Chattahoochee - 3 - Upper Hooch - GA Route 115 to Duncan Bridge Road

Chattahoochee, Georgia, US


3 - Upper Hooch - GA Route 115 to Duncan Bridge Road (Upper Hooch)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 25 fpm

Third Ledge, Upper Hooch

Third Ledge, Upper Hooch
Photo of Will Reeves and Clint Rienhart by Will Reeves

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02331000 1.50 - 5.00 ft II-III 01h21m 1.69 ft (running)

River Description


The Upper Hooch is a classic beginner canoeing and kayaking stream. Its relatively short, has an easy shuttle, decent scenery and fun rapids. It can be run at just about all levels from ridiculously scrapy to screaming high flood stage, depending on the boaters skills of course. At low flows its a class two stream. Around 3-4 feet on the Leaf Gage its easy Class III. Above that its class 3/4 with some huge holes.

Once upon a time during the winter of '96-97 a group of us ran the Upper Hooch at 13 feet (about 14,500 cfs) on the Cornelia Gage. Lots of moving strainers. Two massive holes in First Island rapid that were of equal size to the top holes in Insignificant on the Gauley. The rock outcrop on the right at second ledge was a giant pourover. Third ledge was washed out. We ran it twice before the Hall and White County rescue squads closed down the river. Probably a good thing--three other groups put on and hiked/swam off. Lots of canoes wrapped around trees that day.

Flow Info: (NOTE - we have begun using the Leaf Gage rather than the Cornelia gage on this page as of 2/15/15 because it better reflects the flow experinced on this reach)

For the Leaf Gage, consider the following advice:

  • <1.5 = Very Low
  • 1.5-2 = Low but runnable
  • 2-3 = Good for a wide variety of paddlers (II-II+), surfing begins to get good.
  • 3-4 = Class III whitewater, good surfing, good flow range
  • >4 = High water, additional skill required (III/IV), not good for beginners. 

Parking Info: The put-in and take-out is Georgia State Park land, and requires either a daily pass ($5) or an annual pass.
Wildwood Outfitters has an outpost at the take-out and will shuttle you and your boat to the put-in for $7. The outpost is usually closed during the winter, late October to early March.

From Atlanta, go north on I-85 16 miles to I-985. Continue 42 miles up I-985. Then take a left at Duncan Bridge Road, GA 384 at the light. The take-out is about 4 miles down Duncan Bridge Rd.

To get to the put-in, continue west on Duncan Bridge Rd, take a right on GA 254, and another right on GA 115. The put-in will be the first stream you come to. Parking is very limited at the put-in.
Whitewater Home Companion Vol. 1, William Nealy
Appalachian Whitewater : The Southern States

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-07-03 16:00:32


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.0Buck Island ShoalsII+Playspot
1.2Canoe Eating RockII+Hazard Photo
1.5First LedgeII+Hazard Photo
1.6Second LedgeII+Photo
1.8Third LedgeII+Playspot Photo
2.1False HorseshoeII
2.5HorseshoeII+Playspot Photo
3.0Shoals below horseshoeII+
4.1One more for the road.II+

Rapid Descriptions

Buck Island Shoals (Class II+, Mile 1.0)

Multiple routes on both sides of the island. Big holes develop on the right side of the island at high water. At lower flows most people run the narrow channel on the left of the island.

Canoe Eating Rock (Class II+, Mile 1.2)

Lunch Beach Wave

Lunch Beach Wave
Photo by Brad Roberts taken 04/15/02 @ 2000 cfs

Rock on river right above the Lunch Beach. Good surf wave with a huge eddy on the bottom right.

First Ledge (Class II+, Mile 1.5)

First Ledge- Chattohoochee

First Ledge- Chattohoochee
Photo of Doug Fletcher by Chris Gorman taken Early December 02 @ ~2000 cfs

At flows above 2500 cfs or over about 4 feet a dangerous low head dam type hole forms on the right side of this rapid. This one is easy to see coming due to the long pool above it and the large rock outcrop on river right. Run left or right at most water levels.

Second Ledge (Class II+, Mile 1.6)

Second Ledge

Second Ledge
Photo of Barbara Reeves by Amanda Loftis taken 05/04/06 @ 1.15

Generally run on river left.

Third Ledge (Class II+, Mile 1.8)

Third Ledge

Third Ledge
Photo of Jimmy Lowe ( by Greg Simpson taken June 04 @ 750

Fun, shallow side surfing hole.

Washboard (Class II+, Mile 1.9)

Another long wide shoal rapid. At higher flows there is great surfing everywhere in this one!

False Horseshoe (Class II, Mile 2.1)

A long riverwide shoal, with a sandy beach at the bottom on river left. Lots of fun small waves and holes thru the shoals.

Horseshoe (Class II+, Mile 2.5)

Horseshoe @ 2000 cfs

Horseshoe @ 2000 cfs
Photo of Brad Roberts taken 03/15/03 @ 2000 cfs

Run left to right. Big pool at the bottom.

Shoals below horseshoe (Class II+, Mile 3.0)

long fun shoal rapids with some good surfing opportunities.

One more for the road. (Class II+, Mile 4.1)

Just downstream of the takeout, below the bridge, is one last ledge. There are a series of holes on the right, and a wave on the left. At low flows there is an island in the middle. Play your brains out, then paddle back up the 100 yards to the take-out.

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