The first three miles of river, between the Martling and Hustleville bridges, consist of easy class II/III- warmup rapids. However river-wide log jams are common, so keep an eye out if you haven't been down recently.
After you pass under the Hustleville bridge, eddy out on the river left bank to scout the main attraction, Short Creek Falls. If you wash too far downstream the bank becomes a bluff and blocks your exit.
After you get bored of the falls, a few class II-III boogie rapids follow. Keep an eye on the scenery ahead; when you see a sheer cliff face ahead on the right as the river bends left, Grotto Falls is coming up. Following a small slide and ledge combo, beach yourself on the large rock outcropping that divides the flow to scout Grotto. The main line is just a couple feet to the left of the rock you landed on, an easy 8-footer with big boof potential. At low water, keep your boat angled right to miss a piton rock on the left side of this drop. This can also be run further river left as a double drop, just stay away from the undercut bank.
Immediately following Grotto Falls is the infamous Tornado Sluice, which has caused many swims over the years. The line is down the turbulent left channel, entering from either side of a rock which divides the flow. You want to be on the right side of the chute as you finish off, angling downriver, to avoid the recirculating eddy and rock wall at the bottom left. If you get pushed into the wall, just ride it out and roll up before the creek gets too shallow.
Another short pool separates Tornado Sluice from Divided Highway, named for a large fin rock which serves as a median separating two potential routes. Most take the right lane, entering just right of center and merging with oncoming traffic to stay afloat. The left line is navigable at medium flow and above, but has potential to cause traffic jams due to a sneaky pin rock.
After the triple stack of Grotto, Tornado Sluice, and Divided Highway, some easy class II-III rapids follow until you reach Rock Cruncher, where two lines are possible. If it isn’t an ELF day you can sneak down the left side, bouncing off a few rocks and into the pool below the rapid. The normal line is to work from center to river right, above a narrow slot against the right bank. From the eddy above the slot, shoot down and through a series of small holes. No doubt you’ll spot a juicy mushroom of water at the bottom ripe for a boof – but watch out! A nasty flake rock is right in the center below the mushroom. Skim the left or right side to avoid getting crunched.
A few easy rapids follow Rock Cruncher. The next significant rapid starts after a long pool, where the river doglegs right and the left and center are obscured by large rocks. Take the right side here, following the main tongue of current over a few small shoals, then work back left when possible to find a fun boof against the left bank. Get your guard up now, because a dangerously sticky hole known as Little Woodall is coming up soon. After the aforementioned boof, work back to center and then right around a few boulders, and then bolt for a big eddy on the left bank beside a tall rectangular boulder. Most of the current goes river right over a 3-foot, boxed in hole, which I have personally spent time recirculating in and do not recommend that experience to anyone. The conservative line is to bang down the wet rocks at the bottom of the eddy, but if you have the soft goods you can boof the hole. Make sure you have some buddies ready to rope you out from the right.
After Little Woodall, a long boogie rapid leads to the confluence with Scarham Creek. Hike up and take a look at the last rapid on this tributary, known as Terminator (class IV or V), and run it if it looks good to go. Below here the creek widens significantly, and with the added flow from Scarham, presents some good play opportunities to celebrate finishing the hard stuff. Surf waves and fun boofs abound. Look for a good ender hole in the second rapid past the confluence on river right.
After a number of wide, easy rapids, you'll reach the lake. If you work far right on the last rapid, you'll find a fun 4 foot boof to end the day with. Additionally, the eddy line on far river left (or is it lake left?) presents one last opportunity for stern squirts as the creek dumps into the lake.
Once you reach the flatwater, celebrate the fact that you made it down the notorious Short Crick, and prepare yourself for the 45-minute, 3-mile paddle out. Just follow the channel all the way to the boat ramp. When the lake doglegs to the left for the first time, don’t get too close to the island or you’ll run aground.
Witnessed a bad piton running the rt slot boof @ Gratto Falls while making a low water run on 3/12/06. Had run Short 2 days prior and everyone who ran that line had no problems. I probed the area just below the drop on Sun after the piton and there is a boulder or shelf just under the surface across the entire line of the 8' boof. Take caution while boofing this drop, a pencil would probably not break any bones, but it will put a nasty dent in the front of your boat. The main - double drop of Gratto is good to go at both levels.
Short Creek's Paddlers gage is located on the SR 75 Bridge. There are actually two SR 75 bridges crossing Short Creek. The gauge is on the upstream bridge (NE bound traffic) on river right support. Best seen from river right, upstream side of the bridge.
Short Creek is best correlated off of the USGS Scarham Creek gage.
When Scarham is:
170-200 cfs Short is 9"
350-400 cfs Short is about 2 feet.
As for Town Creek, its not as good an indicator as Scarham, but its a good backup gage:
When Town is:
500-600 cfs Short is 9"
1400 cfs Short is about 2 feet
I have an Excel 2000 spreadsheet that predicts the levels for Short Creek and several other rivers in the southeast. If you
Marty Montana (THE LEGEND!) and I ran Short creek for the first time this weekend. Not sure of the level, but from discriptions' of the 18' I would guess that it was over 14", just a guess. we ran the high point in the center and there was no scrapping, just big smiles. we put in about 2mi. above the Big one, class II with one or two Class III. At this level Great class III/IV with a couple of Class IV+ bekow the falls. I would say that it is a lot harder than Daddy's Creek, TN at 1.9, Little River(sinks section) up to around 4.5', citico @.5 over bidge(only level run), but not as hard as Five falls, Talluha@500. It is a run that is worth checking out. Town was @ 600, but as I said before compare to the discription of the falls I'd say that it was over 14". The area is Beautiful.
WARNING: Better have a shuttle driver, No parking safe parking at put-ins'. Water fall put-in: ranger said that we would Get Towed and Possibly charged with Tesspassing, posted no parking. The lake paddle makes you look forward to the Chattooga Paddle, But the ACTION UP STREAM MAKE'S IT WORTH IT! Once you are pass the 18' water fall the action starts and does not let up till the lake.
Based on Town (TVA) with a dash of Locust (USGS)
Permits are not required for this reach.
Short Creek Falls 1984
Chuck Kirk Short Creek in a race boat
matt and adam behind falls
rapid on short
behind the falls
confluence of short and scharam creeks
adam at falls
matt at falls
matthew photo on left line
michael smith on left line
adam on left line
grotto from down stream
Lil' Dane, and Jonathan Hucking the falls
Nashville Kurt, With a big Free Wheel
John Reynolds and I @ NAWF
Backwards in the long boat
Kieth Yell on the NAWF RAMP
NAWF Video Clip
Charlie Mix @ NAWF Rodeo
Thomas Runnin Short Creek
Keith Yell polishing his waterfall rodeo skills for NAWF
Thomas Huckin The Falls, Then Getting Munched
Robs Run of Short Creek
Keith Yell, Polishing his waterfall rodeo skills for NAWF in March
Short Creek Falls, AL
NAWF-Short Creek Comp. 2005
Short Creek Falls
(RM) Lake Ledge
(RM) Confluence Rapid (aka Little Woodall)
(RM) Rock Cruncher
(RM) Divided Highway
(RM) Tornado Sluice
(RM) Gratto Falls from below
(RM) Gratto Falls
(RM) Short Creek Falls from below
(RM) Short Creek Falls
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