Chattahoochee - 6 - Metro Hooch - Powers Ferry to West Pallisades/Paces Mill

Chattahoochee, Georgia, US


6 - Metro Hooch - Powers Ferry to West Pallisades/Paces Mill (Metro Hooch)

Usual Difficulty I-II+(III) (for normal flows)
Length 3.5 Miles

Surfing on the Metro Hooch at low water

Surfing on the Metro Hooch at low water
Photo of Akira Fujino by Will Reeves taken 09/14/12 @ low runnable level

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02336000 850 - 20000 cfs I-II+(III) 00h47m 944 cfs (running)

River Description


Gauge Description:

Optimal Levels: 2500 cfs and up.

Optimal Playboating Levels: 5,500 to 7,500 CFS
At the upper end of this range the eddies disappear but the holes get deeper, at the lower end of this range, some of the holes get shallow but the eddies are good.

The cement and wood stairs in the main channel at the put-in are a good gauge. If all the stairs are out of the water the river can be considered low. This usually corresponds to about 900 cfs. 

If you see exposed dirt below the stairs, then the river is too low. 

At 2000 cfs the bottom cement step is underwater. This would be a low, but not scrapy level. Rafts would not be getting hung up on rocks at this level.

3 stairs underwater is about optimal. This is about 3500 cfs. At this level there is some good surfing to be found. 

At 5000 cfs all the rocks in the river are underwater. Lots of good sidesurfing holes. Short boats can get vertical. The only eddies are in the backwash of holes.

If the takeout parking lot is underwater, then consider the river high. This occurs around 12,000 cfs. 

Morgan Falls Dam is the primary feeder for this stretch. Release info for Morgan Falls Dam: 404-329-1455.   When Morgan Falls is releasing the water can get very cold, very quickly.   Don't be suprised if the river becomes blanketed in a thick fog.

Buford Dam at Lake Lanier is 40 or so miles upstream. Normal releases from Buford do not directly affect paddling levels on this section; CONTINUAL releases do.

Buford Dam info number: 770-945-1466 


At the river left put-in you have two options. Closest to the parking lot is a channel with some flatwater slalom gates. A variety of olympic calibre paddlers have practiced at these gates. The drain at the lower end of the channel is under the interstate bridge and sometimes gets temporarily jammed up with wood.   As of summer 2008 this channel is impassable.

On the other side of Powers Island is the main channel of the Hooch. There is usually a mild current here which is good for warmup.

Just below the put-in is the Interstate 285 bridge over the river. On river right there is a very small wave hole under the bridge which is a good place for novices to practice surfing. After this is a long stretch of flatwater.

Next up is a riverwide series of small ledges. At flows over 1500 cfs the best surfing is on river left. Most of the flow goes far right through a class II chute with good eddies on both sides.

A few hundred yards beyond, the second set of ledges is rocky with a fast chute down the middle and a number of good eddies to the sides. Known locally as the "Devil's Racecourse", this is a very good place for novices to practice swiftwater ferrys and eddys. At higher flows most of the rocks disappear underwater; follow the flow left of center. The pool on river left at the bottom of the chute is great for roll practice.

Below the pool the river is divided by an island. Most of the water goes down the left side of the island and forms a nice wavetrain with a couple of surfable holes. Eddy behind the island and ferry far right across some more small islands and ledges to get to a park service picnic area, with restrooms. This is a very scenic spot and probably the best choice of lunch stop on this section; also is a good place to hike out if necessary - follow the downriver trail uphill to get back to civilization. On river left across the pool is the diving rock, obvious in the summer by the presence of locals diving into the river from the higher of the two cliffs. The lower cliff makes a fun seal launch for kayakers.

After this the river bends to the left and goes over the third series of ledges. This set is similar to the first; most of the flow going far right, but there are plenty of alternate routes down. The abundant rocks create many small playspots. About this time the odor of sewage sometimes drifts over the river. That lovely odor comes from a vent pipe about 50 feet back in the woods on river right. There is an underground sewage line that runs next to the last half of the run on river right.

As the river takes a right bend and the I-75 bridge comes into view there will be a strong eddy with a clean eddy line on river right at medium flows. This is a great playspot for the local squirt boaters, and a great place to learn mystery moves.

Just above the I-75 bridge there is a large obvious rock 30 feet off the right bank of the river. I don't recommend splatting the upstream side of the rock, but it does have a great eddyline for stern squirts. Class III-IV Rottenwood Creek (see AW reach #497) enters the river just below this point.

On river right just below the bridge is a little drop running right to left that may have some wood in it but is otherwise fun to run. From this point down to the takeout, look for many more small surfing ledges at normal water. The river starts fording out, getting more shallow and gravelly.

The takeout is on the right about a half mile past the I-75 bridge. You can spot the end of the concrete boat launch from a few hundred yards upriver, sticking out of the trees.

Map of the put-in: Powers Island.

Map of the takeout: West Palisades and Paces Mill.

East Palisades.

Map of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.

How Polluted is the River??

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-07-11 16:49:03


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put - InPutin
0.3Bridge HoleII+Playspot
0.6First LedgeII+Playspot
0.7The EddyPlayspot
0.8Second Set of LedgesII+Playspot
1.0The IslandIIPlayspot
1.3The Dive RockAccess Hazard
1.4Third Set of LedgesIIPlayspot
1.8The Squirt SpotAccess Playspot
1.8Whitewater Creek AccessAccess
2.5The Big RockPlayspot
3.5The Take OutTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Bridge Hole (Class II+, Mile 0.3)
Located on far river right below the Powers Ferry bridge.  This is one of the best holes for spins, cartwheels and loops on the river at lower playboating levels.  The hole is a dry rock below 3,000 CFS, but up to about 7,000 CFS it is an excellent playhole. Over 7,000 it is more of a wave.

First Ledge (Class II+, Mile 0.6)
First Set of Ledges. Above 2000 cfs the best surfing is on river left.

The Eddy
In the flat pool between the first and second set of ledges theres a big eddy on river right beside a sandy beach. For the squirt boaters there is a very nice seam here. Downtime is possible.

Second Set of Ledges (Class II+, Mile 0.8)
The second set of ledges. Sometimes referred to as "The Devils Racecourse" from an old William Neely map. The main route is down the middle. Good eddies on both sides, good eddylines for squirting. Slalom gates are sometimes hung here in the winter. For those into attainments, the upstream move here is one of the hardest on the river.

The Island (Class II, Mile 1.0)
Some surfing to be found on the left side of the island at low water and some side surfing holes on the right side of the island at high flows.

The Dive Rock
Big Rock outcrop on river left. Lots of drunk people jumping off it during the summer.

Third Set of Ledges (Class II, Mile 1.4)
At high flows some surfing can be found.

The Squirt Spot
Above the next big Island there is a nice big eddy on river right, just before the river goes around a right bend. Local expert squirt boaters get up to 10 seconds of downtime here.
For Squirt boaters who want to park and play there is the Whitewater Creek access point on River Left. The Whitewater Creek Road Parking area is on the left where Long Island Creek enters the river.

Whitewater Creek Access
Parking area and access, river left.

The Big Rock
As you come around the last bend in the river and the I-75 bridge comes into view there will be a Volkswagen sized rock on river right. There are strong eddy lines on both side of the rock for squirting. This boulder is mildly undercut, I don't recommend splatting the upstream side.

The Take Out
Use the boat ramp on river right. If you go under Highway 41 you've gone too far.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.

No Comments

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Or, consider donating