Clifty Creek (Emory)
|Stretch:||Trailer off of Rigs Chapel Rd to the Emory|
|Difficulty:||Class II to III+|
|Flows:||1 to 3.5’ on the gauge at take-out. I didn’t see the gauge, but apparently it is ~100 ft or so upstream of takeout on creek left.|
|Put-in:||Off of Rigs Chapel Rd. Near sketchy trailer|
|Take-out:||Just above the confluence with the Emory|
|Shuttle:||2.2 miles (5 minutes one-way)|
|Season:||Fall/Winter/Spring from rain|
Another great option for after heavy rain, this run has found its way to be a great local option for Knoxvillians. The rapids though not hard, provide entertainment and the scenery is next level. There are two sections where 200 foot tall walls rise directly from the river, forcing you to crane your neck to see them. As Justin said, “thankfully we have high water so the rocks are covered… because I am not looking at where I am going!”
The run starts with a short hike in that only takes a few minutes, and takes you past a super sketchy looking trailer. Who knows what sort of activities have taken place here! It is abandoned, but we still made quick time past it. Once on the river the river starts mellow for a good little ways. Soon, rapids start coming and are all easy enough to read and run. The first real drop is on a right turn and is a ledge with decent hole. We just went down the middle. The rapids stay pretty mellow until late in the run when the river follows down the right wall and there is a good size hole to boof over. This is immediately followed by a shallow slide that drops off a ledge. We went far left. Below, things mellow again the rest of the way to take-out.
This run is awesome. There aren’t a bunch of rapids, so look elsewhere if you are looking to stay busy all day with strokes. But, if you like some fun rapids amidst some great scenery, look no further.
- First Ledge (III- to III). The first ledge comes on a hard right turn. We just ran down the middle. It packed a little bit of a punch at high flow, but was total manageable. Try to get the nose up to clear through the hole.
The boogie picks up below.
- First Wall (III-). This rapid isn’t all that hard, but man it is next to a spectacularly tall wall rising up on the right.
- Straight Away (III- to III+). A long straight away rapid was good to go, at the higher flow it ended with a good size hole that we boofed over on the right of a mushroom. I bet you could just go far left around it all. I also bet at normal flows this gets mellower.
Final Ledge (III to III+). Around the next corner is a slide that ends up with a small vertical ledge. We ran left. At normal flows it is so wide it turns scrappy and is mellow. At our higher flow the hole was actually sizable. A nice boof formed through to clear it.
Boogie (II). Below is boogie down to the takeout.
Take-out: From Knoxville, head west on Highway 40 for 36 miles. Take exit 350 for TN-29 toward Harriman/Midtown. After 2.0 miles, just before you get to TN-27, take a right onto Pansy Hill Rd. This cuts a corner, then turn right to stay on Pansy Hill. Follow this for 0.8 miles. Just before you cross the Emory, turn left on a sketchy one lane side alley looking rd, Riggs Chapel Rd. This quickly opens up to two lanes as you drive up the river and cross under Highway 27. After 2.4 miles on Rigs Chapel Rd, veer right at the fork to get onto Clift Creek Rd. In another quarter mile you cross Clifty Creek and can park on the far side. There is access to the Emory just across the road from where you park.
Put-in: Go back 0.3 miles downriver. Turn right sharply onto Riggs Chapel Rd. Follow this for 2.2 miles. You will come to a small dirt road that drops at a 90 degree angle down to the right. There is enough room on the shoulder for one car just after the road. Walk down the road for 150 yards. At the sketchy looking trailer, turn left and walk down to the river to the left of the trailer. There isn’t so much a beach as just a seal launch
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