Nashville Rivers

Bledsoe Creek – near Galatin, TN

This is a nice little run about an hour north of Nashville near Galatin.  When I first moved here, we ran this creek pretty much continuously.  Water level is crucial here. You have to catch it after a good rain, because it’s rather flashy, not holding water for very long after rain.  This is a great beginner run featuring many class one-two shoals, and one class three at the mills in higher water levels. This rapid can be easily portaged.  At the bottom of the mills are several small holes and one big wave for some surfing fun.  There are eddies on both sides of the creek and a nice recovery pool at the bottom. This is a fun place to spend a few hours messing around peeling out, surfing, ferrying, and rolling.  From the mills down, there are several other holes and shoals to play on.  At the bottom the creek eventually flattens out and becomes a lake, so be prepared to paddle about a half mile of flatwater. At the bottom take out, there’s a little convenience store with hot coffee for warming up, where the lady clerk will ask you if you’re insane when its 35 degrees outside.  The correct response is “yes”.







Rutherford Creek

This has been a fun run for us and in the short time I’ve resided in the Nashville area I’ve run it three times at various water levels.  If you just check the meter, located on an old bridge pylon, (sorry not one on USGS services), you can figure out how your trip will be. If the meter is anywhere around half way or above, it will be a fun run. Anything below half can be a bit scrapey and rock crusher rapid will lose its fantastic wave.  Also if the Duck river is high, it will wash out some of the lower rapids. At the start of this creek, it’s mostly flatwater, with a few ripples here and there.  As you go around a bend, you will start to hear the first rapid, Rock Crusher. Defined by the large Rock Crusher machine on river left, Rock Crusher rapid is a great place to hone those skills.  It features a nice spillway down the middle leading to a short wave train through bottom recovery pool.  At higher water levels (halfway on the gauge or above), this spot has a very nice wave that is 100% playable.  Its perfect for practicing peel-outs, stern-squirts, etc.  There’s also two small eddies on either side to sit in.  A little down from Rock Crusher is Side-surfer, a strangely positioned diagonal wave on river left.  This is a fun place to play as well, but at higher water levels it tends to wash out.   From here to the canyon are several small shoals, including one with three chutes which are fun at higher water levels. My fiancé swam here while practicing ferrying in the main chute.  It’s not a bad swim though, she said, because the water is only a couple feet deep. A bit down from here is the canyon, which contains two rapids, entrance rapid and exit rapid. Be sure to scout the canyon before running it though, because it can get clogged with strainers. There’s a few small eddies on river left just before the start of the canyon where you can scout from.  The canyon is really cool in itself being about ten to twelve feet wide and maybe a hundred feet high, with a wave train all the way down it.  At the beginning is entrance rapid, a very playable hole with two small eddies on either side.  Be sure not to miss it if you want to play, because its very hard to get back upstream once you do. At the bottom of the canyon is exit rapid, but as said before, it can wash out when the duck river is high.  We’ve had some good fun on the run, and I would recommend it to anyone seeking a fun time near Nashville in a kayak.  It’s a great beginner/ novice run, a great way to help a newbie get his feet wet and fall in love with kayaking, while still providing a good practice area to novice/intermediate boaters.  Rutherford Creek a great little run, and is totally worth it to go to.


Stones River, Murfreesboro, TN


This is the river I tend to spend the most time on, A. because it’s close to home, and B. because there’s several play-spots accessible by car.  This is a very dynamic river because with different water levels, things change dramatically.   Along most of the river lies the Greenway, a paved or graveled walking path that follows the contours of the river.  Riverbank access is not a problem in many places.  One of the premier play-spots is Nice Mill Dam Recreation area, which features a man-made dam that has washed out on the left side. This washout created a small slide leading to a good little surfing hole at the bottom. Some Saturdays when gas money isn’t flowing as well, we’ll spend all day long here. Another spot is the Ransom Mill Dam. It’s the same sort of old dam with a spillway on river left.  The spillway features a nice 4’ boof leading to a little 2’ boof at the bottom. This is definitely a place to hone your boofing skills.  At the bottom there’s a nice little hole, that’s retentive enough to hold you steady in a  side surf or you can carve and spin in it.  About fifty yards downstream from here is a pipeline crossing that offers a nice wave at higher water levels.  There are two other GREAT playspots  here, Harkers Hole and Overall Creek. Both are totally worth checking out! This river also offers great scenery, and long stretches of flat water for those that just want to get out on the water. The DNR stocks this river (I’m not sure how often) with trout so there’s lots of good fishing as well. The next description was written by Kevin Todd, a good buddy of mine and a great paddler.

1.) Stones River in Murfreesboro (30 min from Nashville)

a.) If you go to you will see a dam with rapids that you can run down river left. There are 2 ledges and then you can play at the bottom. We have discovered that 3.4 feet and above is best. Here is a link to a vid of me going down the rapid. For some reason my friend only took video of the worst line. If you go more river left, you can get some good boofs.

b.) Down the river a bit from the dam, there is a pretty good class II rapid. Somewhere around here near the dog park. Looks like it would be some good play but haven’t checked it out yet. Also not sure about the eddy situation there.

c.) Even further down the river is the Nice Mill Dam recreational area. There is a dam there with a bit broken out on river right. Pretty fun to run although short and some good surfing there. Kinda brutal at higher levels but lower levels it’s fun. We are working on moving rocks around to try and make it better. We are also working on a “back stage” area there which is just down from the dam on river right, near the trees. Hopefully this will be good at higher water levels. Be careful though as the recovery area for the dam is not deep and STAY FAR AWAY from the pour-over at the intact parts of the dam when the water is high. Here is the map link