Beaver Creek Take 2: Dam!

by  kayjeckel

A self-supported trip created by kayjeckel

Trip Overview

Pegasus and I took our whitewater kayaks for another section of urban paddling on Beaver Creek in the Karns / Powell / North Knoxville area, since we had such a good time last time and we wanted to try out the new kayak that Peg found for cheap on facebook marketplace. I had read that the section where we last left off (Roy Arthur Stormwater Park to Karns Senior Center) was so clogged with strainers and blockages that it wasn't worth the effort. So instead, we started at the put in at Karns Senior Center / Northwest Sports Complex with a goal to end at our truck, parked at Solway Park.

We began our paddle around noon. Knoxville had an entire day of rain three days ago, and we got a few hours of rain the night before. This made for some great water flow and deeper depth than last time we went out. Not one time did our kayaks run aground! It was a beautiful, very hot and humid, day. A great day to be on the cool creek. For a while as we were passing behind the Karns High School, we had an epic soundtrack to our journey via the high school band practicing. Just like last time, we saw blue heron, turtles, colorful backyard birds, and many wildflowers. Noticed some decent sized splashes from fish jumping. We even saw the token beaver! But....

There was just too many strainers. We had to stop and portage several times, I lost count. Each time we had to get out of our kayaks and maneuver around the tree branches lying in the water, we got more exhausted. So we took a look at our map and saw we were only halfway to our destination and decided to call it quits. We ended up seeing an old dirt road leading to Cardinal Health Distribution Center which had a couple No Trespassing signs, but we saw clearly there was a busy highway just above a heavily graffitied bridge, so we hauled our boats up the hill to that road, a short distance. A man approached us to make sure we knew that we were on private property. We assured him that we had to bail from the river and that we would just be waiting by the road for our pickup, no harm intended.

My sister who thankfully lives close by, came to the rescue to take me to the truck while Pegasus waited by our kayaks. When we got there, found that our car battery was dead- ugh. Eventually got it jumped though. All's well that ends well! We had a good, interesting afternoon but I definitely can't recommend this section until these strainers get cleaned up. Not sure how many of them are legitimate beaver dams and how many (most) are just fallen trees.

Safety Notes

I'd do a different section of Beaver Creek. Just too many strainers.


Rained the night before, most of the time the creek was waist-high.

Portage Notes

Too many strainers.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 8/20/2021
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Number of Portages: 10

Trip Location