Tallulah - 4 - Middle - Old Hwy 441 to Tallulah Falls Lake


Tallulah, Georgia, US

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4 - Middle - Old Hwy 441 to Tallulah Falls Lake (Mathis By-Pass)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles

Middle Tallulah


Middle Tallulah
Photo of Kevin Miller by Will Reeves

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
TALLULAH R AT TERRORA PWRHSE, NR TALLULAH FALLS,GA
usgs-02181350 250 - 1000 cfs II-III 01h12m 122 cfs (too low)


River Description

On January 20th, 2002 a group of 11 boaters from the Atlanta Whitewater Club and the Georgia Canoe Association paddled a seldom run strech of the Tallulah river upstream of North Georgia's now famous Tallulah Gorge. Like the Gorge, this stretch is typically dewatered by an upstream dam and diversion tunnel. Only when strong rains bring up a large tributary is this section runnable.

In the fall of 2001 a group of Georgia boaters hiked the bypass reach, known as the Mathis Reach, with American Whitewater staff and volunteers. The group decided that with water, the section had potential as a beginner/intermediate paddling resource. Later that evening, American Whitewater met with Georgia Power and Georgia DNR and discussed the possibility of conducting a flow study on the Mathis Reach as part of the mandated review process for the Tallulah hydro license. Georgia power stated that there was no physical structure in the dam to provide releases so a flow study was impossible. We were still interested in studying the reach, since releases structures can be added at dams through relicensing.

It was decided that the most cost-effective and reasonable way to proceed was to offer to try to do a feasibility study with the limited natural flow from a tributary. It was agreed, and we contacted the boaters from the hike requesting that they attempt a descent this winter and document their experience with photos and a written report. On January 20th, after a heavy rain, they followed through on their promise.

Their descent was a low water one, but gave them an idea of what the run is like. They described the first couple miles, from the dam to the first 441 bridge as "completely flat, and probably not worth doing, even with alot of water." The next section, between the two 441 bridges, was more fun with a couple of small Class II slides and shoals and a decent surfing wave. Between the second 441 bridge and the lake was a 1/2 mile section of Class III whitewater that provided some enjoyable challenge for the group.

The final recommendations from the group will be integrated with the rest of the information that we have on the Mathis Reach and the Tallulah license. Based on this information, American Whitewater will decide how to address the dewatering of the Mathis Reach and if it is feasible and reasonable to request releases in this reach.

We would like to extend a big thank you to all of the grassroots feasibility study participants:

todd shollenberger (organizer extraordinaire)
charlotte shollenberger
mike farrell
rob murphy
aimee murphy
alison lowry
john hudgens - oc-1
debra berry - oc-1
dustin smith
tom bishop
and Hayes.

Directions: This run is completely roadside, along what is called "Old 441" near the Tallulah Gorge. Driving north on US 441, cross the dam and look for a left across from the entrance to the Interpretative Center. Drive along this road and put in wherever you please, noting that the most action on this run occurs toward the very end of this run nearing the lake. Be wary around the RV park, though. The owner is NOT very supportive of whitewater boating on this reach.
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2005-01-11 22:01:35

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
3.9first ledgeIIIAccess Photo
3.9third ledgeIIIPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

first ledge (Class III, Mile 3.9)

Ledges on the Middle Tallulah

Ledges on the Middle Tallulah
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller taken 01/09/05

The first ledge gives you an idea of what the rest of the run will be like. If it is low the other drops will be low. If you get chundered in a hole the rest of the run will be big.

third ledge (Class III, Mile 3.9)

Third step

Third step
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller

The third ledge is the only true vertical drop.


User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 2 2009 (3155 days ago)
x (1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKDLlJs00TI&feature=related
September 21 2009 (3166 days ago)
x (1)
Ran it today when Chattooga was over 6 feet, Upper Tallulah was over 4000cfs, Tallulah gorge was
over 2000, it was huge class 4+ if not 5 above below the bridge above the Lake. The Dam right
before lake is dangerous we ran it center and far right. Far right has Metal Sticking up that
punctured boat be careful scout before doing it at high water.
August 1 2009 (3217 days ago)
x (1)
So, seven years later, what became of the study and its recommendations? This looks like a cool
stream, it's close and I'd like to run it.


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