Oconee - At Milledgeville

Oconee, Georgia, US


At Milledgeville (Lower Oconee)

Usual Difficulty II+(III) (for normal flows)
Length 3.86 Miles

Play Spot at Milledgeville

Play Spot at Milledgeville
Photo of Travis Manuel by Chris Jackson @ low

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02223000 300 - 10000 cfs II+(III) 01h18m 16800 cfs (too high)

River Description

The Oconee at Milledgeville offers many interesting attractions for boaters as well as those looking for some fun on a hot day.


You can drive directly to Sinclair Damn where you can fish or swim below the damn.  There is a good rope swing about a quarter of a mile down the dirt put-in road. 


The spill way of Sinclair Damn creates a super impressive monster wave when it is flowing.  The spill way only empties during periods of a lot of rain up north of Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair.  If you see any flooding in Milledgeville it is always a good idea to go check out the damn just to enjoy the massive way from a distance. I don't believe the spill way is runnable, it is impressive though.


You can also put-in below the damn for a float down to the Hwy 49 bridge take-out.


The run is almost 4 miles and takes a considerable amount of time, depending on the water level.


After about 3.4 miles down the river, you will come to a major split.  There will be three distinct channels.  The left channel (which will be strait ahead) can be spotted by a small horizon line.  This is a good play spot at medium to high flows (2500 and up).  If you take the middle or right at the split, you will soon come upon the old powerhouse.  Just to the left of the powerhouse is the rapid. At 3500cfs or more there is a surfable wave in the middle channel.


The takeout is just down stream of the powerhouse after the two channels meet back together.  You will go under the Hwy49 bridge and takeout at the boat ramp on the river right.


The boat ramp area has been worked on for the past year and includes good parking, a greenway, and access to the river.


The powerhouse, and fall line rapids can also be park and play spots. The takeout area is a good place to just spend some time in your boat. You can put in at the boat ramp and paddle up to the powerhouse or the fall line rapids.  It is a great place to practice fairis and rolls in some current.

Overall, this spot is perfect for a little after work (or class) fun.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-03-28 13:24:32

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0The Power HouseIIIHazard Playspot Photo
0.0Upper DropsII+Playspot

Rapid Descriptions

The Power House (Class III)

at low water

at low water
Photo of Travis Manuel by Chris Jackson @ low

This is the main drop. The best line is just right of center. There is a large broken down building on the river right. Stay left of the building, but look out for the pylon a few feet to the left of the powerhouse. Look out for logs in the wave. A really good surfable wave is created at high water.

Upper Drops (Class II+)
Upstream on the river left fork of this part of the Oconee, there is another drop. There are a few different drops. The center is the best. At higher levels it creates a good play wave. At low levels it is almost unrunable.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 30 2008 (3878 days ago)
x (1)
I went out to the Oconee two days ago as the dam has been releasing some water (Peak flow @ 3500).
At this level, in the area above the powerhouse where the channel splits in three places, a very
nice surfable wave forms in the middle channel. As usual with this river, be careful if you swim as
the rapid is somewhat shallow and rocky. Thankfully, I have seen it at low water and can guarantee
there is no rebar.
July 10 2006 (4538 days ago)
Will WagnerDetails
For a river runner this section of the Oconee also provides a good paddle. If you head north on
North Jefferson St. leaving Milledgeville you will soon come to a 4-way stop at Log Cabin
Rd./Sinclair Dam Rd. Take a right headed east onto Sinclar Dam Rd. and this will take you past the
country club to the Dam at the southern tip of Lake Sinclair. This is the put in where the Oconee
River begins from the lake. Here you will bypass Furman Shoals which is a rock outcrop blown up in
order to build the dam. It is a marshy area most of the time but when big water is released it
quickly becomes unrunable class VI whitewater. Your paddle begins directly around it and around
Carter Island where you join the main body of the river.
This paddle is flatwater until you reach the rapids at the highway 22 bridge other than a mild
class I turbulence called Turtle Shoals about a mile past the put in.
It is roughly a 3.5 mi float until you begin to approach the highway 22 rapids. You warning sign is
the gaging station which is a concrete tower shooting a stream into the river, you have about a 100
yards to make your decesion.
Here you may choose to run river right around Buzzard Island. This will take you to "Grist
Mill Rapid" labeled here as "Powerhouse Rapid." This is my favorite way to go and
the only way to go at low water. Like instructed here the line is just right of center and just
left of the mill. At higher water this creates a nice climbing wave. You can collect in a eddie
pool just upstream of the mill before running the rapid and recollect in the eddie behind the mill
to play.
If the river is high enough you may decide to run the upper drops on the left fork of the river. At
high water this is where the river naturally takes you. It's a good idea to land your boat onto the
small island in the middle of the river to scout out your options from there. You may walk out onto
it into the eddie below and view the rapids from downstream. Far river right where most of the
current goes is a class II called "Tombstone Rapid." This is a good run with no specific
line as long as you avoid the "Tombstone" pin rocks.
The center rapid called "Baldwin's Dip" is a more enjoyable class II run while the line
is slightly right of center, then you just bump over the main wave and ride the wave train
The far river left rapid seperated from the other two called "Oconee Falls" is only
runable at real high water and just tumbles over small rocks. After running any of these three
upper drops you can ferry down to "Grist Mills Rapid" and play. If you swim in any of
these three rapids you will get beat up. I am not sure of any rebar, but these rocks have gravel
If the water is low the upper drops do not exist and you will have to portage the shoals below them
to the current that comes out of the mill. You can view some fish activity in the pools in the
From here you can take out at the highway 22 bridge or paddle another 4 miles of flatwater to
complete the Milledgeville Section of the Oconee. You can camp out at low water on sand bars to
make an overnight trip, but beware of the rising water or sleep in you boat. There are also some
rock outcrops on the river bank below the only houses on the the river at Pebble Hill. The take out
will be a concrete boat ramp on the right. To get there by road you go South on Hwy 112(Vinson HWY)
out of Milledgeville and when you see the prison you take a left down the road before it(there is a
brown boat ramp sign.)
January 29 2006 (4700 days ago)
davy shawDetails
This area is a grate place to learn to paddle at higher water there is a nice surf wave up stream
that opens up. What we who paddle this area call this the powerhouse because this is an old
powerhouse that has a nice area to play at higher water. As long as the waters up there are several
waves that open up. The wave at river right is probably the best on at the powerhouse. The upper
area has a good wave that can be surfed at the right water level when the water is at the yellow
line on the powerhouse.

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