Chattahoochee, Georgia, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II+(III) (for normal flows)|
|CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER AT ATLANTA, GA|
|usgs-02336000||850 - 20000 cfs||I-II+(III)||02h04m||6580 cfs (running)|
Buford Dam info number: 770-945-1466
At the river left put-in you have two options. Closest to the parking lot is a channel with some
flatwater slalom gates. A variety of olympic calibre paddlers have practiced at these gates. The
drain at the lower end of the channel is under the interstate bridge and sometimes gets
temporarily jammed up with wood. As of summer 2008 this channel is impassable.
On the other side of Powers Island is the main channel of the Hooch. There is usually a mild current here which is good for warmup.
Just below the put-in is the Interstate 285 bridge over the river. On river right there is a very small wave hole under the bridge which is a good place for novices to practice surfing. After this is a long stretch of flatwater.
Next up is a riverwide series of small ledges. At flows over 1500 cfs the best surfing is on river left. Most of the flow goes far right through a class II chute with good eddies on both sides.
A few hundred yards beyond, the second set of ledges is rocky with a fast chute down the middle and a number of good eddies to the sides. Known locally as the "Devil's Racecourse", this is a very good place for novices to practice swiftwater ferrys and eddys. At higher flows most of the rocks disappear underwater; follow the flow left of center. The pool on river left at the bottom of the chute is great for roll practice.
Below the pool the river is divided by an island. Most of the water goes down the left side of the island and forms a nice wavetrain with a couple of surfable holes. Eddy behind the island and ferry far right across some more small islands and ledges to get to a park service picnic area, with restrooms. This is a very scenic spot and probably the best choice of lunch stop on this section; also is a good place to hike out if necessary - follow the downriver trail uphill to get back to civilization. On river left across the pool is the diving rock, obvious in the summer by the presence of locals diving into the river from the higher of the two cliffs. The lower cliff makes a fun seal launch for kayakers.
After this the river bends to the left and goes over the third series of ledges. This set is similar to the first; most of the flow going far right, but there are plenty of alternate routes down. The abundant rocks create many small playspots. About this time the odor of sewage sometimes drifts over the river. That lovely odor comes from a vent pipe about 50 feet back in the woods on river right. There is an underground sewage line that runs next to the last half of the run on river right.
As the river takes a right bend and the I-75 bridge comes into view there will be a strong eddy with a clean eddy line on river right at medium flows. This is a great playspot for the local squirt boaters, and a great place to learn mystery moves.
Just above the I-75 bridge there is a large obvious rock 30 feet off the right bank of the river. I don't recommend splatting the upstream side of the rock, but it does have a great eddyline for stern squirts. Class III-IV Rottenwood Creek (see AW reach #497) enters the river just below this point.
On river right just below the bridge is a little drop running right to left that may have some wood in it but is otherwise fun to run. From this point down to the takeout, look for many more small surfing ledges at normal water. The river starts fording out, getting more shallow and gravelly.
The takeout is on the right about a half mile past the I-75 bridge. You can spot the end of the concrete boat launch from a few hundred yards upriver, sticking out of the trees.
Map of the put-in: Powers Island.
Map of the takeout: West Palisades and Paces Mill.
Map of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
How Polluted is the River??
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Put - In|
|0.8||Second Set of Ledges||II+|
|1.3||The Dive Rock|
|1.4||Third Set of Ledges||II|
|1.8||The Squirt Spot|
|1.8||Whitewater Creek Access|
|2.5||The Big Rock|
|3.5||The Take Out|