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 an 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 (there is a link to Google Map directions on the Access tab). This is the start of the Tallassee Shoals rapid, 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. Do keep an eye out for two pipes that cross the river. Depending on the level the pipes may be difficult to get over. 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 700-900 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 to be able to run the Shoals. Above 1300 there is surfing here with some large holes to surf or avoid. At 1300 up to at least 5000 cfs an interesting wave/hole exists, 30 yards downstream of the wooden stairs. At about 2100 cfs is the optimal level for a retentive hole that is river right, at the end of Tallassee Shoals. This hole is deep enough for cartwheels and possibly loops. At 5000 cfs there are numerous large waves to surf but most are caught on the fly.
1 year ago
by Matt Nielson
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Permits are not required for this reach.
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 an access easement at the end of Big Bear Road and hike down to the river. If the flow is below 900 cfs, then hike or scrape your way down the shoals about 100 yards. The flow from the bypass returns to the main channel at this point.
The takeout is at county-maintained access point river left.
Link to shuttle route on Google Maps
Surf at 5K CFS
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Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, died on November 20th, 2019. He was 83. A microbiologist by training, Terry began paddling in the mid-1960's while a professor at Emory University. He took to whitewater readily, and it became an important focus of his life. In 1969 he met veteran paddler Doug Woodward, and in 1971 the two became the technical advisers for the movie “Deliverance.” Afterwards, Terry and Woodward purchased the rafts Warner Brothers used in filming and bought 19 acres near the river. This became Southeastern Expeditions, one of the Southeast’s first whitewater outposts on the Chattooga. In 1974, Terry took then-Gov. Jimmy Carter on three trips on the Chatooga River, totaling 57 miles. This inspired Carter to get the Chattooga included in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and influenced later decisions protecting rivers across the U.S.“Terry adopted me as one of his students,” Carter told Outside Online in a 2017 interview. “it opened my eyes to the relationship between a human being and a wild river that I never had contemplated before that. When I got to be president I vetoed 16 different dam projects all over the United States.” Terry eventually quit his Emory University job and started full time career in environmental advocacy, including founding American Rivers, a principal U.S. conservation group. For the next 30 years he specialized in environmental projects involving rivers and wetlands and later, when he became a board-certified toxicologist, he developed an expertise in hazardous waste cleanups. He was an active paddler until sidelined by Parkinson's Disease. A passionate teacher and advocate, he is sorely missed by all who knew him. Click through for an excellent obituary and a photo of Terry taking Governor Carter over Bull Sluice!
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