A 241 day old warning about this river was added. Click on comments below to read it.

Chauga - 4: Cobbs Bridge Rd. to N. Horseshoe Bridge Rd.

Chauga, South Carolina, US


4: Cobbs Bridge Rd. to N. Horseshoe Bridge Rd. (thru Chau Ram Park)

Usual Difficulty I-II(III) (for normal flows)
Length 7.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 20 fpm
Max Gradient 40 fpm


Photo of Kevin Miller by Will Reeves

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02177000 2.00 - 10.00 ft I-II(III) 01h06m 2.42 ft (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

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.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2003-10-14 00:55:46


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put-In SlideIIPutin
0.5Denny's PlungeIIPhoto
3.5Powerline RapidIIPhoto
4.4US 76 BridgeTakeout Access
4.6Park Entrance RapidII+Photo
4.7Pumphouse aka Slanted Crack (right line)IIIPhoto
4.7Pumphouse aka Slanted Crack (left line)IIIPhoto
4.8Playspots in ParkIIAccess Playspot
4.8Ramsey CascadesIV+Takeout Waterfall Photo
5.2left Crack of Suicide SlideIIIHazard Photo
5.2Suicide Slide, aka Can Opener, aka Boat BusterIIIHazard Photo
5.2The Left CrackPortage Hazard Photo
5.4Glass RapidII+Photo
7.0Horseshoe BridgeTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Put-In Slide (Class II)
Long sloping sliding rapid, visible from the bridge.

Denny's Plunge (Class II, Mile 0.5)

carlos bright 'denny's plunge'

carlos bright 'denny's plunge'
Photo of Carlos Bright by ron tolley taken 05/10/03 @ 2.34

8 foot slide with lines almost anywhere.

Powerline Rapid (Class II, Mile 3.5)

steve alexander 'powerline'

steve alexander 'powerline'
Photo of steve alexander by misti tolley taken 05/10/03 @ 2.34

Riverwide ledge. Trees can get stuck on river left.

US 76 Bridge
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)


Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller

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)


Photo of Kevin Miller by Will Reeves

The more photogenic line is on river right.

Pumphouse aka Slanted Crack (left line) (Class III, Mile 4.7)

Pumphouse left

Pumphouse left
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller

Run either right or left lines here.

Playspots in Park (Class II, Mile 4.8)
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 4.8)

Park and Huck?

Park and Huck?
Photo of Ramsey Creek by Will Reeves

Ramsey Cascades are a side trib. in the Park.

left Crack of Suicide Slide (Class III, Mile 5.2)

Far left at the Suicide Slide

Far left at the Suicide Slide
Photo of Kevin Miller by Will Reeves

Don't do the far left line unless you have enough water to fit in the bottom slot.

Suicide Slide, aka Can Opener, aka Boat Buster (Class III, Mile 5.2)

Suicide Slide

Suicide Slide
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller

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.

The Left Crack

Jammed in the crack

Jammed in the crack
Photo of Kevin Miller by Will Reeves

Most boats will not fit in the crack at low water.

Glass Rapid (Class II+, Mile 5.4)

Tom Stinson on 'Glass'

Tom Stinson on 'Glass'
Photo of tom stinson by ron tolley taken 05/10/03 @ 2.34

The final ledge in the park is an easy drop on river right.

Horseshoe Bridge
Takeout on the right.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 21 2018 (241 days ago)
Richard HopleyDetails
May 16, 2018: access at Cobb Bridge was totally denied at all four corners, by fences, barbed wire,
steep rhododendron hells, and "posted" signs. The upstream river-left and downstream river-right
corners looked most promising, but they were fenced off very obviously and explicitly against us,
since no-one but a boater or a fisherman would even think about climbing down there.
June 22 2011 (2766 days ago)
charper (152477)
Has anyone had any problems putting in on the river left upstream side of the bridge?
October 29 2006 (4463 days ago)
Adam HackenbergDetails
The foot bridge is open now.
May 29 2005 (4981 days ago)
Eddy HicksDetails
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.