|Class:||III/IV, 6" to 18"||Put-In:||CR 409 Martling Rd or CR 414 (Falls)|
|IV (IV+), 18" to 3'|
|Gradient:||90, 80, 15||Take-Out:||Lake Guntersville Rt. 227|
|Length:||(From Falls) 2.4 + 3 mile lake paddle||Precip. Gages:||Albertville (TVA) Boaz (Real Time)|
|Shuttle:||CR 409 / CR414 / Rt. 227||Delorme Gazeteer:||P. 26 B1/B2|
|Water Q:||Primary Gage:||Rt. 75 Bridge|
|Links:||TOPO MAP||Required Level:||6"|
|TRIP REPORT||Required Level:||400||1000||125|
|A favorite run of local paddlers, Short runs more often than
all other Sand Mtn. runs except for Town Creek. Quick enough to do in an afternoon but enjoyable for a whole
day. The usual put-in on Upper
Short affords a nice 1 hour warm-up before
the steep section. An alternate put-in at the falls bridge trims off almost an hour. The real action starts
with the falls, an easy 18'er. Major rapids from there are Grotto Falls, Tornado Sluice, Divided Highway,
Rock Cruncher, and the last rapid above the confluence with Scarham at mile 1.5. All of this is either very
difficult class III+ or easy IV-. The line must be drawn somewhere between III and IV. 6" really
is low while above 18" things really heat up. The upper limit is a matter of taste but 3' would be seriously
kick something. At 2.4' I can attest that the named rapids are no harder but all the stuff in between is quite
The line on the Falls is any way you like, although too far left gets you near a slight undercut at the bottom and too far right makes you scrape at the top below 14" or so. The easiest line on Grotto is down the middle over an 8' fall, but others may be scouted from the rock in the middle. Tornado is easy if you stay out of the recirculating eddies at the bottom. Divided Highway is safest in the right lane, the left can pin you. Even the right lane can be a bit tricky if you get in the ditches ;-). Rock Cruncher is generally run right, but two other lines are possible. Optional eddies exist midway. A first run probably warrants a scout for this one. The last long rapid is a pretty easy boat scout eddy hop. Watch out for a vertical hole against the right bank most of the way down. It has recirculated before and it will recirculate again.
At high water, lower Short can be pretty pushy. Take the first rapid left eddy, ferry, right eddy, ferry. If you blow off the right eddy, you may meet the big hole if the water is over 18" or so. There is an easy ender hole at low water (6"-12") on the right side about 1.5 rapids past the confluence.
As a matter of interest, most of the gradient (~140') is in the 1.5 miles from just above Short Creek Falls to the confluence with Scarham.