Gauge Description: NOTE: The online gauge above reads differently than the paddler's gauge on the US 76 Bridge. Most paddlers refer to the bridge gauge. The online gauge reads about .15 higher than the bridge gauge at 2 feet, about .25 higher below two feet and the same at about 2.8 feet. It can be run down to .5 or even lower but is very scrapy. Above 2.0' Five Falls starts to bump up to class 5. It can certainly be run above 2.2', but only by experienced Section 4 paddlers. The Five Falls section gets much more difficult and dangerous at high water. The highest known run was August 17, 1994 at something between 9 and 10 feet from below Woodall to the Lake. According to USGS the river peaked at 17,500 cfs. Participants included Russ Kulmar, John Lesan, "Snuffy" Hall, Kent Wiginton, and Richard Oldenquist.This is the Southeastern Classic! More legends exist about Five Falls of the Chattooga than almost any other set of rapids. Taken individually any of the 5 rapids of Five Falls would be significant named drops on any typical Southeastern river. They are far from the hair found on steep creeks and the legendary danger associated with these rapids arises in part from the long history of boating the Chattooga (40+ years). That said, approach these rapids with caution as they have killed and injured plenty of boaters.
This is the river where a portion of the classic 1972 movie Deliverance was filmed.The Chattooga became a National Wild and Scenic River on May 10, 1974.An Important note about Crack in the Rock rapid.
Most of the existing guidebooks in print still recommend right crack as the prefered route. This is no longer the case. A flood back around 1998 blew the original log out of the crack. Since then right crack has become an undercut boulder sieve. Boats and boaters have washed under the logs and rocks in right crack. On November 9, 2003 it was the site of a fatality. Any swim out of Corkscrew should be taken seriously. Left Crack has been the site of numerous fatalities and Right Crack is possibly more dangerous. If you swim, get to the bank quickly and do not swim into Crack in the Rock. Do nothing that involves hysteria--just swim to the bank.
Most boaters run Crack below 2 feet through Middle Crack. Use your good judgement here. Running Left Crack when it has water flowing over the top is an easy move but do not get flipped at the top or you could get hurt or pinned. Middle Crack sometimes has debris. Far Right Crack is a blind rapid at high water and can accumulate debris. There is even a route over the right side of Right Crack if you are really careful.
The good news is that the rapid can be portaged on both banks.
Crack changes more than any other rapid on the river. Debris in the underwater sieve can change the pool height upstream of the drop and change the nature of the rapid. Center Crack changed recently (2005) and is now about a 2-foot-tall pourover that can backender kayaks between the two boulders.
Finally, just remember that most of the large rocks in Five Falls are undercut.
The put-in for this section of the river is located where US 76 crosses the river about 8 miles east of Clayton, GA near Long Creek, SC and forms the Georgia-South Carolina state line.
There are parking areas on both the Georgia and South Carolina side of the river.
On the Georgia side you will find a small hikers' parking area ($2.00 fee), which holds about 5 cars. You can put in here with a short walk down to the river. The walk is a little shorter than the paved road to the beach below Bull Sluice or the trail to that rapids. However, if you put in here you miss Bull Sluice rapid.
There is a large USFS parking lot on the SC side of the river with changing rooms and bathrooms and with no parking fee. Follow the paved path about 250 yards to the beach below Bull Sluice or take the trail off to the right and put in right above Bull Sluice. Boaters sometimes access this river via Stekoa Creek.To get to the take-out:
From the put-in, head left out of the parking lot (east) for about 2.5 miles or so and turn right on Orchard Road. Follow Orchard Road until it dead-ends on Battle Creek Road (across from the Dixie Aluminum plant). Turn right on Battle Creek. Stay on Battle Creek; you will come to a sharp right turn in the road--stay on the paved road. You are now on Damascus Church Road. Just past the little white church on the left, bear right onto Bull Sluice Road. This is a dirt road and you will see a sign for the Tugaloo Boat Ramp. Follow this dirt road all the way to the end and park at the boat ramp. Round trip is about 45 minutes. There are other access points such as Tugaloo Dam, Possum Creek, and Camp Creek, but most of these are excessively strenuous.
