a greasy spot on some rocks at the bottom of the big waterfall.