Difficulty II(III)
Length 0.2 Miles
Flow Range 500 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 23 minutes ago 1440 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 02/19/2020 5:40 pm

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.

Rapid Descriptions


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8 years ago

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.

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Chris Robinson
8 years ago

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

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Andrew Henleben
9 years ago

is there anywhere to park near here?

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Chris Robinson
11 years ago

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)

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Marc DiBiase
13 years ago

Can some one tell me an easier way to get to the wave email me at subsonicsteak3@bellsouth.net

Gage Descriptions

The wave is known to wash out at a pretty low water level. Generally, the lower the river, the better the play.

The USGS gauge is a bit downstream of Atlanta Road, and gets the flow of Nancy Creek and some other side streams.

A good visual gauge is at the Hwy 41 bridge upstream, at the metro hooch take-out. If you see rocks in the riverbed then the wave is happening. If all the rocks are covered the wave is generally washed out, but the metro is at a good level.

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.

No Accident Reports




article main photo

Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, dies

Charlie Walbridge

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!


Paul Martzen


Matt Muir


Craig Irwin


Chris Gorman


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1201288 02/19/20 Paul Martzen changed photo & coordinates
1193160 02/19/20 n/a n/a
1204160 02/19/20 Craig Irwin 2015
1205105 02/19/20 Chris Gorman Swap put-in / take-out locations (take-out is upstream of put-in)
1213565 02/19/20 Chris Gorman updated image position