At the put-in don't forget to fill out the self-registration forms.
Shuttle service / boating shop / Lake Shuttle.
Chattooga Whitewater Outfitters has a boating store and offers shuttle service to just about any paddleable portion of the Chattooga. So if you are coming from a distance, you can pack 4 or 5 boats onto one car and not have to worry about bringing that second car. It is a very good idea to call them a day in advance 864-647-9083. If you get to the river and find that you've forgotten your pfd, helmet, spray skirt, or paddle, they also rent equipment. They have a web site http://www.chattoogaadventures.com/ . They are located 2.6 miles on the South Carolina side of the river, just past the turnoffs for Earl's Ford and Woodall. You could even plug their street address into a GPS (14239 Long Creek Hwy, Long Creek, SC 29658) to get you very close to the river. Coming from Atlanta it will probably
take you past route 76 bridge on the way. I know that it does from Asheville.
Chattooga Sounds (a campground near the takeout) operates a lake shuttle service for those who would
rather not paddle across the lake. The fee is $20 for the 1st (up to) 4 people and $5 / person after that. Their
number is 864-647-6196. http://www.chattoogasounds.com/
You can make arrangements for them to bring your cooler of snacks & drinks when then meet you at the head of the lake.
See also Section 3.
Woodall Shoals is a nice class 3+ rapid with a very dangerous, but not that impressive looking Class 5+ hole right in the top middle. If you are running the hole you don't need me to tell you how. The standard route for those not messing with the hole is to hug the river right bank. This will lead you to a slide that's about 10 feet tall. Bang down the slide and from there choose one of the many routes down the rest of the rapid. The slide dries up at levels below about 1.1. At levels over 3 feet the hole at the base of the slide starts to get really mean, but another route opens up. At levels above 3 feet the slide on river left at Woodall starts to open up. This is a great ride!! At levels below two feet this channel is totally dry. The channel is to the left of the center rock shelf most people scout Woodall from. On river left at Woodall is a trail to a Forest Service parking lot.
Most boaters run thru middle crack. Left crack does get run on occasion, but is usually avoided.
The good news is that the rapid can be portaged on both banks.
At flows below 1.8 start river right and punch into the eddy on river left. At flows above 1.8 you have a back door entrance down river left into the eddy. Peel out of the big river left eddy, go around the curler, stay out of decap (the first undercut on the right) and either eddy out above Hydroelectric Rock (also undercut) or continue on around it, punching a pretty solid hole. Jawbone is kinda scary with all the undercuts. Keep in mind that if you eddy out above Hydroelectric Rock you need to aggressively cross the eddy line before running the left side drop of Hydro. Blowing this move can lead to being sucked in to Hydro.
Running the slot on the right side of shoulderbone rock has been done but its a bad idea. The slot is undercut and usually full of wood. There are potholes or sieves in the base of the drop that have swallowed boats and boaters for uncomfortably long periods of time.
Woodall Shoals - as of 7/7/2020 a large tree has fallen from the bank on river right and is blocking the entrance to the slide. We portaged to below the main hole via the scout rock. River level was 1.55 feet at the US76 bridge.
There is currently a new log in Center Crack on top of the log that has always been there. At ~1.4 (bridge) it makes the drop 4-5 feet tall. The landing can backender you powerfully. The log is moving up and down with the current so I don't think it's stuck all that tightly. More water is also flowing through right crack now. Look before you leap! EDIT: That log has been gone for a while but crack is always changing.
We ran this section on July 7th 2012. Second day on the Chattooga with water running close to the first day on section 3 at 1.25ft. Great run with added adventure and difficulty. We lost Mark out of the Mini Me leaving Steve stranded. Amazing day with a lucky boat tow at the lake. I can't wait to get back in the water and run this section again.
I went down this run as well as section III on labor day weekend at 1.20 on usgs (online) gauge. We ran everything fine until we got to crack in the rock. The right and left cracks were too low to run, so we planned to go down the middle until when I paddled over there there was a large log blocking the way. We had to portage to the left on a rock and get back in but it was difficult because there was no banks so I threw my boat in and then I jumped in the river and climbed back in my inflatable kayak. I would try to get out on the river right though before I resulted to getting out on the left. Lots of scrappy shoals at this level.
