Rotating picture -- photos cycle in randomly each time this page is accessed.  All photos copyright Chris Bell. Alphabetical List of Runs


Click on a run's name for a brief description, links to more complete descriptions, links to current weather reports, links and information on water levels (especially online sources), links to photos, the season(s) it is most often paddled, and directions from Asheville to the put ins and take outs (including the distance in minutes from downtown Asheville driving at the speed limit under normal traffic conditions to the take-out;  click on a run's distance to go to a route map).  Click on a run's level to go directly to its online gauge (or proxy, if one exists).  An asterisk next to a level's link indicates that the link is to a proxy gauge and that alternative online gauges are available and discussed on the run's page of this website.  Additional runs are included in the tours section of this website.  Please read the Ratings Guide, including the disclaimer, before going any further.

Note:  the levels listed below are estimates occasionally based on time-honored rules of thumb, often based on a limited number of observations, and sometimes based on pure speculation.  Help improve the quality of this information:  help create virtual gauges, dial in existing gauges, and win valuable prizes!  Learn how here:  The River Gauges Project.

River or Creek

Class Level Distance Season
Big Creek, Lower (Downstream of NPS Campground) IV 1200-2400 cfs* 55 minutes March-April
Big Creek, Upper (Upstream of NPS Campground) V 1200-3000 cfs* 60 minute drive,
1-2 hour hike
Big Laurel Creek III-IV- 300 cfs minimum* 43 minutes Jan-April
Big South Fork of the Cumberland, Burnt Mill Bridge to Leatherwood Ford III-III+ 400 cfs minimum 210 minutes Nov-May
Brush Creek        
Cataloochee Creek II-III (IV) 130 cfs minimum 40 minutes Jan-Apr
Catawba, North Fork, Sevier to Lake James (Lower) II+ 700 cfs minimum* 55 minutes After heavy rain
Citico Creek III-IV Over 3.5 feet and risingheavy rainfall in region* 161 minutes After heavy, extended rain
Chattooga, Section 3 III (IV+) 600 cfs minimum 120 minutes Dec-June
Chattooga, Section 4 IV-IV+ 300 cfs minimum 145 minutes All
Chauga Gorge IV 1,000 cfs minimum* 135 minutes March-April
Cheoah III-IV+ 4.6-5.4 feet optimum 135 minutes After hurricane / severe storm
(for now)
Crab Orchard Creek III-IV 5,000 cfs minimum* 164 minutes After heavy rain
Crooked Fork Creek IV 3,000 cfs minimum* 180 minutes Feb-March
Cullasaja, Lower V (V+) 4.0 feet minimum 75 minutes Nov-April
Cullasaja, Middle IV-IV+ (V) 4.0 feet minimum 90 minutes Nov-April
Daddy's Creek, Antioch Bridge to Devil's Breakfast Table (or Obed Junction) III-IV 550 cfs minimum 220 minutes DBT closed Feb-Mar
Th-Tu in Apr
Doe Gorge IV 350 cfs minimum 95 minutes Dec-April
Elk River, Twisting Falls IV-V (VI) 450 cfs minimum* 120 minutes After heavy rain
French Broad, Bent Creek to Hominy Creek (Biltmore) I-II 500 cfs minimum 7 minutes All
French Broad, Woodfin to Alexander (Section 6) II 500 cfs minimum 19 minutes All
French Broad, Rosman to Bent Creek (multiple sections) I 500 cfs minimum 15-60 minutes All
French Broad, Marshall to Barnard (Section 8) I-II   500 cfs minimum 36 minutes All
French Broad, Barnard to Hot Springs (Section 9) III (IV-)   2,000-4,000 cfs optimum 43 minutes All ( best levels in Spring)
French Broad, North Fork IV-IV+ 500-1,700 cfs optimum 62 minutes Feb-March
French Broad, West Fork IV-IV+ 500-1,700 cfs optimum 59 minutes Feb-March
Gauley, Lower IV 450 cfs minimum 300 minutes All (but Sept-Oct most;  dam release)
Gauley, Upper IV-V- 600 cfs minimum 300 minutes All (but Sept-Oct most;  dam release)
Green (NC), Lower I-II Release information: 828-698-2068
100% of one unit minimum
60 minutes All (dam release)
Green (NC), Narrows IV-V (2 @ 5+) 42 minutes All (dam release)
Green (NC), Upper II-III- (2 @ III+) 37 minutes All (dam release)
Ivy, Forks of Ivy to Eller Cove Road I-II (II+) 200 cfs minimum* 30 minutes After heavy rain
Linville Gorge (Linville Falls to Lake James) IV-V+
(3-4 @ VI)
200-700 cfs 65 minutes March-April
Little (TN), Elkmont to Metcalf Bottoms II-III 600 cfs minimum* 120 minutes Jan-April
Little (TN), Metcalf Bottoms to the Elbow (Sinks) IV-IV+ 600 cfs minimum* 130 minutes Jan-April
Little (TN), Middle Prong (Tremont) IV 1,200 cfs minimum* 140 minutes After heavy rain
Little Pigeon,  Middle Prong, Porters Creek to Highway 73 (Greenbrier) II-III 2,000 and rising*
All Sevier 24 hrs
Newfound G*
