Tuckasegee, Section 3: Dillsboro to Rt 1392
Difficulty: Class II-III
Length: 5.3 Miles
The Tuckasegee, or the "Tuck" is another fun, easy river to hone your skills. It is a small step up from the Lower Green. The majority of this run is a Class II. The notable exceptions are the Dillsboro Drop and Double Drop, which are both rated as Class III. Dillsboro Drop is the first rapid on the run. It can be easily portaged, or if you launch from the "old put-in" under the bridge you can avoid it all together. The Tuck is on the way to the Nantahala (see below) from Columbia. It makes a great warm up before running the Nantahala if the release schedule fits your travel plans. The take-out is about 20-30 minutes from the Nantahala.
American Whitewater is one of the best sources for finding information about a new river and current river conditions. Here is the AW page for the Tuckaseegee.
The Tuck is runnable between 450-5000 cfs. The optimal level is 800-1500 cfs. At the range the scrappy areas are covered up, but the river isn't too pushy. You can check the current level and scheduled releases at the at the USGS Site or the Duke Energy Site. The USGS gauge you need to cheek is the Tuckasegee at Barkers Creek
American Whitewater lists 10 named rapids along the Tuck. All but two of them are considered Class II. Lets take a look at a few of them.
Dillsboro Drop: This is the first and one of the most challenging rapids on the Tuck. It is about 0.3 miles from the "New Put-In". The feature was exposed when the old Dillsboro Dam was removed. It is a river wide ledge. There are multiple lines, but the most common are following the tongue slightly left of center over the drop, or hugging the right bank. The line down the right side has less of a drop, but is more shallow. The rapid can be easily scouted from river right on the way to the put-in or from river left along the shore. There is also an easy portage on river left. The rapid can be avoided completely by launching from the "Old Put-In" under the bridge (see map below).
Moonshot/ Tuckshot: This is a pretty straight forward feature; most folks run it to the left side. There is a pour-over rock/ hole at the bottom of the rapid in the center you can run either right or left or the rock.
Double Drop: As the name implies this rapid consist of two drops with a fun wave train. You can eddy out between the drops and practice your eddy catching skills. The wave train below the second drop is a great place to practice your combat roll.