Higher Pursuits offers two trip options on the Duck River
**Alert** The Carpenter Bridge Route (8.5 Mile Long Route) is closed due to a downed tree and a collapsing bank. We currently do not anticipate this route re-opening in 2022.
Higher Pursuits offers kayak and canoe rental service on two paddling routes on the Duck River. The Duck River has deep slow pools mixed with faster moving water. It is a great river for both novice paddlers and experienced paddlers.
The 5.5 mile route is an easygoing Class I with very few swift spots (this is the route we recommend for first time paddlers, large groups or groups with young kids). The 8.5 mile route has a few spots that require you to be able to maneuver your boat to avoid an obstacle and at certain water levels this route is closed. We make the decision to open or close the 8.5 mile route daily, based on the current water conditions and weather. .
These two sections of the river flow through the Yanahli Wildlife Management Area making this a scenic paddle with very few roads, houses, or buildings. It has been designated a State Scenic River and is home to a diverse population of freshwater mussels, birds, freshwater otters, beavers, minks and numerous species of fish. Learn more about the Duck River
On each route there is a spot you can call us to let us know that you are almost done so we can meet you at the end of your trip and bring you back to the canoe base.
Cheeks Bend Route – 5.5 Mile
- Our Most Popular Route and the route we recommend for first time paddlers, large groups and groups with young children
- Time to Paddle: 3 to 5 hours
- Length: approximately 5 1/2 miles
- Starts: Leftwich Bridge on Sowell Mill Pike (1/4 mile from the canoe base)
- Ends: Howard Bridge on Fred White Road
- Accessibility: The access is just a 1/4 mile from the canoe base. It is a gravel access and well maintained. The ending boat ramp is a concrete boat ramp. If you have limited mobility this is the best route for you.
- Group Size Limits: The Cheeks Bend Route is perfect for youth groups, church groups, scouts, etc. Typically we recommend that groups keep their numbers to 25 people or less so that there are places where the entire group can stop together.
- Drive Time to Put In: 5 minutes
- Drive Time from Take Out: About 15 minutes
Features: This section of the river features remote paddling through the Yanahli Wilderness Management Area. The trip is highlighted by several picturesque rock bluffs along the river as well as opportunity to see various forms of wildlife found along the Duck River. Along Cheeks Bend there are several large caves visible from the river. The river is gentle along this section and has very few swift spots. There are good gravel bars for groups to stop for lunch, play in the water, and just relax.
Special Notes: Check our hours of operation for our last drop off time and last pick-up of the day based on the time of year.
Carpenter Bridge Route – 8.5 Mile
The Carpenter Bridge Route is temporarily closed due to a tree that is down on the river. The river bank is collapsing about a third of the way into the route and continues to drop large trees across the river. This is creating an extreme hazard in the area.
- For experienced paddlers who can maneuver their boat to avoid obstacles.
- At certain water levels this route is closed. The decision to open or close the 8.5 mile route is made daily based on the current water conditions and weather.
- Time to Paddle: 5 to 7 hours
- Length: approximately 8.7 miles
- Starts: Carpenter’s Bridge off Carpenter’s Bridge Road (15 or 20 min from canoe base)
- Ends: Leftwich Bridge on Sowell Mill Pike
- Accessibility: The Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association rebuilt the steps at Carpenter Bridge several years ago. It is now a set of about 20 wooden steps that take you to the river. These steps can be a challenge if you have limited mobility. The ending is very accessible and well maintained.
- Group Size Limits: The group size limit for Carpenters Bridge is 10 people. The wooden steps make launching a larger group very difficult.
- Drive Time to Put In: Approximately 20 minutes
- Drive Time from Take Out: 5 minutes
Features: This section of the river has a rich history. Along the banks of the river you can still see old mill sites. This remote section of the Duck River is largely uninterrupted by roads or houses. Some groups are fortunate enough to see a bald eagle that frequents this section. This section of the river is very generally slower then the Cheeks Bend Section and requires more paddling. This section does not have good landmarks as you paddle. Your key feature is an old bridge at the end of trip.
Drop Off Times
- We only offer one drop off time per day: 9:30 am
- Group Size is limited to 10 people or less.
- Please arrive 15 to 30 minutes before you drop off time so we have time check you in, go over the map, and get your boats loaded.
Special Notes: Check our hours of operation for our last pick-up of the day.