Chattahoochee, Alabama, US/Georgia, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III+(IV) (for normal flows)|
|CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER AT 14TH ST, AT COLUMBUS, GA|
|usgs-02341460||700 - 30000 cfs||II-III+(IV)||00h52m||8260 cfs (running)|
|3 Unit release is approximately 8000 CFS, but can go as high as about 9500 CFS.|
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.
DIRECTIONS TO THE PUT-IN
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
Two blocks east from Wave Shaper Island is Broadway and multiple restuarants are available by foot from Waveshaper Island.
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.
Considerations for Water Level Interpretations
Permit not required. Local ordinances require life jackets while in the water and this is enforced.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.5||Tie Snake Rapid||III|
|1.8||Work Out Hole||II|
|1.9||Wave Shaper Rapid||III|
|1.9||Cut Bait Rapid||IV|
|2.0||The Good Wave||III|
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.
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.
A pourover hole on near Georgia riverbank - the hole is in at approx 9000cfs. A good spot for loops.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At low flows this section is shallow but runnable. Rolls can lead to injury during low flow.
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.
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 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.