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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nice boof rapid of about 6-10 feet total. We ran a little right of center.
The secong nice boof below the cave rapid. Eddy out on the right to scout or portage pothole slide.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. -- Thanx -- Rob Maxwell
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
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.
Look for the Chattooga to be over 2 feet, or after a good rain. Stekoa Creek will rise faster than Chattooga so it could be running when Chattooga is lower than 2 feet, but if under 2 feet after some rain.
There is a paddler's gage on East Wolf Creek road off of 76 east on the the river right side of bridge with 1.0 feet being a minimum, and not sure what for a maximum. But I would advice getting on Stekoa Creek much above 2 to 3 feet on wolf creek bridge gage. Yes the Upper 4 miles would be better, but the lower mile before the Chattooga would be very difficult and hard to stop.
I painted a paddler's gage on the new Hwy 441 southbound 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 southbound bridges. The gage is on the southbound 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Thanx -- Rob Maxwell
Permits are not required for this reach.
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. 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.
really big slide
Double Boof undercut on left
Pothole Slide seen from Chattooga
2nd boof below Cave Rapid
1st Boof Below Cave
Boof Above Cave Rapid
Ledge that breaks up long flatwater section
Really Big Slide
You Run It First
Entrance to You Run It First
Boogy water below Taylor Shoals
Entrance Ledge Taylor Shoals
Big Bend Rapid
Bend in river rapid
Double Double SLide Austin Perry
Big Double Double Slide?
Slide before empting into Chattooga
5th Rapid in Lower gorge
Nice boof on lower stekoa
2nd rapid in lower gorge
1st big rapid as enter gorge before dropping into Chattooga
3rd Huge waterfall on Lower Stekoa
2nd huge waterfall on Lower Stekoa
(RM) Stekoa Creek Gage
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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!
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