Chattooga - Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Lick Log Creek


Chattooga, Georgia, US/South Carolina, US

Disclaimer

Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Lick Log Creek (AKA Section 1)

Usual Difficulty II-V (varies with level)
Avg. Gradient 38 fpm
Max Gradient 125 fpm

Maytag


Maytag
Photo by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 @ 1.6-1.6 at Burls

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
CHATTOOGA RIVER AT BURRELLS FORD, NR PINE MTN, GA
usgs-02176930 200 - 2000 cfs II-V 00h47m 100 cfs (too low)
Due to an arbitrary decision by the Forest Service, the river is not boatable unless the river has previously exceeded 350 cfs the same day.


River Description

 

NEW RULES!

The new rules include:

  1. Allow paddling to occur between Green Creek and Lick Log Creek (about 15 of the 21 miles of the Upper Chattooga),
  2. Allow paddling to occur between December 1 and April 30, on days when flows have hit 350 cfs or higher.
  3. Permit must be obtained at locations shown below.  Burrell's Ford (GA side) is easiest for this reach.
  4. Leave paddling banned on the uppermost two miles, the lower four miles, and all tributaries all year. 
  5. It would also ban paddling from May 1 through November 30 on the entire Upper Chattooga, and on all days when flows have not hit 350 cfs or above.
  6. Impose no direct limits on other similar visitors.

 

These severe restrictions are the only of their kind in the entire Unites States, and are intended to benefit anglers who pursue heavily stocked non-native trout. The artificial fishery created by the USFS-sanctioned stocking has significant impacts including hatchery pollution, backcountry helicopter disturbances, near elimination of native brook trout, user created angling trails, and the elimination of nature based paddling from the upper Chattooga River. Ironically, the USFS decision actually harms anglers across the Country by creating potential competition for wild rivers that are currently shared by all forms of backcountry recreationists, and by degrading the rights of anglers to fish from a boat.

During a press briefing, the acting Sumter Forest Supervisor, Monica Schwalbach, stated that the US Forest Service has determined that boating on the upper Chattooga -- even in unlimited numbers -- "would have no impact on the resource."

AW has been working for a decade to bring responsible, nationally consistent river management to the Chattooga, and this work continues today.

For more information about American Whitewater's efforts to remove this boating ban go to the Chattooga Project page

This page was put together from information gained during the Forest Service Boater Trials as shown in this video and Trip Report

River Description

The upper approximately 2.5 miles of the run is swift water and gradually increased in difficulty culminating in a few Class III ledge drops just upstream of Big Bend Falls. At moderate flows, these drops are easy to approach, scout and run from a boat.  Stop on the river right above Big Bend Falls, at approximately Mile 3. The Big Bend Falls rapid is a river-wide waterfall made up of a series of smaller ledges dropping approximately 25 feet.  Mile 4 included a number of Class III to IV read-and-run rapids. At approximately Mile 5, you reach four approximately Class IV rapids above the Rock Gorge.  The Rock Gorge consists of a series of Class 4 rapids closely spaced in a narrow canyon.  Following the Rock Gorge, and approximately 1 mile upstream of Lick Log Creek, the river returns to Class I and swift water.  Approximately 200 yards below Lick Log Creek is the required last legal takeout for the run.  The next five miles to the 28 bridge consists entirely of swift water but are illegal to boat to protect an artificial fishing experience created by heavy stocking of exotic fish.  The total run time is about 5 hours.(adapted from FS Expert Panel Report)

This run is the best scenic run on the Chattooga.  The moss covered rock cliffs along the sides, relatively open vistas from the water, and relaxed nature of the trip makes this a wonderful way to spend the day on the water.  The rapids are all significant so its a long flatwater trip if you don't have Class V skills.

Emergency Locations

Big Bend Trailhead N34°57.006' W83°06.870'
Rock-in the-Hole-in the-Wall N34°56.509' W83°07.237'
Lick Log Creek Trailhead N34°55.821' W83°07.878'

 

Reach Profile

 

 

Related Reaches
Chattooga Cliffs (AKA Section 00)

Ellicott Rock (AKA Section 0)

Rock Gorge (AKA Section 1)

 

Woody Debris

This section of the Chattooga has special concerns about large woody debris for fish habitat. Please respect the environment and leave wood as you find it, even if it adds a portage. The Chattooga has a remarkable ability to clean itself and the rapid may be ready next time.

