Chattooga, Georgia, US/North Carolina, US/South Carolina, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-V(V+) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||67 fpm|
|Max Gradient||154 fpm|
|CHATTOOGA RIVER AT BURRELLS FORD, NR PINE MTN, GA|
|usgs-02176930||225 - 1500 cfs||III-V(V+)||01h06m||151 cfs (too low)|
|Due to an arbitrary decision by the Forest Service, the river is not boatable unless the river has previously exceeded 350 cfs the same day.|
The new rules include:
These severe restrictions are the only of their kind in the entire Unites States, and are intended to benefit anglers who pursue heavily stocked non-native trout. The artificial fishery created by the USFS-sanctioned stocking has significant impacts including hatchery pollution, backcountry helicopter disturbances, near elimination of native brook trout, user created angling trails, and the elimination of nature based paddling from the upper Chattooga River. Ironically, the USFS decision actually harms anglers across the Country by creating potential competition for wild rivers that are currently shared by all forms of backcountry recreationists, and by degrading the rights of anglers to fish from a boat.
During a press briefing, the acting Sumter Forest Supervisor, Monica Schwalbach, stated that the US Forest Service has determined that boating on the upper Chattooga -- even in unlimited numbers -- "would have no impact on the resource."
AW has been working for a decade to bring responsible, nationally consistent river management to the Chattooga, and this work continues today.
For more information about American Whitewater's efforts to remove this boating ban go to The Chattooga Project page
The five mile long Ellicott Rock reach starts with a Class V drop at Bull Pen Bridge that defines the end of the Chattooga Cliffs reach and the beginning of the Ellicott Rock reach. The two or so miles immediately below Bull Pen Bridge to Ellicott Rock are read-and-run, Class IV, with a series of ledge drops and boulder-filled rapids. Approximately 2 miles into the run is Super Corkscrew, the only other Class V rapid on the run. The rapid is a long series of off-set ledge drops with increasingly powerful hydraulics and a shallow, short run out. The rapids below Super Corkscrew extending down to Ellicott Rock are similar to those above Super Corkscrew; the rapids are a combination of Class III-IV ledges and boulder fields. The run requires about 2 hours assuming you move quickly through the last three miles of Class II shoals above Burrell's Ford. (adapted from FS Expert Panel Report)
This section does not have the unique scenery found on the Chattooga Cliffs or Rock Gorge reaches in that the views are limited due to the narrowness of the riverbed, however the whitewater is exceptional for the first two miles. It is noteworthy in that it passes through Ellicott Wilderness and has few trails paralleling the river allowing boaters to enjoy the run with little chance of encounters until you reach the Ellicotts Rock trail.
|Bull Pen Bridge||N35°00.938'||W83°07.589'|
|Ellicott Rock Trailhead||N35°00.050'||W83°06.515'|
|Burrell’s Ford Bridge||N34°58.401'||W83°06.933'|
This section of the Chattooga has special concerns about large woody debris for fish habitat. Please respect the environment and leave wood as you find it, even if it adds a portage. The Chattooga has a remarkable ability to clean itself and the rapid may be ready next time.
For more information about woody debris in rivers go to Large Woody Debris and Stream Ecology
Permit must be obtained at Green Creek Trail, County Line Trail, or Bull Pen Bridge in NC, Burrell’s Ford Rd (GA side of the river), Warwoman Campground (FR 86) and Overflow Creek in GA, or Hwy 28 boat landing, Low Water Bridge, Earl’s Ford, Sandy Ford, Fall Creek, Thrift’s Ferry, Hwy 76 / Bull Sluice lot, and Woodall Shoals in SC.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Bull Pen Rapid||5.0|
|5.4||Burrell's Ford Bridge|