Ocmulgee, Georgia, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II(III) (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||7 fpm|
|Max Gradient||28 fpm|
|OCMULGEE RIVER NEAR JACKSON, GA|
|usgs-02210500||800 - 5000 cfs||I-II(III)||01h17m||1240 cfs (running)|
River corridor is historically called the Seven Islands area.
Dam controlled run. Large river. The river corridor is very pleasing...completely forested with no streamside development. River left is a patchwork of National Forest and private land. The first half of the run is flat; consider it price of admission. The gradient picks up at mile 3 as islands become more prevalent. Smiths Shoals, arranged sporadically throughout the mile between Giles Ferry and the river left forest service road access, provide good surfing and play at flows above 2000cfs. Following another half mile of flats, you have a choice to make at mile 4.5, where 40 Acre Island divides the river for an entire mile. On the right side, the main channel takes 90% of the stream over the only III, a single large long stairstep ledge at Lamar's Mill. Usual portage is on river right.
The channel left of 40 Acre Island hides an exquisitely pretty creek run in which 15 or 20' of gradient is allocated throughout one mile of several interesting II/II+ drops. It is not an easier or safer alternative to the main channel due to deadfalls and lack of portage options.
A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to Georgia, Menasha Ridge Press, 2005
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Georgia Power Put In||I|
|4.0||New Put In||I|
|4.5||River Right Ledge||II|
|5.0||Lamar Mill Shoals||III|
|5.8||Wise Creek Takeout||II|
Just off Highway 16 on the road on river right is the Georgia Power park that has the public boat ramp. It is approximately 1/4 mile below the dam
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has added a new put in near the end of the flatwater and beginning of the whitewater section
At this spot the river has several islands in it and the channel on the right has a nice ledge that you can surf, ferry, catch eddies and is a spot to do stern squirts. Be careful at minimum flow as there are some shallowish rocks in there. Strainers like to end up on river right so be cautious
This is the main event for the run. As you approach it you will notice the horizon line across the river. The far left line is a series of stairstep style ledges. Just to the left of the island there is a decent drop that has a couple of chutes below it at lower water and at higher water this becomes one continuous rapid. It is about 100 yards long. The right side of the island has a dam that is not a good choice to run. After this rapid be wary of strainers and make sure to look for the remains of the mill on river right.
At Nelson's Island drop over the ledge and enjoy some surfing. There is a very nice surf wave that develops between 1000 and 2000 cfs. Be mindful of the local residents who like to swim here. The river left bank has some sharp concrete blocks under water so if you go end up out of your boat swim to the island. This is the confluence of Wise Creek and the Ocmulgee and is the take out of this section.