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South Chickamauga Creek in Tennessee

Trip Overview

This creek has been modified by a massive flood control project in the late 1970's. It has been straightened and designed to flow freely. The current is surprisingly strong. This was the first time I have been on this creek since it was modified.

The current was stronger than I expected and I was very surprised to find three small sets of rapids. I was able to conquer two of these rapids with a pole. I could move up and down them at will. The third rapid was more than I was capable of handling. I will return later with the intention of conquering it. Hopefully I will have a more suitable canoe.

I was unable to move upstream because the rapid, that I did not conquer, blocked my path and I did not want to portage. A couple of miles downstream, the path is blocked by a large diameter pipe that stretches across the surface of the creek. It would be possible to portage around it if you were determined.

I recommend this site for upstream poling practice once a person has learned the basics in calmer water. Without poling capabilities a person would find it quite difficult to return to the prepared put-in point because two of the drops are between the main channel and the put-in point.

My single bladed paddle was not up to the task of running upstream against the main current. My double bladed canoe paddle handled it without too much effort.

This is going to be a good place for me to work on my whitewater poling skills without having to drive to Ocoee or Hiwassee. I do not recommend it to beginners with single bladed paddles.


I rated this as a moderate/difficult trip for two reasons. First, I did it solo downstream and then upstream in a tandem canoe. Second, I poled up rapids to the original put in point. If a person was only going to do a downstream trip, I would rate it as an easy trip.


Hotels, restaurants and gas stations surround this area. This is a pocket of wilderness in an urban area.




Exit I-75 at the East Ridge exit. It is also known as Ringgold Road or Highway 41. It is just south of Chattanooga, Tn. Go east from the exit. Take the road immediately to your left. This is the main road into Camp Jordan. Camp Jordan is a well equipped city park/arena/ball field.

Park in the camper area across from the Arena. Walk clockwise along the jogging path. You will immediately see a small creek. Do not be fooled, that is not the put in point. It is a small tributary. Continue around the walking path until you get to the iron bridge that crosses the tributary. From the middle of the bridge you can see where the tributary drains into the main channel. If you look upstream, you will see the put in point that you just walked by. It was that small gravel road that nobody pays any attention to.

I think that they allow you to drive your car to the put in point if you stay on the jogging path. That is what the signs imply. Do not drive down that gravel road to the creek. You will be unable to drive out. It is too steep. Trust me on that one.

  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip