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West Fork Stones River in Tennessee - Weekend Trip Report

Trip Overview

We put in at the Thompson Lane canoe launch (at Murfreesboro) and traveled approximately 16 miles to the Jefferson Springs Recreational area on Percy Priest lake(at Smyrna). This section of the Stone's is beautiful, traveling through mostly thick woods. The Stones is aptly named as there are many boulders and the river is often surrounded by rock cliffs. The river is class I mostly with a few short sections of class II especially near the Nice damn area. Due to shallow water we were forced to portage at a few spots or risk scraping the hell out of our boats.

There are 2 damns in this section - 1 low head and the aforementioned Nice damn. The low head damn is located near where the Stone's passes a water treatment facility. It is easily portaged on the right side. The Nice damn is a little more difficult to portage as there is no usable trail around it. The best bet is to take out on the right side about 50 feet up from the damn and then pass your kayaks down the wall there. You may then walk down river about 150 feet to get below the damn and put in again without to much trouble. There are several places to camp for the night just below Nice damn although my friends and I camped farther down river (we wished we hadn't!).

We ended up camping at a small clearing in the woods along side the river. There was a soybean field right next to this clearing - it was pretty weird. Someone had in the past left a camp stool and built a shelter with a tarp at this clearing - it appeared to be someone's fishing spot (straight out of the movie "Deliverance")- we dubbed it "Hezekiah's fish hole". We were very tired, hungry (and in need of whiskey) by this point so we set up camp right under the tarp and stayed the night there very comfortably. The next morning we proceeded to paddle on to the take out at Jefferson Springs.

The section of the Stones River that we did had excellent largemouth bass and bluegill fishing. Mostly we would stop and fish any spot that looked promising such as below the sets of class II, around boulders and around fallen trees. Our efforts were always rewarded, catching many fish in the 1 - 3 pound range. We talked with a couple of guys who told us that the catfishing was excellent around the area where the Stones merges with Percy Priest; however, we did not test his advice.


HWY 24 East out of Nashville to HWY 231 North @ Murfreesboro, follow 231 about 1 mile to Broad Street then take a left onto Broad Street. Go approximately 5-6 miles to Thompson Lane and then take a right. Go 2 mile on Thomson Lane and you will see a sign for the Thompson Lane Greenway trailhead. You can put in here and it is reasonably safe to leave your vehicle as well.

The take out is at Jefferson Springs recreational area on Percy Priest Lake. It is very easy to find on any map of the area. There is a parking area there where you can leave a vehicle for taking out.


The Murfreesboro map available at any gas station in the area is the best map I've been able to find. It has a reasonably accurate representation of the river

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

Locations on this Trip