Town Creek - 3) High Falls to Lake Guntersville

Town Creek, Alabama, US


3) High Falls to Lake Guntersville (Lower Town)

Usual Difficulty II-III(V) (for normal flows)
Length 7.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 44 fpm
Max Gradient 80 fpm

Town Creek

Town Creek
Photo by A Dover taken 12/27/14 @ 580 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Town Cr near Geraldine
tva-tg007 250 - 2000 cfs II-III(V) 01h00m 444 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

Put in at High Falls Park just below the Falls.  The park is only open from 10am-4pm so be mindful when planning your trip. High Falls website:

Town Creek is a nice introduction to creeking for aspiring Alabama Creekers. The put-in is just below High Falls (class 5), a 30- 35 foot near-vertical falls, which has been run on occasion.  This would be a much more popular run if the access to the put in and take out were better and less strenuous. 

The action starts quickly and continues all the way to the lake. There are class 3 rapids galore, some of which may have a few interesting slots and moves, though most are fairly straightforward. The canyon is heavily forested with large cliff bands up above.

About two-thirds of the way down the river lies the Blockage - a big class 5 that is normally portaged. There is always a bit of apprehension because the approach to the Blockage does not look that different from the entrances of many of the class 3 rapids crowding the run. Be aware of a larger than normal horizon line and get out and scout or portage on river right.   The blockage is a steep rock bound series of chutes with some badly placed undercuts. An open boater was killed here a few years ago when he fell into the river and was washed into the rapid as he prepared to portage. It is often run by hardcore creekers who may be spending the day slumming on Town with less able friends.

Below the Blockage there are more class 3 rapids to the lake. The lake paddle is mild compared to some of the other Guntersville runs but there is a short hike up a hill at the take-out. This run is well worth doing especially for boaters who are not up to the tougher runs in the area. Then again, if you run High Falls and the Blockage, you've turned it into a pretty tough run.

There is a large house on the ridge line on river left which, will be seen before you get to Blockage. After a good rain there will also be a waterfall on river left.  Locals say Blockage is clearly marked, however besides one tree on river right with a white band of paint around it, we didn't see many markings until we got halfway through the portage - which was about mid rapid.  There are also two large boulders on river right just above the portage point. 

Cars are not visible from the lake so here is a description of how to find the trail to the cars from the lake:

The lake paddle is about 1.5 miles, about a third of the way in there is a large wooded island on the right side of the channel. At about 1.3 miles there is a second small island in the middle of the channel with 4 or 5 trees growing on it. The trail is just beyond this island. Begin heading to the right shore. There is a small fishing shack. About 50 yards past the shack is a small creek coming into the lake, follow old road bed up along creek to AL 227.

NOTE: DO NOT USE THIS TAKEOUT:  This historic takeout  is initially on State Park lands however landowners have contacted AW to let us know that the trail promptly enters and crosses private, posted lands that are leased for hunting.  The landowners have asked that paddlers NOT USE this takeout, which requires use of private land.  Paddlers should find a new takeout and post it to this site as soon as possible. 

The newer takeout is about 100 yards down the shoreline, past the small creek (Duvall Branch) coming into the lake.  There is a steep, but somewhat short, hike up to a horse trail.  Turn right and follow the horse trail. You will come out by an old cemetery, Smith Cemetery, on the side of County Road 227.  **This does cross a small piece of non-State Park land, just use caution**

Whitewater Sourcebook, by Richard Penny (Menasha Ridge Press; 1989)

See also

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-01-02 14:32:48


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0High Falls5.0Putin Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
3.2Rapid before BlockageIIIPhoto
3.4BlockageVPortage Hazard Photo

Rapid Descriptions

High Falls (Class 5.0)
icon of message Photo removed

Rapid before Blockage (Class III, Mile 3.2)

The rapid above blockage

The rapid above blockage
Photo by A Dover taken 12/27/14 @ 580 cfs

Looking back upstream at the rapid just before Blockage. 

Blockage (Class V, Mile 3.4)

Kayaking Blockage

Kayaking Blockage
Photo of Akira Fujino by Will Reeves taken 09/20/12 @ 600 cfs

Most sane boaters will portage this rapid on river right. 

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
February 19 2012 (2525 days ago)
bmcguire (153234)
So where is the additional takeout?
September 17 2007 (4141 days ago)
x (1)
Warning You will be ticketed by Park Ranger & possibly towed. Error in Take out location on Hwy
227. The location of the 4 wheeler trails is private, posted and being monitered for tresspassers.
Especially Sept through Feb. Private Hunting area.
August 14 2003 (5636 days ago)
From Bo Eakens on RBP circa 1997:
High Falls on Town Creek is around 40 feet. It has a verticle on the
right that
can only be run with good water and the left side is a 70 to 75 degree
bump and grind all the way down. The Blockage and High Falls have been
run by to many to name here. I believe John Regan was the first to run
the Blockage (at flood) back in 1978 in a 13'2" Sauna. I was right
behind him giving chase in a Slipper. If anyone ran before this I am
unaware of it. Several of us ran the left side of High Falls in early
80's and later the right side, but am quite sure it had been run before