Little Pigeon, Middle Prong - 0. Buck Fork to Ramsay Prong

Little Pigeon, Middle Prong, Tennessee, US


0. Buck Fork to Ramsay Prong

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 1 Miles
Avg. Gradient 300 fpm
Max Gradient 330 fpm

Kirk launching the falls

Kirk launching the falls
Photo of KE by Keith Kugley @ low

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03469175 1500 - 4000 cfs IV-V 8y256d11h04m 227 cfs (too low)

River Description

This run is the mile above the seldom run hike-up Ramsay's run and requires an almost 3-mile hike to get to the putin. The run is well worth the effort, though, with many great drops and the paddle out is on one of the most intense and quality runs in the park. It is a great way to add even more bang to an already solid run.

To get to the putin, hike up the Ramsay's Cascades Trail 1.5 miles to where the Ramsay Prong confluences with the Middle Prong. Ferry across the river here to river left and walk along the bank upstream until you find a faint but easy to follow path. This path will turn into a trail as it soon climbs around 200 feet to the flatter streambed terraces above the river. Upon these terraces the trail remains for around 1 mile, and there are frequent over and under encounters with downed trees. The trail will become a little fainter and then plummet 50 feet down to the river at the Confluence of Buck Fork. Putting in here yields a high quality mile of boating that has a very similar feel to the Lower West Prong, but without the bigger drops of Amtrack or Room without a view. The action is continuous, and though there are a few logjams, all but one is avoidable.

After sliding in, there is a nice boogie section before the biggest logjam. Portage left, or run carefully with two sketchy tree duckings. After this there are no major problems. The run consists mainly of tight boulder jumbles that can be rather blind. There are three standout rapids that have great character. On the first, the river tightens and channelizes against the river right wall of Metasiltstone bedrock. Here the river drops 3 sliding ledges and the currents are fast and unpredictable. After several more fun boulder gardens the next big one is Speckled Falls, a tighter answer to Big Creek's Midnight Hole. Run the center slot and get a big boof off of this sweet 8 foot drop. Watch the hole and the pocket on the right, as they are pretty powerful. The final rapid of considerable note is a nice zig zag affair against a river left wall of bedrock. Watch the pockets and pinch sieve on the left, and enjoy the ride.

After the zig zag rapid is a nice long easy boulder garden before the confluence with Ramsay Prong and the beginning of the really hard stuff of Hike Up Ramsay's.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-07-04 14:55:55


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 1 2009 (3280 days ago)
Mark SingletonDetails
Park Dispatch Office number (865) 436-1230 See BoaterTalk post: June 25, 2009 - If you didn't catch it, an
overturned kayak was found just outside of the Smokies on the MP of the Little Pigeon. It spurred a
search and rescue scenario that was serious enough for it to be reported to local TV stations. Not
sure of the outcome and I hope everyone is OK. But this did raise a very significant question. Who
do we notify when we a boat gets pinned or gets out of our control in the Smokies and darkness or
other circumstances force us to abandon it for any period of time? My friend Russell asked this
question and this was his post on a local paddling list serve. I asked the GSMNP folks what would
be the best way to report a lost boat.Here is their reply: Hello, If there is a report of an
accident or missing person, the park responds and/or conducts a search, but just finding an empty
kayak in the water would not necessarily result in a full-fledged search and rescue effort as the
town of Pittman Center launched during the recent incident. If one of your club members loses a
boat, but is otherwise okay, please call the park's Dispatch Office at (865) 436-1230 to let them
know that an empty boat may be found and it is not an emergency situation. This is a non-emergency
line which is staffed from 6:00 a.m. - midnight, but if a serious accident or other emergency has
occurred in the park, sometimes all available dispatchers have to concentrate on radio
communications among responding units and don't answer the line. If there is an accident with a
serious injury or a member of your party is known to be missing, please call 911. Best regards,C.
BloomGreat Smoky Mountains National Park

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