For more information about woody debris in rivers go to Large Woody Debris and Stream Ecology

Permit Information

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5357690.pdf

Permit must be obtained at Green Creek Trail, County Line Trail, or Bull Pen Bridge in NC, Burrell’s Ford Rd (GA side of the river), Warwoman Campground (FR 86) and Overflow Creek in GA, or Hwy 28 boat landing, Low Water Bridge, Earl’s Ford, Sandy Ford, Fall Creek, Thrift’s Ferry, Hwy 76 / Bull Sluice lot, and Woodall Shoals in SC.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-04-19 14:30:28

Editors



Photo#881455

Detail Trip Report    @Chattooga Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Highway 28 Bridge, SC(164.70KB .jpeg)

Big Bend Falls

Detail Trip Report  Big Bend Falls  Chattooga Section 1, GA(88.97KB .jpeg)

Drop above Big Bend Falls

Detail Trip Report  Drop above Big Bend Falls  Chattooga, GA(134.32KB .jpeg)

One of the Drops in the Rock Gorge

Detail Trip Report  One of the Drops in the Rock Gorge  Chattooga, GA(95.09KB .jpeg)

Harvey Wallbanger

Detail Trip Report  Harvey Wallbanger  Chattooga, GA(11.46KB .jpeg)

Rock in the Hole In the Wall

Detail Trip Report  Rock in the Hole In the Wall  Chattooga, GA(21.95KB .jpeg)

Harvey Wallbanger

Detail Trip Report  Harvey Wallbanger  Chattooga, GA(14.68KB .jpeg)

Big Bend Falls

Detail Trip Report  Big Bend Falls  Chattooga, GA(22.69KB .jpeg)

Scouting Big Bend

Detail Trip Report  Scouting Big Bend  Chattooga, GA(18.25KB .jpeg)

Maytag

Detail Trip Report  Maytag  Chattooga, GA(11.99KB .jpeg)

Maytag

Detail Trip Report  Maytag  Chattooga, GA(13.35KB .jpeg)

(RM) Boating Ban Sticker

Detail Trip Report  (RM) Boating Ban Sticker  Chattooga, NC(88.89KB .jpeg)

(RM) No Boating Above Hwy 28

Detail Trip Report  (RM) No Boating Above Hwy 28   Chattooga, GA(88.89KB .jpeg)

Chattooga Section 1 Big Bend

Detail Trip Report  Chattooga Section 1 Big Bend  Chattooga, GA(119.03KB .jpeg)

Maytag Low Water

Detail Trip Report  Maytag Low Water  Chattooga, GA(456.28KB .jpeg)

Harvey Wallbanger Low Water

Detail Trip Report  Harvey Wallbanger Low Water  Chattooga, GA(503.36KB .jpeg)

cliff

Detail Trip Report  cliff  Chattooga, GA(508.72KB .jpeg)

Big Bend Falls

Detail Trip Report  Big Bend Falls  Chattooga, GA(465.73KB .jpeg)

Rock Gorge Takout

Detail Trip Report  Rock Gorge Takout  @Chattooga Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Highway 28 Bridge, GA(2.05MB .jpeg)

Photo#881454

Detail Trip Report    @Chattooga Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Highway 28 Bridge, SC(173.00KB .pdf)


Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

The gage is at Burrell's Ford bridge.  There are two staff gages now that the USGS installed a full gaging station.  The one on the upstream piling is the one linked to the internet.  A reading on the upstream gage of 1.8 is approximately equal to the arbitrary FS minimum level of 350 cfs.  Minimum boatable levels are 1.4 ft and upper limits are likely around 2.8 ft on the upper gage.

Correlation information is needed to develop better guidelines. If you are visiting Burrell's Ford, please report readings on the upstram staff gage below the bridge (date, time, level) on the SC side using the "Add a Comment" button at the bottom of this page.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
CHATTOOGA RIVER AT BURRELLS FORD, NR PINE MTN, GA
usgs-02176930 200 - 2000 cfs II-V 00h47m 100 cfs (too low)
Due to an arbitrary decision by the Forest Service, the river is not boatable unless the river has previously exceeded 350 cfs the same day.

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
0 - 200 cfs extremely Low-barely Low II-V Due to an arbitrary decision by the Forest Service, the river is not boatable unless the river has previously exceeded 350 cfs the same day.
200 -1000 cfs barely runnable-high runnable II-V Due to an arbitrary decision by the Forest Service, the river is not boatable unless the river has previously exceeded 350 cfs the same day.
200 - 350 cfs barely runnable-med runnable II-V Due to an arbitrary decision by the Forest Service, the river is not boatable unless the river has previously exceeded 350 cfs the same day.
1000 -2000 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable IV-V
2000 -10000 cfs barely High-extremely High IV-V(V+)

Report - Reports of Chattooga Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Lick Log Creek and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

