Oconee, Middle, Georgia, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-III (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||10 fpm|
|Max Gradient||40 fpm|
|MIDDLE OCONEE RIVER NEAR ARCADE, GA|
|usgs-02217475||300 - 3000 cfs||IV+||00h34m||7320 cfs (too high)|
A 25 foot tall dam resides on this section 1/2 mile below the hwy 330 bridge. The dam is dangerous and the portage on river right traverses difficult terrain. Thus it is suggested to park at a access easement at the end of Big Bear Road and hike down to the river and then upstream a bit, putting in at the base of the dam (see directions). This is the start of Tallassee shoals, which gently drops 20 feet over 0.4 miles. Because water is diverted for hydropower, the shoals is a knuckle dragger until the river reaches 900 cfs. Above 1300 cfs Tallassee Shoals is a mini-Ocoee, with multiple waves and holes to frolic in. A river right trail allows doing laps on this section though do be conscientious of property owners. The next 6 miles is a relaxing class I float. The gradient picks up at the end, marking the beginning of Ben Burton Shoals, a fast class III. The remnants of a dam make for hazards so helmet is suggested. There is a county-maintained access point river left.
More about the put-in and flows at Tallassee Shoals:
There is a FERC-mandated access point on river right. Hike to the river, then hike another quarter mile up stream to put in below the dam. According to discussions with the dam operator, typically 700 cfs is diverted river left for hydropower with about 50-100 cfs spilling over the dam, which is not enough to scrape down the shoals. Look for at least 1100 cfs on the Arcade gauge for a fun run down the shoals. Above 1300 there is great surfing here with some large holes to surf or avoid. Above 1,600 cfs start to be wary of large holes. The play starts to wash out at 3000 cfs.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|