|Continuous creek run
|Scenic despite road closely following
creek. The run begins in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
|Distance from Downtown
Asheville (to take-out):
|1.8 miles to standard take-out; 1.9
miles Pigeon River Gorge parking lot
Big Creek is a challenging class V creek run, while Lower Big
Creek provides an excellent introduction to creeking for boaters
with strong class IV skills.
|The metal footbridge at the parking lot
below the Big Creek NPS campground
|Standard take-out: below bridge with
gauge; alternate: Pigeon River Gorge parking lot
(requires running small dam)
|Directions from Asheville
I-40 West to the first TN exit (Exit 451, Waterville).
Turn left at the bottom of the ramp, pass under I-40, follow the
road over the bridge, turn left and head up the Big Pigeon.
The road will turn to follow Big Creek at its confluence with the
Big Pigeon, crossing Big Creek twice. Stop at the second
bridge to leave a shuttle vehicle and and check the gauge.
|Five minutes each direction.
Continue over the bridge and on to the road's end at the parking lot
below the Big Creek Campground. The gravel road you'll cross
just before entering the park is the scenic route to the Cataloochee
|Other access points:
|Many possible from the road following the
|If it is open and you can snag a spot, the
Big Creek campground would be a wonderful place to camp.
However, there are only twelve campsites and they're very nice, so
they're in high demand. Further, the campground is
seldom open when Big Creek is running. Another option is the
campground at Cataloochee, which can be reached from both the road
over the low-water bridge at the put-in and a right turn off the
road from the take-out to the Big Creek Campground. The
Cataloochee campground is a little larger (twenty-seven sites), so
the odds of getting a site are a little better. Also fairly
close is the Cosby campground, which is much larger than either the
Big Creek or Cataloochee campgrounds (175 sites). All three
campgrounds are open from mid-March to the beginning of November;
the Big Creek and Cataloochee campgrounds are $12 per site per
night, and the Cosby campground is $14. For more information
visit the NPS's
Great Smoky Mountains Camping Page.
|139 fpm standard run; 152 fpm if run dam at
confluence with Big Pigeon
|1.8 or 1.9 miles:
149, 127 fpm over last 0.8 miles or 155 fpm over last 0.9 miles
|216 fpm (over 0.19 miles) or 364 fpm (over 0.11 miles)
|Maximum half mile:
Whitewater's Lower Big Creek Page
|Bob and David Benner's Carolina
Whitewater: A Canoeist's Guide to the Western Carolinas
Big Creek Photo Archive
Combining Upper and Lower Big Creek yields a 7.3 mile run falling
at an average of 216 fpm.