TENNESSEE'S RIVERS & RESERVOIRS
From US 127, the next road access is Adams Bridge on Genesis Road (State Route 298) a distance of 10 river miles. The gradient is unevenly distributed over these 10 river miles. The first 2 miles have a 12-15 ft. / mile gradient producing Class I-II rapids. The next mile has a gradient of over 60 ft. / mile, and the following 2 miles including Gould’s Bend, drop more than 70 ft. / mile. There is a HALF-MILE STRETCH WITH A GRADIENT OF 100 FT. / MILE. These gradients produce rapids to Class IV to V depending on flow. This is the steepest section of the Obed. The river is very narrow and strewn with large boulders, and the drops are steep and twisting. The only other access to the gorge is by foot.
After Gould’s Bend the gradient eases to 20 ft. / mile with pleasant Class I-II rapids.
Below Adams Bridge, the gradient is 10 ft. / mile to Potter’s Ford Bridge in the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area. There is a steep, 1-mile section of this 4 ¼ mile distance, however. The rapids in this 1-mile section are narrow, twisting drops strewn with boulders. There is a rudimentary trail from Adams Bridge to Potter Ford Bridge.
Beyond Potter Ford Bridge, the gradient increases to 20 ft. /mile; the rapids are Class I–II, but some are rather steep. The distance to lower Potter Ford is 10 miles. There is no road access at lower Potter Ford, only a foot trail.
The next section to the junction with Daddy’s Creek (Obed Junction) is 4 miles. Here the Obed doubles its size.
The 4 ½ miles from Obed Junction to the junction with Clear Creek are characterized by short, steep, twisting drops (Class II-IV) followed by short pools. At higher flows, the pools are very short indeed! The average gradient is 30 ft. / mile.
With the addition of the flow from Clear Creek, the size of the Obed increases markedly. After a half mile of Class II-III rapids, there is a long pool known as “Canoe Hole”. On the left bank of this pool, there is a steep trail to the top of the gorge. It should be mentioned that roads leading to civilization are more easily found from the left bank, particularly below Adams Bridge. For the next 2 miles, there is a series of Class I-II rapids. From the end of these rapids to the junction with the Emory, the river is rather quiet.
Along these stretches. There are trails from the left bank to the top of the gorge; in particular, the one at Alley Ford is used by fishermen. The junction with the Emory is easily seen because of strip mining activities, the railroad, and the turn of the river sharply toward the southeast.
TENNESSEE RIVER INFO