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Southeastern River Progression

So.... you have finished the class and you're ready to hit the water, but what's next? Each paddler's development will vary based on their skill level and individual risk tolerance.  In this section we will provide you WW101's suggestion for a natural river progression for new paddlers.  Rivers of similar difficulty may be interchanged and what follows is simply to be used as a rule of thumb. It may not be wise for a paddler who has not successfully run the Nantahala to run the Ocoee; however, exchanging the French Broad with the Pigeon may be reasonable. To aid your decisions, we have color coded the rivers of like difficulty.  

We strongly recommend making your first decent with paddlers who have run the river before and can provide you with advise on your way down the river. Palmetto Paddlers, our local paddling club, is a great resource. They plan trips throughout the year, and are happy to include new paddlers on appropriate trips. Always be honest about your skills and ability; don't try to over sell yourself. Your safety and the safety of your fellow boaters depend on it. Surviving a river and successfully running it are not the same thing. Be safe and have fun. 


Lower Green

Lower Green: Fishtop Access to Big Rock Access

Difficulty: Class II

​Length: 6 Miles

Tuckasegee: Section 3

Tuckasegee, Section 3: Dillsboro to Rt 1392

Difficulty: Class II-III

​Length: 5.3 Miles

Nantahala Gorge

Power Plant to Wesser (Lower Nantahala)

Difficulty: Class II+ (III) for normal flows

​Length: 8 Miles

Upper Green

Upper Green: Tuxedo Power Plant to Big Hungry Creek Trail

Difficulty: Class II-III+

​Length: 3.7 Miles

French Broad Section 9

Barnard to Hot Springs (Section 9)

Difficulty: Class III-IV

Length: 8.2 Miles

Pigeon Gorge

Pigeon Gorge Big Creek to Hartford

Difficulty: Class II-III+

Length: 4.6 Miles

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