At .98 rock jumble is a pain in the butt. Literally. It hurt. THe normal line is low to go. I drank from the river. Good times all in all. At 1.05 it is much easier cause you dont fall sideways on a rock and fall off of it. Rolling in rock Jumble stole my paddle. Found it when it wiggled loose a minute later. Rolling in rock jumble HAHA right if you like the taste of granite.
Is there anyone who does shuttles in this area? Me and my buddy are coming around may 14th but we know nothing about the area. We were gonna spend a couple days in charlottee and then go run secs 3 and 4 of this river.
The tree was not there on 1/01/09.
Ran the middle crack yesterday with no problems, but this was before the surge of water so there is no telling once again what may be in there.
Check out http://www.chattoogariver.org/index.php?req=dam&quart=Su2002 for the history of the Tallulah and Chattooga before the erection of the Tugalo Dam. It's got some niche ole photos of rapids which used to exist, some 80+ years ago. (Sniff...)
Thanks to "Gomer" at BT for pointing out that great article!
The USGS has apparently changed some stuff with their formatting. AW's web developer is working on fixing this glitch.
Meanwhile, this handy table can help you make sense of the reading from above:
flow (cfs) stage (ft)
The Chattooga actually became part of the National Wild and Scenic River system on May 10, 1974. July 1, 1976 was the first day that it was illegal to boat aboe the highway 28 bridge.
Yes a new bridge is being built. However the existing paddler's gauge will be preserved, at least that is the plan at this point.
Right Crack looks like the tunnel of love at Ravens Rock underwater New
Re: right crack at chattooga by tarheel123 Nov 10 2003, 23:29 GMT New
Date: Nov 10 2003, 23:45 GMT
I went scuba diving at Crack a number of years ago and went all around right/middle and left crack. The two rocks almost touch at the top of right crack. A large log (there used to be two) goes from the bottom of the river and is wedged in the top crease. The smaller logs/branches have collected horizontally like a beaver dam to seal most of the opening. No significant water went around the river right of the log but a lot of water goes around the left and under the big rock in the center of the rapid. This rock is undercut/overhanging just below the water surface and you can go back 5-7 ft from the downstream face. A good number of boats have gone through the passage but a body may have a higher likelyhood of snagging on one of the many branches forming the dam. I suspect that if the log ever rots/washes out the entire river would go through this slot and you would paddle under the rocks you go over now like a bridge.
Aside, you can walk into left crack and go under the rock between left and center crack and sit and watch the bubbles of center crack go by on one side (a 3x5 ft window) and the bubbles of left crack go by on the other side.
If a boater is ever stuck in left crack you need to push their shoulders/arms back into the drop until the water catches their torso. They will then wash under the pinning rock and free from the rapid. I've worked a recovery here and you cannot pull someone against the force of the water. There is lots of room under the pin rock (5-6 ft), which is why kayaks pin there so bad. Also a canoe or raft can be broached across the top of the drop significantly reducing the amount of water going through the drop.
Section 4 playspots, from JBon boatertalk:
Not good play on section IV......good play on section III??????? Allow me to list out SOME of the playspots on section IV (level dependent):
1: Surfing Rapid
2: Hole above 7 ft.
3: Hole RIGHT above seven foot(not for the timid..better at
4: Pourover below little 7ft....can wheel on both sides
5: Surfing wave at bottom of Stekoa rapid
5: Long Creek hole
6: Turtlehead rock
7: Splatwheel rock at turtlehead (sliding splatwheel)
8: Wheelin' rock below Raven's chute
9: Splatwheel right below this one
10: Another sweet splatwheel spot..hard to describe where
11: Little Woodall....again not for the timid
12: Hole in slot above Crack..need a 100% roll for this one
one of my favorites lately
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Lots of fun eddy lines and smaller waves and holes. Only take a creekboat if you're not going to play, or if you feel you need the extra confidence it'll give you. If you're a solid boater and plan on playing, you can have LOTS of fun on Section IV. There aren't ANY really fun playspots on Section III until the water gets above 2.5 ish. I do, however, agree a creekboat will feel better at the lake.
