Ocmulgee, Georgia, US
|Usual Difficulty||I(II) (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||4 fpm|
|OCMULGEE RIVER AT GA 18, AT DAMES FERRY, GA|
|usgs-02212735||450 - 6000 cfs||I(II)||01h01m||483 cfs (running)|
This section of the Ocmulgee River starts out a piedmont style river and changes to a coastal plain river at the Arkwright Shoal which is just below the Arkright Power Station.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.1||River Mist Shoals||II|
|2.3||High Water Ferry||II|
|3.3||Strainer-River Right tree||N/A|
|4.5||Island end ledge||II|
|5.0||Larry's Lunch Rock||N/A|
|6.8||River North Bridge||N/A|
|10.0||Amerson Water Park (CLOSED)||N/A|
|14.0||Ocmulgee Heritage Trail Ramp||N/A|
The put in has a concrete ramp that sometimes gets silt deposited on it after a high flow. The end of the concrete drops off so be aware if you try to step off the end.
After a few minutes of paddling you will see a horizon line across the river. The normal line is to start on river left at the top of the rapid. You will see the whitewater taking a left to right diagonal path through the rapid. At the bottom there is an S turn that goes to the left then curves back to the right. There are numerous eddys to catch on the way down the rapid and some decent waves to surf/play in. At flows over 3000 cfs you can pretty much go straight through the rapid and enjoy some waves
This rapid is best at lower levels. At flows below 2000 cfs the entire river is channeled into a nice surfing area. There is a decent amount of current there and it is a good place to practice ferrying. surfing, rolling in current and there is a nice rock you can position a rope thrower on to practice rope tossing.
At flows above 4500 on river right there is a good chute to practice ferrying. At lower water you can walk on the rocks there.
At mile 3 there is a shoal that has a rapid that develops waves at different water flows. Typically it is better in the 450-1500cfs range. Above that it washes out some.
On river right of the Random Rapid ledge is a chute that forms a wavetrain that is about 2 boats wide. It is a great place to practice surfing. The runout is about 6 feet deep with no rocks so it is a great place to roll in current. It washes out into a sandbar to collect your items if you swim.
There is a huge tree on top of the water if you go river right around the bend. There are several below the surface and the main current pushes right to it. Avoid it by going straight instead of around the right side.
At mile 4.3 you will approach an island that divides the river. The best choice at lower water is to take the river right channel. You will have to pick your way down the middle left side as that is where the best water is. The left side of the island has a nice gentle creek feel to it.
If you run the river right channel around the island, there is a chute on the left side of the ledge that is fun to surf. It has a nice eddy you can catch there and on the left side is a boof rock that is in play at levels above 1200cfs.
At the 5 mile mark there is a nice rock on the middle right of the river that is big enough that you can get several boats and people on it. There is a sweetgum that is about 1 foot high that had taken root that grows on the top of the rock.There is a pothole with a side hole that is perfect to put some charcoal in and a grate on top and grill some steaks on the river. The rock is not good above 2000cfs because it is mostly underwater.
You will come up to a gas pipe line that you can stop and eat at on river left if Larry's Lunch Rock is underwater. Please stay on the edge of the river and dont leave trash.
This is the final decet rapid of the run. There are a couple of ledges below it but they arent too challenging. The approach to this rapid is reminiscent of the Nantahala above 5500cfs while the other side is flat. At more normal flows the approach gives you a few waves but nothing extraordinary. There are a couple of lines with running near the center being one. You can see the waves at the bottom as you approach it and then run it. There is a chute on river right next to the bank that is fun and has a boof rock in it. There are several places to surf in it.
The upriver side of the bridge has a dirt path access point. Hike up past the guard shack of the gated community. Park across the street from the River North Subdivision entrance and shuttle from there.
A ramp access point will be closed until some time in 2015. It is named after Frank Amerson who was in charge of the Macon Water Authority. The water works was flooded in the flood of 1994 and was subsequently relocated on the Town Creek Reservoir.
This ramp is near downtown Macon. If you go this far down you will get to see the Rose Hill Cemetary on river right as you paddle through Macon.