Chattahoochee - 8 - Metro Columbus/Phenix City

Chattahoochee, Alabama, US/Georgia, US


8 - Metro Columbus/Phenix City (Columbus Whitewater Park)

Usual Difficulty II-III+(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 2 Miles

Group photo on island

Group photo on island
Photo by David Bazemore taken 11/11/13

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02341460 700 - 30000 cfs II-III+(IV) 00h38m 1080 cfs (running)
One unit release is around 800 cfs. Some technical spots but not pushy.

River Description

Columbus Georgia has created a fun whitewater park that offers something for many skill levels.  You can run the entire 2-mile course or, if you wish, simply park and play at the Wave Shaper island or CutBait Rapid.

Park and Play trips, attempt to visit (if skill level permits) when releases are at 3 or 4 units (surfing and hole work are possible @ 2 Units). You can surf The Good Wave or play in Work Out Hole above Wave Shaper Rapid.

River Running : Below 3 Units, river running with complete trips are usually the preferred activity. Also great opportunity for eddy work at Tie Snake Rapid at 1 or 2 units.


Please be aware levels go up and down daily and often become big water in couple of hours. Please be sure you are aware of the range for the day you are paddling and understand what conditions are created at those levels.


From the takeout, drive up 11th Street to 2nd Avenue and turn left. Drive approximately 1.9 miles to 35th Street and turn left. Drive one block to 1st Street and turn left. On the right is the Georgia Power sign. Turn on the blacktop road immediately after the Georgia Power sign. Follow this road a few hundred yards to the parking area. There are only 8 parking spots, so plan shuttle accordingly.

Please do not leave anything in your vehicle at the put-in. Advised that you leave all items in the vehicles remaining at the takeout parking garage for safekeeping.
This is a rather remote spot and break-ins do happen.

Update 2017-11-25 While parked at the put-in on a Saturday morning, someone broke the window on my truck and stole my wallet, which was fairly well hidden, and my girlfriend's expensive North Face parka. (The did not stealy a laptop or radar detectors.)


The takeout parking garage address is 1028 Front Ave., Columbus, GA 31901

The cost to use this parking garage is $2 and is the safest area to park. On the weekends and after 5pm during week, parking is free in the garage. Parking spots around the parking garage are time limited during week - so plan accordingly.
Please be considerate and do not use the reserved parking spaces - as of Oct 2015 they will ticket ($30) parking in designated spots.

Outfitters and Shuttle Service:

OUTSIDE WORLD COLUMBUS - 1025 Broadway, Columbus GA 706-322-4200  (706) 566-8821 Great people for a shuttle ride!

WhiteWater Express shuttle information & store. (706) 321-4720  1000 Bay Ave Columbus, GA 31901


Two blocks east from Wave Shaper Island is Broadway and multiple restuarants are available by foot from Waveshaper Island.

Misc Links:

A great write up about some of the play features in Columbus by some of the Jackson Team! See the YouTube video by Team Jackson

Dam Release info is released daily.

While on the link below, you must change the release selected from "Morgan Falls (Bull Sluice Lake)" to "North Highlands (Bibb Mill Pond)". This dam is directly upstream of put-in for this reach.


Release Translation

1 Unit = 1200cfs

2 Unit = 4500cfs

3 Unit = 8000cfs

4 Unit = 12000cfs 

Georgia Power Release


USGS for 14th Street - Columbus Georgia


Considerations for Water Level Interpretations

  • - The Georgia Power website is great and it appears that the "Turbine Release" info is realtime but this site has limitations. The CFS discharge only reports flows THROUGH the turbines of North Highland Dam, any water flowing over the dam is not included in this value. So be mindful that during flows that exceed 13.5K, water will be spilling over the dam and this CFS value is only to determine turbine release not river flow. Though on the average, Georgia Power wants all the water through the turbine so this CFS value is usually the entire flow of the river.
  • - The USGS page for this reach includes the entire flow of the river in its reporting and updates once an hour at about 15 minutes after the top of the hour.