85 minutes Jan-April
Little Pigeon,  Middle Prong, Trailhead to Porters Creek (Ramsey Cascades) IV+ 3,000 and rising*
All Sevier 24 hrs
Newfound G*
95 minutes After heavy rain
Little Pigeon, Lower West Prong (Picnic Area to Campbell Overlook) V Newfound 24 hrs
Newfound G*
Chimney SG?*
85 minutes Jan-April
Little Pigeon, Road Prong of the West Prong V Newfound 24 hrs
Newfound G*
Chimney S G?*
105 minutes,
1 mile hike
After heavy rain
Little Pigeon, Upper West Prong (Trailhead to Picnic Area) V-V+ Newfound 24 hrs
Newfound G*
Chimney S G?*
100 minutes Jan-April
Little Pigeon, Upper Upper West Prong (Alum Cave to Trailhead) V-V+ Newfound 24 hrs
Newfound G*
Chimney S G?*
105 minutes After heavy rain
Little Tennessee II+      
Little Tennessee II+      
Mills, South Fork (Pink Beds to South Mills River Road) II (IV, portage) 250 cfs minimum 35 minutes Nov-June
Nantahala, Cascades IV-V- 4.2 feet on USGS gauge at Ferebee 98 minutes After heavy rain
Nantahala, Gorge (Beechertown to Wesser) II+ (III) Release schedule:
828-488-2176, x426
85 minutes All (except Nov)
New River Gorge III-IV 2,000 cfs minimum 265 minutes All
Nolichucky, Gorge III-IV- 500-2,500 cfs 55 minutes All (but best levels in Spring)
Nolichucky, Gorge IV Over 2,500 cfs 55 minutes All (best levels in Spring)
Obed, US 127 to Adams Bridge (Gould Bend) II-III (IV+) 1,500 cfs minimum* 188 minutes Dec-April
Obed, Devil's Breakfast Table to Nemo III+ 1,200 cfs minimum* 185 minutes Dec-May
Ocoee (Ocoee #2 Dam to below Ocoee #2 Powerhouse) III+ Release Schedule
Virtual Gauge
172 minutes End of March - Beginning of Nov
Ocoee, Upper III+ Release Schedule 166 minutes May-September
Oconaluftee II-III 360 cfs minimum 75 minutes Nov-July
Overflow Creek V 1,500 cfs and rising minimum* 125 minutes After heavy rain
Pigeon (Big), Gorge (Big Creek to Hartford) III-III+ 300 cfs minimum 55 minutes All (mainly Summer;  dam release)
Pigeon (Big), Dries IV+ (2@V) 600-1,500 cfs* 55 minutes After hurricane / severe storm
Pigeon (Big), Dries IV-IV+ (V) 350-600 cfs* 55 minutes After hurricane / severe storm
Pigeon (Big), West Fork V 280-1,000 cfs 50 minutes After heavy rain
Raven Fork, The Gorges V-V+ (VI) Trout F SG 1.6
or 750-1,500 cfs
105 minute drive,
2 hour hike
Raven Fork, Straight Fork to Job Corps Center Bridge II-III 650-2,000 cfs* 78 minutes Jan-April
Rocky Broad, Lower IV-V- Bat Cave SG 4.2 minimum 47 minutes Nov-April
Rocky Broad, Upper IV-V- Bat Cave SG ? 40 minutes Nov-April
Russell Fork of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy, Gorge IV-V 6.3-8 feet* 245 minutes All (but Oct most)
Russell Fork of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy, Upper II-III (IV-) 6.7 feet minimum* 225 minutes All (but Oct most)
Saluda, Middle Fork        
Santeetlah Creek, Lower III-IV Over 5 feet and risingChestnut Flats 2" in 24 hrs* 150 minutes After heavy rain
Santeetlah Creek, Upper V Over 5 feet and risingChestnut Flats 2" in 24 hrs* 160 minutes After heavy rain
Slickrock Creek IV-V Over 5 feet and risingheavy rainfall in region* 130 minutes,
paddle to gauge
After heavy, extended rain
Snowbird Creek III-IV+ Over 5 feet and risingChestnut Flats 2" in 24 hrs* 130 minutes,
0-3 mile hike
After heavy rain
Spring Creek III-III+ (V) Meadow Fork G
2" in 24 hours
42 minutes After heavy rain
Swannanoa I-II 100 cfs minimum 10 minutes Oct-Aug
Tallulah Gorge IV (V) 450-1,200 cfs 125 minutes Apr, Nov Releases
Tellico, Middle (Bridge below Jerrods Knee to Oosterneck parking area) III+ 1.7-4 feet 171 minutes Nov-April
Tellico, Upper (First bridge above Bald River Falls to bridge below Jerrods Knee) IV 1.8-5 feet 187 minutes Nov-April
Toe River Gorge, Toecane to Red Hill Bridge II-III 110 cfs minimum* 60 minutes All
Toe River, South Fork, Carolina Hemlocks to Patience Mullindore Park I-II 250 cfs minimum 65 minutes After heavy rain
Toe River, South Fork, Patience Mullindore Park to NC 80 Bridge II (III) 250 cfs minimum 55 minutes After heavy rain
Tuckaseegee, Dillsboro to Barker's Creek II      
Tuckaseegee, Ela to Bryson City II      
Tuckaseegee, Whittier to Ela II (II+)      
Tuckaseegee, West Fork III-IV+ Dewatered
(for now)
80 minutes Dewatered
(for now)
Watauga Gorge IV-V- 250-400 cfs optimum 120 minutes Dec-May
Wilson Creek, Gorge IV  300 cfs and rising minimum* 80 minutes Dec-May
Yadkin, Upper IV 150 cfs minimum 90 minutes After heavy rain
Yellow Creek        


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Revised: December 20, 2002.

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