Water Levels

Alleghany Outdoors monitors river levels daily and only puts customers on the river at safe levels. Jackson River levels are dictated by releases from the Gathright Dam at Lake Moomaw (18.5 miles upstream) and rain in the local watershed. Water levels are also impacted by water flows from Cedar Creek and Falling Springs Creek below, as well as numerous other small creeks and streams that enter the Jackson River downstream of the Gathright Dam. The best online gauge we use is the Falling Springs gauge listed in the Summary Page on the US Army Corps of Engineers website. The Falling Springs River Gauge is located about 10 river miles upstream at the Smith Bridge river access point.

When you open the Army Corp Data page, scroll down to “DOWNSTREAM GAGES” then look for Cubic Feet Per Second CFS result for “Falling Springs” gage. Then check the chart below to interpret water level.

  • Kayaking is available from 190 CFS to 1000 CFS
  • Tubing is only available when river running from 190 to 700 CFS.
  • Rafts are available when river running between 500 – 1600 CFS.

 

Level Description
Red – Above 1600 CFS Closed – No watercraft will be rented for safety reasons above 1600 CFS for any reason.
Yellow – 1000 to 1600 CFS Very High – Use caution. Only rafts or inflatable kayaks, the river is swift, powerful, and muddy. Avoid trees and other obstacles, stay inside of river bends. Call Alleghany Outdoors for trip restrictions.
Light Green – 700 to 1000 CFS High Levels – The river is swift and powerful, use extra caution at rapids and around bends. Avoid being pushed into banks, obstacles, and trees. Small rapids smoothed over.
Green – 250 to 700 CFS Above Normal –  4.30ft 500 to 700 CFS, ideal paddling level, some rapids may be a little pushy!

Normal – 280 to 500 CFS the ideal paddling level. Lots of nice rapids to play in.

Below Normal – 250-280 CFS watercraft may bump and scrape some, paddlers may have to step out of their watercraft from time to time. Trips take a little longer.

Blue – 190 to 250 CFS Low Levels – Trips will take longer due to less current. Paddlers will have to step out of their watercraft several times each trip. Can still be enjoyable but you need to be able to read the river and look out for ledges and gravel shoals.
Black – Below 190 CFS Too Low – Below 190 CFS is too low, No Rentals.

When you open the Army Corp Data page, scroll down to “DOWNSTREAM GAGES” then look for Cubic Feet Per Second CFS result for “Falling Springs” gage. Then check the chart below to interpret water level.

  • Tubing is only available when river running from 190 to 700 CFS.
  • Rafts are available when river running between 500 – 1600 CFS.
Red – Above 1600 CFS

Closed – No watercraft will be rented for safety reasons above 1600 CFS for any reason.

Yellow – 1000 to 1600 CFS

Very High – Use caution. Only rafts or inflatable kayaks, the river is swift, powerful, and muddy. Avoid trees and other obstacles, stay inside of river bends. Call Alleghany Outdoors for trip restrictions.

Light Green – 700 to 1000 CFS

High Levels – The river is swift and powerful, use extra caution at rapids and around bends. Avoid being pushed into banks, obstacles, and trees. Small rapids smoothed over.

Green – 250 to 700 CFS

Above Normal –  4.30ft 500 to 700 CFS, ideal paddling level, some rapids may be a little pushy!

Normal – 280 to 500 CFS the ideal paddling level. Lots of nice rapids to play in.

Below Normal – 250-280 CFS watercraft may bump and scrape some, paddlers may have to step out of their watercraft from time to time. Trips take a little longer.

Blue – 190 to 250 CFS

Low Levels – Trips will take longer due to less current. Paddlers will have to step out of their watercraft several times each trip. Can still be enjoyable but you need to be able to read the river and look out for ledges and gravel shoals.

Black – Below 190 CFS

Too Low – Below 190 CFS is too low, No Rentals.