Chattooga - Ellicott Rock - Bull Pen Bridge to Burrell's Ford

Chattooga, Georgia, US/North Carolina, US/South Carolina, US


Ellicott Rock - Bull Pen Bridge to Burrell's Ford (AKA Section 0)

Usual Difficulty III-V(V+) (for normal flows)
Avg. Gradient 67 fpm
Max Gradient 154 fpm

Go big or go home

Go big or go home
Photo of Shayne Day by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 taken 01/06/07 @ 1.5 (Burls)

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02176930 225 - 1500 cfs III-V(V+) 00h57m 1070 cfs (running)

River Description



The new rules include:

  1. Allow paddling to occur between Green Creek and Lick Log Creek (about 15 of the 21 miles of the Upper Chattooga),
  2. Allow paddling to occur between December 1 and April 30, on days when flows have hit 350 cfs or higher.
  3. Permit must be obtained at locations shown below.  Bull Pen Bridge or Burrell's Ford (GA side) are easiest for this reach.
  4. Leave paddling banned on the uppermost two miles, the lower four miles, and all tributaries all year. 
  5. It would also ban paddling from May 1 through November 30 on the entire Upper Chattooga, and on all days when flows have not hit 350 cfs or above.
  6. Impose no direct limits on other similar visitors.


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

River Description

This page was put together from information gained during the Forest Service Boater Trials as shown in this video and Trip Report.

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.

Emergency Locations

Bull Pen Bridge N35°00.938' W83°07.589'
Super Corkscrew N35°00.784' W83°06.872'
Ellicott Rock Trailhead N35°00.050' W83°06.515'
Burrell’s Ford Bridge N34°58.401' W83°06.933'


Reach Profile


Related Reaches

Chattooga Cliffs (AKA Section 00)

Ellicott Rock (AKA Section 0)

Rock Gorge (AKA Section 1)


Woody Debris

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 Information

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.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-04-19 14:27:05


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Bull Pen Rapid5.0Photo
0.4Entrance LedgesIII
0.8Super Corkscrew5.1Photo
1.4Last HurrahIII+Photo
5.4Burrell's Ford BridgeTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Bull Pen Rapid (Class 5.0)

Bull Pen Rapid

Bull Pen Rapid
Photo of Wade Vagias by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 taken 01/06/07 @ 1.5 (Burls)

Put in just upstream of the bridge to add the second hardest rapid of the day on your second stroke. This rapid is riddled with potholes and a proper boof is essential. A number of boaters have ended their runs at the bottom of this one.

Entrance Ledges (Class III, Mile 0.4)
Two closely spaced 5-6 ft ledges with high water hole potential

Super Corkscrew (Class 5.1, Mile 0.8)


Photo of Ken Holmes by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 taken 01/05/06 @ 1.5 (Burls)

Multi stage drop consisting of 6 ft ledge into approach, a steep pitch into a large hole that feeds an undercut wall, followed by a steep strong backender hole before another drop and a long shallow slide. Stay upright in this one Low Water

Last Hurrah (Class III+, Mile 1.4)

Last Hurrah

Last Hurrah
Photo of Wade Vagias/Todd Corey by Brian Jacobson В© 2007 taken 01/06/07 @ 1.5 (Burls)

Start left and cut right behind boulder, read and run, watch for undercut/hole combo at bottom of rapid

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
March 23 2015 (1399 days ago)
Brian and Maria JacobsonDetails
Comments promoting exclusive use by any user group for their benefit will be removed by the
administrator. Comments that are not identified with the commentators name will also be removed.
October 18 2014 (1555 days ago)
gary debacherDetails Link to my '93 account of wading Section 0 at extremely low flow. The
coverage down to Ellicotts Rock is good, but after that it is spotty because there is a trail right
by the river, down to Burrells Ford. Sorry the link is probably run into this text. Just copy the
link and go there.

Related Groups

Volunteer Opportunities / Activities


Associated Projects

  • Chattooga Headwaters (NC)
    The US Forest Service has banned boating on the upper 21 miles of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River.