Permit Information

Permit not required. Local ordinances require life jackets while in the water and this is enforced.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-11-25 23:30:23


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.1Ambush RapidIIPutin Access Playspot Photo
0.680 KII+
1.1Stumpy HoleII+Access Playspot Photo
1.5Tie Snake RapidIIIWaterfall Photo
1.7Monkey WrenchIIPlayspot
1.8Work Out HoleIIPlayspot Photo
1.9Wave Shaper RapidIIIPutin Takeout Access Playspot Photo
1.9Cut Bait RapidIVPutin Takeout Access Hazard Playspot Photo
2.0The Good WaveIIIPutin Takeout Access Playspot Photo
2.0Great WaveN/APutin Takeout Access Playspot
2.1RehabN/ATakeout Access Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Ambush Rapid (Class II, Mile 0.1)

Ambush Rapid

Ambush Rapid
Photo by David Bazemore taken 11/12/13

There is a wall of rock a couple hundred feet after the rapid that requires a quick right line folllowed by a left line. At lower release levels this is an easy section.  At higher levels the water has boils and moves much faster.  This picture was taken during 1 unit of flow.


80 K (Class II+, Mile 0.6)

A small feature that has one line that drops in a hole.  The hole can be strong at certain levels.  Run the left side to avoid the hole if you feel the need.

Stumpy Hole (Class II+, Mile 1.1)

Mason Hargrove learning to Fly

Mason Hargrove learning to Fly
Photo of Mason Hargrove by Matt Hargrove taken 10/04/15 @ 9000 cfs

A pourover hole on near Georgia riverbank - the hole is in at approx 9000cfs. A good spot for loops.

Tie Snake Rapid (Class III, Mile 1.5)

Tie-Snake rapid

Tie-Snake rapid
Photo by David Bazemore taken 11/12/13 @ 4000 cfs

Since the Winter of late 2015/early 2016, Tie Snake has changed.

There is now a boulder that poses a pin/piton potential on the old boof line.  It was brought there from really high waters (talking 60,000 cfs for a period of time a little over a year ago).  The hole that used to be at the bottom no longer exists as the same high waters blew it out.

At 4,000-5,000 cfs, it's more like a wave train.

At lower flows is when it is technical and somewhat creeky.  That is when the easiest line now is to punch the wave at the top and stay far right after wards.  There are plenty of eddy hopping options too.  Biggest issue is the shallow boulder that sits above the wave/hole in the middle of the rapid.  If you are upside down on it, it has been known to split foreheads and break paddles.


Monkey Wrench (Class II, Mile 1.7)

At 9000 or better there is an amazing playspot river right, but must be caught on the fly, no eddie access. A quick recovery is essential for eddie recovery. A little shallow on surfers right - be mindful of aerial tricks.

Work Out Hole (Class II, Mile 1.8)

Work Out Hole

Work Out Hole
Photo of Clay by David Bazemore taken 11/18/13

A great spot to play at various levels at two to three units.  A quick recovery is needed to keep from washing down into Wave Shaper Rapid.  This hole is immediately above the Wave Shaper Rapid.

Wave Shaper Rapid (Class III, Mile 1.9)

Wave Shaper Rapid

Wave Shaper Rapid
Photo by David Bazemore taken 11/14/13

This picture was taken at 9000 cfs.  At this level it is a fast moving feature with lots of action below the rapid.  Current is very strong under the surface.  You are led directly to The Good Wave below this rapid.

Cut Bait Rapid (Class IV, Mile 1.9)

Cut bait hole

Cut bait hole
Photo by David Bazemore taken 11/14/13

At low flows this section is shallow but runnable.  Rolls can lead to injury during low flow.

The Good Wave (Class III, Mile 2.0)

Good Wave

Good Wave
Photo by David Bazemore taken 11/14/13 @ 4000 cfs

This feature exists at every flow level.  As levels rise it becomes a tremendous wave.  At flows above 8000 this becomes a class 3 wave.  If the pool behind the wave is high and the flow is at least 8k there is marginal eddy service. At 13K there is reliable eddy service.

Great Wave (Class N/A, Mile 2.0)

Directly downstream of  Good Wave. A nice wave to work on surfing. At 2 units the shelf rock that forms rapid is close to surface so keep that boat upright. This wave tends to wash out after an hour or so of 3 or 4 unit release as the pool fills in.

Rehab (Class N/A, Mile 2.1)


Photo by David Bazemore taken 11/18/13

Rehab is the name given to the swim one makes to the steps downstream during higher flows.  Attainment upstream during big releases is incredibly challenging.  The walk back to the island gives you time to reflect on why you missed your roll.

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