Paddle the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River - Memorial Day weekend camping


Bandy Creek Campground - Oneida, TN
Bandy Loop

Sun, May 26, 2019 at 1:30 PM - 10:30 PM

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5/6/19: No more kayak rentals available for this paddle. - Leslie BRING YOUR OWN BOAT AND GEAR or RENTALS: Up to five kayaks, PFDs, and paddles can all be rented from Leslie for $25 per day. Please go to and send $25 to under Friends and Family payments, then post in the comments here on this page that you're renting. These are two trip options that Mike and Leslie have worked up. Depending on water level and conditions that week, they will choose one of the two paddles. +++ Paddle Option 1 - Leatherwood Ford to Station Camp 8 miles Class I-II Starting at a well-developed put-in not far from the Bandy Creek campground, this 8-mile run has some nice scenery, good flow, and some small Class I & II rapids and riffles, particularly in the upper sections, and flattens out in the lower sections where more paddling will be required. This section is used by many of the outfitters for their day trips and boat rentals and can be navigated by beginner to novice paddles in recreational boats and open canoes. There is a mandatory portage at Angel Falls (ClassIV). It's approximately 1/4 mile walk with boats over some uneven, rocky terrain - sturdy footwear is needed (no flip-flops) and some may find this strenuous. Depending on stops and portage time, this trip should take about 4-5 hours on the river, plus shuttle time. Boaters will need to dress appropriately, and pack sufficient water and a shore lunch. A dry bag with a change of clothes is always welcome on a cool day after an unplanned swim. +++ Paddle Option 2 - Blue Heron Mine to Yamacraw Bridge or Alum Ford 4.8 or 12.2 miles Class I-II A little further drive and shuttle - this section is most likely to have water in all conditions. The put-in at Blue Heron is within a former mining camp that is now a mining museum with many educational displays. The group could spend some time visiting before putting on the water. Depending on timing and interest, this could be either a 4.8 or 12.2 mile paddle. It's listed as Class I-II, but in my experience it is mostly flat, especially past the Yamacraw bridge as we get closer to the lake. Appropriate for beginning paddlers and recreational kayaks - no spray skirt required. It is mostly flat with little flow in spots where steady paddling will be required. +++ Have your boats and gear loaded and gather at camp E-1 pavilion for briefing at 8:30 with goal to be rolling out by 9:00. We'll have plenty of daylight so that should work for either option. +++ Pʜᴏᴛᴏ ᴄᴏᴜʀᴛᴇsʏ Mɪᴋᴇ Hɪᴄᴋs