This photo needs editing.
Difficulty I-II(III)
Length 7.5 Miles
Flow Range 2 - 10 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 2.42 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 10/14/2003 12:55 am

River Description

The Chauga is a flatwater run with a few punctuated whitewater rapids. This is especially true if you put in at the Cobbs Bridge access point. At Cobbs Bridge the river makes a wide sweeping turn over several class-II slides. Below this point there are two additional class-II rapids. One is an unnamed slide in the first mile of river and the second drop is Powerline Rapid somewhere around the 3-mile point. Powerline could contain trees and strainers on the left but there are numerous lines over this small slide. The rest of the upper run is flat with a few class-I riffles.
The best boating option for whitewater is to put in at the Hwy 76 bridge and boat down through Chau Ram Park. You can take out in the Park by hiking up the river right bank. The only exciting class II-III section of whitewater is in the park. After Hwy 76 the river starts dropping over some small boulder fields producing easy class-II rapids.

The two biggest rapids are soon to follow. Pumphouse Rapid (class III) is an obvious horizon line with an exposed rock island in the center of the river. Boaters have two options at this drop and will wither go left down a series of small slides or plunge off the right drop. The right drop requires a quick turn to avoid an undercut ledge. If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck you can easily carry back up the middle or left bank and run this rapid again. The pumphouse is immediately downstream on the left. Ramsey Creek confluences with the Chauga below the pumphouse on the left. The cascades on Ramsey Creek are probably class IV-V rapids during flood conditions. The bottom drop appears to be a simple vertical waterfall but the top drop has some dangerous undercuts and a sieve.

At this point the river falls over a couple more class II riffles before reaching Suicide Slide or Can Opener (Class III). This rapid also has a large rock inland with about 90% of the river flowing around the right side down a slide. The right side slide, which is known either as Suicide Slide or Can Opener, is a solid class- III rapid with a very real possibility of injury. Boaters can choose to go left of the can-opener rock, but in doing so they must be careful of the undercut island rock. Alternatively they can ride the slide down the right side and hopefully miss the can-opener rock. Don't worry about misinterpreting what rock is the can opener--it is obvious.

An alternate line down the left crack side of the island is a possibility, but at low flow it could be ill-advised in some boats. The first drop is a tight slide with a knife-blade rock at the bottom. The real danger here is the second drop, because the bottom of the second drop can pinch-pin boats.

There is a good trail on river right back to the Chau Ram Park parking lot. Many boaters might wish to put in and takeout from this parking lot. Just carry up to Pumphouse Rapid and boat down the Suicide Slide. Run each rapid several times and then carry back to the cars.

The final drop in the park is a small class-II ledge that is best run on river right.
After this the river goes flat for another two miles with barely a class-II riffle. The takeout bridge has an access point on river right.

I apologize for using the Monty Smith names for rapids on this river. I know he renames things but could not find an old guidebook for the real names of the rapids.

Rapid Descriptions

Put-In Slide

Class - II Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Long sloping sliding rapid, visible from the bridge.

Denny's Plunge

Class - II Mile - 0.5
8 foot slide with lines almost anywhere.

Powerline Rapid

Class - II Mile - 3.5
Riverwide ledge. Trees can get stuck on river left.

US 76 Bridge

Class - Mile - 4.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Put in here to run the Park section or take out here if you only wanted a class I-II float.

Park Entrance Rapid

Class - II+ Mile - 4.6
The rapids pick up after the Hwy 76 bridge and this drop signals the start of the best whitewater on the run

Pumphouse aka Slanted Crack (right line)

Class - III Mile - 4.7
The more photogenic line is on river right.

Pumphouse aka Slanted Crack (left line)

Class - III Mile - 4.7
Run either right or left lines here.

Playspots in Park

Class - II Mile - 4.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
There are some small holes and ledges in the park rapids that are decent playspots at the right water levels.

Ramsey Cascades

Class - IV+ Mile - 4.81
Ramsey Cascades are a side trib. in the Park.

Suicide Slide, aka Can Opener, aka Boat Buster

Class - III Mile - 5.2
This is the biggest rapid on the river. The main flow dropps over a slide on river right. Thre are lines on the left and right side of the slide around the knife rock. An line on the far left is possible but can sometimes pinch pin boats.

left Crack of Suicide Slide

Class - III Mile - 5.2
Don't do the far left line unless you have enough water to fit in the bottom slot.

The Left Crack

Class - Mile - 5.21
Most boats will not fit in the crack at low water.

Glass Rapid

Class - II+ Mile - 5.4
The final ledge in the park is an easy drop on river right.

Horseshoe Bridge

Class - Mile - 7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Takeout on the right.


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Eddy Hicks
13 years ago

There are two logs stuck on the rock in the middle of canopener pointing upstream might be worth a scout.Also the footbridge over the river at the park is closed due to damage caused by the flood when Ivan came thru.It might be open by july according to the park rangers.

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chuck harper
7 years ago

Has anyone had any problems putting in on the river left upstream side of the bridge?

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Adam Hackenberg
12 years ago

The foot bridge is open now.

Summary of Gauge Readings

Visual gauge but check the Chattooga and nearby Flat Shoal River. The Chattooga should be above 2 feet and Flat Shoal should be running for the Chauga to run.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
AW Gauge Info
2.42 ft ℹ️ 01h15m n/a

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2005-06-29 Medium Fatality Other Read More





Kevin Miller