|Run:||Little River Canyon|
|Class:||II/III (IV-)||Put-In:||Eberhart Pt. / Chairlift|
|Gradient:||50, 40, 30, 30, 20, 20||Take-Out:||Canyon Mouth Park|
|Shuttle:||Rt. 176 / CR 127 / CR 275**||Delorme Gazeteer:||P. 27 A7/B7|
|Water Q:||Primary Gage:||LRC (bridge/USGS)|
|Links:||TOPO MAP||Required Level:||-4"/225 cfs (~500 cfs better)|
|TRIP REPORT||Required Level:|
|Put-in is just downstream of Bear Creek. It is still fun
down to -2" or so. The first mile can be challenging
for a beginner. Putting in can be challenging for that matter, though not that bad since they've grown grass on
the trail. After a few class III's, you
get to Bottleneck. Watch for an undercut on the
left in a rapid above Bottleneck. Bottleneck is a forgiving but tricky low IV. The final drop in Bottleneck
often will flip you, but I've never heard of it holding onto anyone. At water above 8" or so,
if you swim on river left, you could go under a nasty undercut.
After Bottleneck it is pretty much II and III-. If you run it at high water, it is bigtime III/IV and Bottleneck is meaty. Towards the end it gets pretty flat, especially for the tired Suicide or Upper 2 paddler. The last rapid is at the confluence with Johnnies Creek at mile 5.
Another option for those seeking the easiest possible run is to put in on the Powell Trail below the Chairlift. Here Jason Smith offers some low water wisdom: Powell Trail is very hard to find. Driving up from the Canyon Mouth Park, you cross Johnnies Creek, one more small stream, and then just after crossing Chinquapin Creek (unmarked) look for a blue sign on the right. The trail has several major trees down that you go over and or under. The carry in/out is not as bad as some that I have experienced on Chattooga Section III. It's a little over a 1/4 mile. The chairlift/Eberharts Point trail is shorter, steeper, and better for the carry in.
My friend Tim Cook and I paddled this section in an old tandem Blue Hole with questionable floatation, so we didn't want to deal with the Bottleneck section of the river, thus putting in at Powell Trail. We were in my great old friend Larry Longshore's boat, if anyone remembers Larry - a die hard paddler from the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club who was from the Valley Head area. Larry passed away a little over five years ago unexpectedly. He was one of the first to canoe the Nantahala in the 70's, as well as the Little River sections. In an open canoe, even the 350 cfs run we made was the extreme minimum. A few clean rapids, most were bumpy at this level, and there is one solid class III about two miles down from the Powell trail - better to run it solo. To be honest we flipped it running it tandem. I ran it successfully solo, and then we survived a second tandem attempt, only to T-bone a rock at the lower end of the rapid.
I wouldn't make this run it again unless I had 500 cfs or better. Absolutely outstanding scenery, and water quality should really be zero chickens [editor: there's a little chicken in all Alabama water :-)]. Definitely Class II-III with one sure enough III, and probably solid class III above 700 cfs.
** On the shuttle, take Rt 176 south from Eberhart Point, turn left on CR 127. This turns into CR43, then CR275, then follow signs to Canyon Mouth Park.
Roughly, INCHES (35 bridge) = (CFS - 600) / 100. This seems to work out very well for at least flows from 600-1000 cfs. In early 2003, it seems that the flow at the bridge will be a tad higher than this correlation would suggest, but it is still close. This is ONLY for the internet USGS gage, the Alabama Power phone gage is not accurate and is about 100 cfs low at lower water.
As of 11/16/2000, there is a small tree on the left at Eddy Hop on the Chairlift, just in front of an undercut. It's pretty easy to avoid, but I shudder to think of the potential possibilities... - Shane Hulsey