Reports

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Chattooga [GA] cliff n/a Kevin Pickens
Chattooga [GA] (RM) No Boating Above Hwy 28 n/a Robert Maxwell
Chattooga [GA] Big Bend Falls 1.6-1.6 at Burls Brian and Maria Jacobson
Chattooga [GA] One of the Drops in the Rock Gorge Runnable Milt Aitken
Chattooga Section 1 [GA] Big Bend Falls n/a Don Kinser
5y276d15h03m @Chattooga Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Highway 28 Bridge [SC] Account of 01/19/13 0 cfs Brian and Maria Jacobson
5y276d15h10m @Chattooga Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Highway 28 Bridge [SC] Account of 01/19/13 0 cfs Brian and Maria Jacobson
6y220d02h34m @Chattooga Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Highway 28 Bridge [GA] Rock Gorge Takout 0 cfs Brian and Maria Jacobson
8y343d16h17m @Chattooga Rock Gorge - Burrells Ford to Highway 28 Bridge [GA] USFS Sign n/a Brian and Maria Jacobson
> 10 years Chattooga [GA] Maytag Line 1.5 (Burls) Brian and Maria Jacobson
> 10 years Chattooga [NC] (RM) Boating Ban Sticker n/a Robert Maxwell
> 10 years Chattooga [GA] Chattooga Section 1 Big Bend n/a Mark Singleton

WXPort

News






User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 1 2017 (568 days ago)
Alex HarveyDetails
Level was about 450 cfs. Small dead hemlock in right line of Big Bend Falls, a saw could make quick
work of removing this tree. Right side sneak at Maytag is open, but scout it. Top drop of Upper Big
Hairy Bastard full of wood, there was a sneak to the right. No fisherman encountered.
April 14 2013 (2016 days ago)
Garrick TaylorDetails
Section 1 starts out with a couple of miles of Class I/II and flatwater. Scenic but not exciting.
Then a few good rapids before Big Bend Falls. Big Bend Falls is a big class V looking drop. The
middle lands on rocks. River left side has a rock shelf that extends out from the left. There looks
like an impossibly thin line over on the left that would land you in a nasty hole due to that rock
shelf kicking water back in. River right has what appears to be a fairly reasonable (for a class V)
line. The problem there is it lands in a real boily eddy which has wood in the eddy and blocking
most of its outflow. Decent portage trail on the right that ended by dropping 10-15' down to the
river - ropes were helpful here. Then a mile or more of Class II before it picks up into some Class
III water leading up to what I think is called Rock in the Hole in the Wall. That is a nice rapid
with some quality III+ lead in ledges before the river necks down into a 10' wide slot. The problem
there was the slot had a log in the exact middle of the slot, where all the water goes. Easy
portage on a rock outcropping. More Class III follows, leading up to Maytag. Maytag had all sorts
of wood everywhere. The main line had an overhead log with enough head clearance. Small log in the
right of the main line that was mostly out of play. The drop itself looked to drop into fairly
shallow water that then dumped into a very boily eddy. This eddy had one tree that was easily
avoidable and another tree that went across the entire length of the eddy, most of it underwater
but it was hard to tell how much. The "sneak" described on AW was also clogged full of wood. The
portage for this one was a real pain in the a$$. River left was a rock cliff. River right was a
scramble up a very steep hillside to the Chattooga Trail. Ropes were again handy to pull the boats
up to the trail. After Maytag, the river continued on with some Class III rapids until we dropped
into the Rock Gorge. There was some good quality Class III and IV stuff in there. Also very, very
beautiful with high rock walls. In many spots, moss grew on the rocks, with water dripping through
the moss. The gorge slowly opened back up after just under a mile, and the river slowed back into
Class I/II before coming to the takeout just past Licklog falls. Next was the 0.7 mile takeout up a
steep trail similar to the Upper Green hike out. At least there were some pretty waterfalls on the
small stream along the trail. Worth doing once to see the rock gorge and say you have done it but I
am guessing I got my PLD on the same days as my PFD. If someone I trusted told me that all the
rapids were clear and I could run Big Bend Falls, Rock in the Hole in the Wall, and Maytag and it
was a nice day and the river was at a good level, I'd probably do it again. Barring that unlikely
event, it's probably a PLD (personal last descent) Harvey Wallbanger and Upper Hairy Bastard were
both a lot of fun!
January 15 2013 (2105 days ago)
BradRDetails
Section 0 has a significant class 5 on it. The rest is class 3 at ordinary flow.

Section 1 has a bunch of 4/5 stuff. Both must have run at yesterday's levels. They run with a
little less water than Overflow.
November 30 2008 (3612 days ago)
Brian and Maria JacobsonDetails
Comments promoting exclusive use by any user group for their benefit will be removed by the
administrator.
July 18 2005 (4842 days ago)
Jerry JascombDetails
We stopped by the Burrell's Ford bridge to check the level on July 8 when Overflow was 2.6 and Hwy
76 about 6 ft, just to have a look. A ranger, Dave Heddon, drove up warn us that boating above Hwy
28 was illegal. He said he drove around on high water days looking to bust boaters trying to poach
a run. Fine for 1st offense would be $150, more after that. He wrote down our tag #'s as souvenirs.
Word to the wise.

