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North Fork Obion River, Jones Mill, TN

Trip Overview

First outing of spring, my daughter and I put in at Beatrice Rainey Bridge in Henry County, TN, paddled upstream for approximately 1 mile, then rode current back. River current is just strong enough to make it a good workout paddling upstream but not so fast that it wears you out too fast. I'm 54 and have had two back surgeries so I am not an extreme whitewater kayaker. Just enjoy the nature and solitude of little-traveled rivers and time with my kids. River is wide enough for 2 kayaks with plenty of elbow room. Nice afternoon trip on very isolated river. No cell phone service, no other people, just the river and the nature. Beautiful scenery with lots of wildlife and cypress trees. No stores nearby and no parking areas so must park on road shoulder (roadside is wide enough to pull off at ends of guard rails). Also there is no "easy" access to the water so you either let the kayaks down (16-18') from the bridge and hoist back up by rope (one reason we like the lightweight SunDolphins), or carry them about 50 yards through the snakes and briars. Easiest walking access to the water at the west end, north side of bridge. Best place to put in the water is on the west bank, south side of bridge. In other words, park at west end and walk down on north side of the bridge, then cross under the bridge to put kayaks in mouth of small tributary on west bank on south side of the bridge. This is the only easily-accessible area that is above (and makes it easy to depart upstream) a very swift area over rocks under the bridge.
  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Photography
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
Snakes. Although it was only 54°, we encountered a 5-6' rat snake and a 3-4' cottonmouth sunning on the rip-rap at the bridge abutment. This before we even reached the water
Nothing special, lightweight economy kayaks easy to carry into areas difficult to access. My daughter using SunDolphin Aruba 10 and I was using smaller Aruba 8
A couple swifter-running areas where the channel narrows or shallows that were a challenge to paddle upstream but not impossible. Heavy flooding a month before had helped clear a lot of debris from the small channel making this section of the river very open and navigable

Locations on this Trip