I've lived in Nashville for 17 years and have driven over the Caney hundred of times, always wanting to explore this river. After tiring of the traffic and shallowness of the Harpeth, I decided to kayak the Caney.
I chose the 6 mile trip. First, the Caney is dam controlled: generated. This means, that depending on whether or not the dam is open, and how much water they are letting out (generating) your trip can anywhere from really quick to pretty long (depending on your paddling ability). The companies that run trips on this river have zero control over this and have little notice as to the generation schedule.
When I arrived, I learned that the generation level was zero; no water was coming out of the dam. They had stopped generating at 11am. My trip was at noon. I had hoped for a little generation - it was Saturday after all, and six miles is a lot of paddling. No matter, I had all day.
The staff at check-in was friendly and directed me to the restrooms (very clean) and the waiting area for the bus (under a huge tent). The bus arrived promptly at noon, the driver checked in each group and checked to ensure their equipment was on the rack before they boarded.
It was about a 20 minute ride to the load-in spot. We had to wait for a group to finish unloading before our equipment could be put in. Public access ramp - same at all outfitters from Costa Rica to the Ocoee.
The river is beautiful. Crystal clear. However, unsuitable for swimming, IMHO. 56 degrees. So cold it hurt. Hundreds of people ON the river, not a soul IN it. The furthest anyone was in, was knee deep. I MUST find out why this river is so cold!!! It's not deep! If anyone knows; please clue me in!
Generation zero... 6 miles. You know what? Not too bad. In fact, had I brought food, I would have called and gone the extra 3. I was told to expect to travel 2 miles an hour - at a leisurely pace; including a stop or two. I stopped twice - but not for very long (cold water remember) and made it to the 6-mile point in 2-1/2 hours.
Because there were a lot of people on the river, I didn't call at the lay left to schedule my pickup. When I arrived, there were three buses with racks ready to load the equipment. What I didn't know was that I needed to walk up the ramp to catch a ride ( makes sense since they have to drive a full load back through the water and up the steep ramp), so I missed the first shuttle while goofing off at the river. Another one showed up about 20 minutes later.
Once back, you've got to check in with the front desk so they know you're not lost on the river. I was very pleased to see that the bathrooms were still clean so late in the day. A quick change of clothes and I headed back to Nashville.
I would definitely use this outfitter again. Because I prefer less crowds during my time outdoors, I would probably choose to float during the week versus the weekend. Kind of like going to Disney over spring break versus winter break. They handled the volume well and wanted to be sure everyone had a great day.