Actual put-in is on Bryant Creek. That mile below the old bridge at mile 1.85 is indeed 420'/mile. Solid V with V+. Big drops with undercuts on almost every drop make this a potentially dangerous run. The first big drop can be scouted/portaged on the left down a goat trail.
Mike Huff offers these words: Jones is a great run but it is what most people refer to as "dirty creeking." The rapids aren't all that bad as far as steep creeking goes but they are placed one after another after another with each one having it's own set of consequences. The pin potential is very high and broaching in a slot is not very difficult to do. In some ways the run is more difficult at low water but high water creates it's own set of problems. Overall the run is not full of vertical drops (except the falls). All the altitude you lose comes from running down the side of the mountain nonstop. Downstream visibility is at a minimum most of the time and running slots blind is pretty much the norm. Most of the narrows section is a constant horizon line. Oh yea, the lake paddle SUCKS, but not as bad as Flat Rock. (ah, Flat Rock / Coon, the standard by which heinous is measured in so many ways...I earned -10 Greg Lawrence brownie points there with just a teensy mis-estimation of water level at the put-in - MD')
Daniel Talley: I haven't done Overflow or Cullasaja, but it does compare to West Prong trailhead section in regard to steep gradient and the non-stop sort of sensation. Yet, West Prong is sort of forgiving in its own way with all those smooth and polished boulders.
I like the "dirty creekin" term. These boulders can be rough at times and there are some real scary places on there for sure. Taking the wrong slots could be hazardous to say the least. However steep Jones may be though, for the most part there will be a pool or an eddy below the drop to take a breath. On the West Prong you really have to hunt for them sometimes.
It really doesn't compare to Linville Gorge. Jones is much smaller and shorter. Maybe if you take that section below cathedral and made it a lot steeper. I wish Jones was a little longer actually, but for that you have to go father north up sand mountain which equals hellacious lake paddles!
Sort of similar to the Green, aside from gorilla and the slide drops.
The gradient is compiled a bit strangely here. The creek drops off at the old bridge 1.85 miles below the put-in, so the gradient is in increments of 1, 0.85, 1, 1, 1 and 0.5 miles.
** Unfortunately, a new bridge highway bridge at the put-in may be rendering these old levels meaningless in summer 2004. If the put-in gage is still OK, then some consider 7" as medium, 10-12" optimum, and 14" as the beginning of high, others like it above 12" or more. When Town is 350 Jones may be a scrapy minimum. If it looks like you can just scrape over the drop at the put-in, you will have good water. 500 on Town usually means good water. Above 750, Jones starts to get high.
Below is a profile of the creek gradient. These data are not as accurate as the gradient field above but do give a graphical feel for how the gradient is distributed.