TN Paddling May 4-8

My wife and I are traveling to the area around Newport, TN just outside the Smokies and are hoping to paddle some class II-III in the area. Seems water level is an issue, wonder if there any groups, paddlers, liveries we can get with to paddle together, run shuttle, etc. We are both well experienced OC-1 and OC-2 paddlers. Suggestions?? bike shuttle possible??

Got a couple guidebooks, websites too…

You might drive east to Hot Springs
and talk to the outfitters there. Hot Springs is the take out area for the French Broad, and you may run into paddlers that know the run ending at Hot Springs. It is mostly class 2+ and 3 except for Frank Bells, which can be avoided or portaged. Rain has been heavy lately and the FB should “hold” for a while.

Pigeon River

– Last Updated: Apr-22-15 6:19 PM EST –

The French Broad and Nolichucky have big watersheds and are typically runnable that time of year. There are a couple of outfits in Erwin, TN which will shuttle you and your vehicle for a paddle down the Nolichucky Gorge for a very nominal fee:

You will be very close to the Pigeon River which should have releases on the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It is Class III at normal flow. It is not unlikely that if you go to the power plant at the start of the run, you will be able to hook up with someone to shuttle with. If not, a bicycle shuttle is certainly doable but watch out for the rafting buses on the rather narrow road. Alternatively, one of the rafting companies in Hartford might be able to shuttle you.

The Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers (primarily Class II) are a bit further but usually have midweek releases in May. Again, either a local hookup or a bicycle shuttle will work. NOC on the Nantahala will also shuttle private boaters for a fee.