Chattahoochee - 7 - The Wave - Upstream of Atlanta Road

Chattahoochee, Georgia, US


7 - The Wave - Upstream of Atlanta Road

Usual Difficulty II(III) (for normal flows)
Length 0.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 8 fpm

Play wave

Play wave
Photo of Tim at wave by Carson T taken 09/24/09

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02336490 500 - 2000 cfs II(III) 01h00m 8490 cfs (too high)

River Description

As of 2015, the old wave is gone and not surfable at 1000cfs.

Maybe at higher flows a wave will form.   See photos here.  
However, there is access in the new Standing Peachtree Park (the old waterworks plant).  It involves a hike, but it beats using S Atlanta Rd as an access point from a safety standpoint.


The Wave is a park-and-play spot in metro Atlanta. Also a slalom training area. Usually slalom gates hung over the rapid.

Located at the Atlanta water works intake.
Immediately upstream of both the Cobb and Fulton county sewage treatment plants. A breeze to the southeast helps keep the smell to a reasonable level.
How Polluted is the River?? It runs adjacent to a Power Plant area, Industrial parks and railyards. The Chattahoochee Trail Park is a nice buffer, Atlanta needs more creek and river buffer space.  Bacteria, pathogens and many other neat things are in Peachtree Creek and other urban Atlanta creeks.

We need to foster a community awareness of the beauty and gifts that our local watersheds represent.

How to get there:
From the Atlanta Road exit on I-285 North, the wave is about 4 miles south, toward Atlanta, down Atlanta Road. When you see and smell the sewage treatment plants, you are really close. Continue across the river. Just upstream of the Atlanta Road bridge is where the water works intake is, and the small dam that makes the wave.

As of 2008, the parking area on Atlanta Road was taken out for bridge construction.

What most people did before the road widening is park on the large pull-out on the East or Fulton County side of the bridge where Atlanta Road crosses the river.
There is a Rails to Trails bike path that follows the river on the Fulton County side. Walk down the path beside the Atlanta Road Bridge to the paved bike path and carry your boat upstream. Try to ignore the big pipes under the path that say "Outflow".
Just past the Railroad Trestle the Bike path veers to the right. There will be a dirt fisherman trail that veers off to the left, going down to the 'beach' where Nancy Creek enters the Chattahoochee. From there its about a 100 foot flatwater paddle up to the playspot.

Warning 1: There have been many car break ins at the Atlanta Road parking area.
Warning 2: The water quality is off-the-scale polluted.

Another parking option is on Ridgewood Road near where it crosses Nancy Creek. From there paddle down Nancy Creek to the Hooch, and the Wave will be just upstream. Nancy Creek drains all of the nasty stuff in downtown Atlanta. The mud on the banks is deep, sticky, and unnaturally nasty.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-07-21 14:29:46


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 20 2012 (2397 days ago)
x (1)
Just wanted to let the skeptics (like me) know that this hole is actually quite nice and the water
is not bad at all (and I'm squeamish at nasty water). It was running right around 1000 cfs when we
were there last week and the hole was perfect. We parked just outside the construction entrance on
S. Atlanta and walked down adjacent to the construction boundary and paddled upstream. There is a
bum camp in the woods by the bridge so I wouldn't recommend leaving anything valuable in your car.
All in all this is a great little spot for us Atlantans to get some play after work... This is a
regular spot of mine and I am very familiar with the water quality (and an Upper Chattahoochee
Riverkeeper member). The water quality at the wave is the same as the rest of the river upstream
until you get to Morgan Falls...quite nice for an urban river almost never any serious problems.
There are, however, serious issues about a half mile downstream where the treatment plants
discharge ... but there is nothing to paddle there.
October 11 2011 (2619 days ago)
chriscrob (150671)
You can park at the liquor store past the bridge (if you're coming from 285) and walk back. It's
really not that far to walk and your playboat shouldn't weigh that much. I talked to the owner---he
seemed fine with the parking lot being used for paddling. He recommended parking in the spots
facing the road; he has video surveillance on that section of the parking lot and it will be out of
the way of his customers. I normally just walk straight to the river and seal launch off one of the
rocks under the bridge. It makes for more upstream paddling but I would rather be paddling than
walking and you miss the mud that way. The water isn't moving fast at levels when this is running
anyway. lemme know if you want to go play sometime chris c rob AT gmail DOT com
August 10 2011 (2681 days ago)
ahenleben (153404)
is there anywhere to park near here?
August 31 2009 (3390 days ago)
chriscrob (150671)
I visited the wave @ 8400 on the wave gauge. Nothing doing...except some awesome class III ish
stuff including a nice 4-5 foot play wave on the adjacent Nancy Creek. There wasn't a great eddy
but you could pull yourself up by the trees on the left or hike up river left (maybe river right
too) and catch it on the fly. Nancy creek doesn't have an AW page that I can find but if you're
looking for a wave when the wave is gone this may be a good place to look. I think the approximate
level for nancy creek can be figured out by subtracting the level for the metro hooch from the
level below the wave. Using this figure there was 4350 cfs coming through nancy creek (and any
other side streams between the Metro hooch gauge and the wave gauge)
September 14 2008 (3741 days ago)
The atlanta road parking area is now gone due to the bridge being widened to 4 lanes. At this point
i'm not sure if there is a good way to access this stretch of river.
November 28 2006 (4397 days ago)
Marc DiBiaseDetails
Can some one tell me an easier way to get to the wave email me at

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