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Burrell's FordN/APutin
2.7Big Bend Falls5.1Waterfall Photo
4.5Rock-in the-Hole-in the-WallIV+Hazard Photo
5.2Maytag5.0Hazard Photo
5.6Harvey WallbangerIVPhoto
5.8Upper Big Hairy BastardIVPhoto
5.9Lower Big Hairy BastardIV
7.4Lick Log Creek TrailN/ATakeout Photo
11.328 BridgeN/AAccess

Rapid Descriptions

Big Bend Falls (Class 5.1, Mile 2.7)

Big Bend Falls

Big Bend Falls
Photo of Big Bend Falls by Todd Corey В© 2007 taken 01/05/07 @ 1.5 (Burls)

This waterfall is one of the largest drops on the river. Lines exist on the far right and left but the consequences of missing are large. In an emergency there is a trail head just upstream from the falls at the right bend in the river that goes up to the Big Bend road. Low Water



Rock-in the-Hole-in the-Wall (Class IV+, Mile 4.5)

Rock in the Hole in the Wall

Rock in the Hole in the Wall
Photo of Wade Vagias by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 taken 01/05/07 @ 1.5 (Burls)

Significant drop signaled by a rocky slide upstream. A rock resides in the middle of the hole in the bottom of the drop. Run to either edge of the hole.



Maytag (Class 5.0, Mile 5.2)

Maytag

Maytag
Photo by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 @ 1.6-1.6 at Burls

Drop into a large hole that is backed up by a rock that intensifies hole quickly with higher water. Trees tend to hang up here. There is an alternate route down river right if needed. Low Water



Harvey Wallbanger (Class IV, Mile 5.6)

Harvey Wallbanger

Harvey Wallbanger
Photo of Don Piper by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 taken 01/05/07 @ 1.5 (Burls)

Converging water feeds into rock wall on left shore Low Water



Upper Big Hairy Bastard (Class IV, Mile 5.8)

Upper BHB

Upper BHB
Photo of Ben Ellis by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 taken 01/05/07 @ 1.5 (Burls)

Blind approach into slide.

Lower Big Hairy Bastard (Class IV, Mile 5.9)
Boulder garden rapid with hidden holes

Lick Log Creek Trail (Class N/A, Mile 7.4)

Photo#881455

Photo taken 01/19/13

Designated Take Out, Emergency Access Point  From the river to the parking lot is about 3/4 mile all uphill



28 Bridge (Class N/A, Mile 11.3)

This should be the take out except for an arbitrary decision by the Forest Service to protect a heavily stocked artificial trout park on the last two miles of this reach.  Boating is banned on this reach with no justification.




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General Nonmember Message

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Associated News

Chattooga Meeting this Saturday, 9/29
September 25, 2007

Chattooga Meeting Poses New Challenges
October 5, 2007

More Chattooga Delays - Another Season Lost
December 20, 2007

Surprise: More Chattooga Delays
March 7, 2008

USFS Announces More Chattooga Delays (Again)
June 26, 2008

USFS Chattooga River Proposal Released
July 2, 2008

Nationwide Chattooga Comments Needed
July 9, 2008

Yet Another Chattooga Delay, Again...
December 19, 2008

AW Seeks to End Chattooga Delays (NC/SC/GA)
May 28, 2009

USFS Offers Brief Chattooga Update
July 10, 2009

USFS Decides No Upper Chattooga Boating This Winter
October 30, 2009

USFS Withdraws Chattooga Decisions and Analyses
December 22, 2009

Paddlers Get Their Day In Court on Chattooga
October 14, 2010

Paddlers Succeed in Chattooga Hearing - Case Moves Ahead!
December 4, 2010

New Chattooga Comment Opportunity and Video
December 20, 2010

Paddlers Secure Chattooga Conservation Outcomes, But Remain Severely Limited
July 15, 2011

Call for Chattooga River Comments
July 29, 2011

Conservation-Oriented Paddlers File Comments On Upper Chattooga
August 31, 2011

Court Sides with Paddlers on Several Chattooga Issues
February 23, 2012

Chattooga River Update - Some Boating Possibly Allowed Soon
March 16, 2012

AW Responds to Chattooga Farmstead Proposal
June 13, 2012

Chattooga USFS Consideration Done – River to Partially Open This Winter
August 23, 2012

Upper Chattooga Rules Shared - Paddling to Start Soon!
November 27, 2012

Chattooga Court Hearing Marks Progress for Paddlers
December 6, 2012

Comment Opportunity on Upper Chattooga Access
October 28, 2014

Court Finds 2012 Chattooga Decision Legal
November 11, 2014

Forest Service Supports Chattooga Trails (NC/SC/GA)
May 20, 2015


Documents

Associated Projects


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 Rock Gorge - Burrell's Ford to Lick Log Creek, Chattooga Georgia, US/South Carolina, US (mobile)