|Class:||III-IV||Put-In:||Wilson Dam Road (Route 133)|
|Gradient:||85'||Take-Out:||Patton Island Bridge (same road)|
|Length:||1 mile||Precip. Gages:||Florence, Sheffield, Town Creek|
|Shuttle:||Wilson Dam Road / Patton Island Bridge||Delorme Gazeteer:||P. 17 C7 (tiny bit of D7).|
|Water Q:||Primary Gage:||None|
|Links:||TOPO MAP||Required Level:||Visual|
|PICTURES / VIDEO||Indicator Gage:|
|TRIP REPORT||Required Level:|
|Pond Creek is the steepest and most adventurous run in the Florence
area. It has three runnable waterfalls and many decent rapids between them. It is very creeky and narrow in parts
but always wide enough to run. It can be run all year long. At low water it is a scrape but runnable. At high water
it is a blast.
It is advisable to have a guide on your first run of Pond Creek if you are not pretty solid on Class IV. There is a potentially very dangerous spot. The put-in is on Wilson Dam Road (Route 133). You are not able to see the creek from the road however due to vegetation. You park your car on the road and walk a path to the creek. You then lower your boat down a steep grade preferably by rope. It is not bad at all if you park at the end of the guardrail next to a tributary just south of where the road widens at the last stoplight before the bridge. The take out is just south of Patton Island Bridge, and once again you cannot see the creek from it. Patton Island Bridge is so new that it is not on most maps. You park your car at the end of the bridge on the Muscle Shoals side. When the creek reaches the Tennessee river you take out on river right at a small walking bridge that crosses over the creek. You follow the trail that this bridge is part of up to the take out. Follow signs for the Rockpile Trail.
The first waterfall is right after the put in. You go through a large tunnel and the drop is at the end of it. It is about an 15-18 foot drop and is clean in most areas. Always clean at high water. There is usually a pool at the bottom of it. There is a rapid after this that CANNOT be swam due to rebar. There is also a tunnel immediately after this rapid with a 7 foot waterfall that drops straight into large rocks. This is a very bad spot. These two areas should be portaged, though a line exists at the waterfall if you are careful and don't mind serious boat abuse. Pins would be easy to come by but the concentrated water in the tunnel sets you up for a good boof stroke. The line is very thin and knowledge of the rocks and their consequences is advisable. As the water gets higher the cushion factor will increase.
After the portage there are a few little rapids until you approach a straightforward 7 foot drop with a small slide above it. Then there are a few more rapids until an interesting 5 foot drop with a nice little two footer above it. The 5 foot drop is a sort of slot on the right side with water coming in on both sides. The right side is undercut. This is fun at low water but has not been run at high water. It is straightforward on the left side if there is enought water. Some of the best little rapids are from after the last waterfall until the takeout, but if the water is low, you are going to scrape.
As of September 2004, there are several logs across the stream which can be limbo'ed at low water and one or two which must be walked depending on the level. None are hard to see from upstream.
The run is short in length but is rarely short time-wise due to putting in, taking out, and portaging. It is definitely a lot of fun. The water quality is very bad at low water but is much better at high water due to rainwater. It is fed by a swampland upstream so it holds its water decently when it is up. It takes a big rain in Florence/Muscle Shoals for it to be at high water.
Florence is a great place to paddle for all different types of paddling styles. We have number of paddlers and we have a great time. Contact Tyler Ross if your in the area and want to run Pond Creek or any of the other creeks in Florence. His number is 710-2095 or 764-4873. Happy Paddling!
Tyler Ross with edits by Mark D'