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Turtletown Creek- Tellico Area.

Off Hwy 68 near Farner to off F.S. road 23



4.2 Miles

Avg Gradient100 fpm

Max Gradient 240 fpm

Water Quality (1 bad 3 good)

Scenery (1 bad 3 good)         



    Hourglass Rapid



       Photo courtesy of  www.cherokeehikingclub.org

          Want to more of the club and the Turtletown Creek hike CLICK HERE



Class IV.7


Trailhead Hiking Trail


Hiwassee Pipe

Internet gage:

Please see our flowpage

Paddler's gage:Tellico

E.L.F. Level 4.5 ft (1500 cfs)

Med-Low 5.0ft (1800 cfs)

Med 5.5 ft

Perfect 6 ft or higher


First big drop


Photo courtesy of  www.cherokeehikingclub.org

Want to more of the club and the Turtletown Creek hike CLICK HERE

River Description


Turtletown Creek is a cool run, and mainly not for actual run itself. Weird I know, but here is my reasoning and I will admit I'm bias.


I'm biased for the fact the Brian Collins and I got a first D on the run, but that's the tip of the iceberg. I'm mainly more bias due to the fact I spent a couple of summers up in Ducktown ,Tennessee area trout fishing while raft guiding on the Ocoee River, and feel in love with the place.


It has hiking trail beside it for the upper part, so scouting is easy. The trail head is you're put-in, near Farner, Tennessee and you will Forest Service sign if you pay attention and the take-out is off Forest Service road #23,and you will need minor map reading skills, and is on page 26 of my Tennessee Atlas Gazettteer. With today's access issues, this makes it gem just for takeout and put-in alone.


Want a better reason? Turtletown has one of the best watersheds in the area, I have trout fished in the headwaters even in the pastures and caught nice trout, and they love clean water. The headwater area is in pastural land, and acts like a battery on the streamflow, so the creek is slow to rise and fall, and can be based off the Tellico River internet gauge. As Ted Hayes pointed out to me and I agree and have to mention, the river widens out after the put-in, ,and narrows back up at the take-out, so the water by visual only can be deceiving, so you want descent flow at the put-in. The run is short too, and nothing epic.


It has some really nice drops, not that many but two that do situate out on their own and all are straight forward creek boating rapids.


The first big one, is the first big one, named Turtletown Creek Falls just like I said straight forward creekin. But paddlers beware since it is the first real drop of the run, and since the run is pastural until it hits the trail head, it gathers trees like a big toothpick holder. If the trees are gone, at Turtletown Creek Falls the drop will go. It's a tough one, but with a strong group it can be run, and it has been run. If the trees are there, well you're off the hook and will want to walk. If you do walk there are two options, the straightforward point A-point B option is to portage on river left. It is thick over there with rhododendron and mountain laurel and will test you, seeing how your gear will hang up on everything and will be a test of wills to hang on to your boat, while climbing over and under bushes and not drop your boat into a abyss. The second preference is to portage on river right, but this takes you from the action, but is much easier portage so it's really your call on that. If I was on your trip...we would go river right, (I'm lazy) River right also helps you protect the environment, by not tromping all over 100+ year old laurel.


After the first big one you will paddle some straight forward II-III stuff, and you will come to a big horizon line, and there will be an island. Take-out before the island to limit the pain in the #$%^ factor for scouting. Your other hint will be when you see the tops of trees. Relax, remember straight forward creekin'. The name of this one we named Hourglass. (If you look at the picture Ken Strickland posted on here it looks like an hourglass, so hence the name) So get out of your boat, and now the easy part, the hiking trail is on river right, use it to scout. I recommend all classes of boaters to scout this one. One for safety, but mainly because the drop/slide is so tall, that you need to scout to pick out landmarks to line up on your way down the slide/ falls. Its really like running two drops, and you can lose your bearings.

Now past Hourglass is another slide , but after running Hourglass it won't seem like much, might be Class II-III?, then you will have one more major rapid, and your landmark for this one is the Hiwassee Pipe, that is used for de-watering the Upper Hiwassee. Also use the pipe for your signpost for the takeout. Laps can be run here and once you have it wired, running the big ones blind will get your heart rate up for sure. Another option is to paddle the Upper Hiwassee if it is running after paddling Turtletown, but it makes for a long day, and if you want gradient, it's best to stick to running Turtletown Creek.



Footage of this run can be seen on the video Steep Creekin', but a note .The day we shot the footage there was only two of us, and one camera, and setting safety ropes was our precedence, so not all the rapids are on that tape, but is gives you a tease of what is in there.


If you are in the Ocoee River, Coker Creek, and Tellico River area do yourself a favor and check out Turtletown Creek. It's worth it, but like I said I'm bias, and you will be too.








Footage from Steep Creekin'






                              Footage provided by WaldensRidgeWhiteWater.com








***Warning label***

Whitewater paddling is VERY Dangerous, and you should get instruction before ever attempting even to paddle flatwater. One of contributors to this web site has personally helped bury 3 kayaking friends, this isn't a joke. Whitewater paddling can ruin your life through accidents and can effect your family and friends throughout a lifetime.

The information on this page is incomplete, inaccurate, and very unreliable.   Use with caution.  Whitewater paddling is a dangerous sport and the information here is not a substitute for actual knowledge and skill.  The authors are not liable for your actions. Go ahead and kill yourself if you want to, but don't blame others for you actions and decisions that you will make on and off the river.

***Warning label***



Our hemlocks are dying on the ridge due to the woolly adelgid infestation. You can find out more at the Save Our Hemlocks website: http://www.saveourhemlocks.org/


To learn even more click here


The Picture below is depressing to say the least...






Picture courtesy of KnoxNews.com



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