More Gauge correlations.
1.55 bridge = 1.7 USGS.
1.45 bridge = 1.6 USGS as of April 2002.
7 months ago
by Brian and Maria Jacobson
6 years ago
by Caesar Ong
9 years ago
by Wes Yow
by Geoff Lacher
10 years ago
by Michael Bone
12 years ago
by Tim Boring
Report covering the recreation users, use, economic impacts, and economic benefits of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River.
Letters in opposition of paddling on the Chattooga from Paul Broun, Robin Hayes and J. Gresham Barrett - Congressional Representatives
NOTE: The online gauge above reads differently than the paddler's gauge on the US 76 Bridge. Most paddlers refer to the bridge gauge. The online gauge reads about .15 higher than the bridge gauge at 2 feet, about .25 higher below two feet and the same at about 2.8 feet.
It can be run down to .5 or even lower but is very scrapy.
Above 2.0' Five Falls starts to bump up to class 5.
It can certainly be run above 2.2', but only by experienced Section 4 paddlers. The Five Falls section gets much more difficult and dangerous at high water.
Highest known run was August 17, 1994 at something between 9 and 10 feet from below Woodall to the Lake. According to USGS the river peaked at 17,500 cfs. Participants included Russ Kulmar, John Lesan, "Snuffy" Hall, Kent Wiginton, and Richard Oldenquist.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Boat scouting Bull Sluice
Puppy Chute (the sneak at Sock-em-Dog)
Chattooga River Trip
George Hits the Boof
Crack in the Rock
Old School Pop-Up
Dwight- Soc Em Dog
Dwight Boofs Seven Foot Falls
Left side woodall
7 foot falls
Charlene on the Chattooga
Screaming Left Turn
Entering Section 4
Highway 76 Bridge
Kelli Anne Williams at The Dog
Ethan Talley, Chattooga IV
Amanda Gladys at The Dog
Right line at Cork Screw
Lowater Dan at Jawbone
Hugh's Green Boat at 7Foot
Dan Thomas at The Dog
Chloe at Raven's Shoot
Tim Propes at The Dog
Vin Davis at The Dog
crack n rock highwater
high water at soc em dog
Jack at 7 Foot Falls
Stu at 7 Foot Falls
Elijah Runnin Jawbone
Danny Runnin Corkscrew
Elijah boofin 7'
pothole at 7 foot
SocEm @ 0.55'
Low-water line at Corkscrew
1st run of the Bull
Enders at surf rapid
1st run of the bull
Middle Slot with big log
(RM) Right Crack Sieve #1
Brad vs. the Eddy Line
Neil @ Sock em Dog
Sleek Squirting at Corkscrew
Carnage at Bull Sluice
Riding the Bull
Stuck on the Bull #2
Stuck on the Bull
Bull Sluice@ 2.5
Aerial shot of Chattooga's Five Falls
Greg Simpson on the sneek of Seven Foot Falls
Greg Simpson on the sneek on Seven foot falls
Andrew in Cork
Ted running Corkscrew
Kevin running Corkscrew
Seven Foot Falls
Bull Sluice at high water.
Another Shot of the Dog
scott on the bull
7 Foot Falls
Swallowed By Rock Jumble
Corkscrew in a Jetti
Beseeching da rope!
Big Phil on the Big Dog 1976
Meltdown at the Bull
(MN) Looing at Sock-em-dog
Topo tossin at socem dog
Topo tossin at the dog
Cleaning the Crack
Under the Lake
Corkscrew bottom holes
FILE OF THE BULL
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Claude Terry, paddler, outfitter, and conservationist, died on November 20th, 2019. He was 83. A microbiologist by training, Terry began paddling in the mid-1960's while a professor at Emory University. He took to whitewater readily, and it became an important focus of his life. In 1969 he met veteran paddler Doug Woodward, and in 1971 the two became the technical advisers for the movie “Deliverance.” Afterwards, Terry and Woodward purchased the rafts Warner Brothers used in filming and bought 19 acres near the river. This became Southeastern Expeditions, one of the Southeast’s first whitewater outposts on the Chattooga. In 1974, Terry took then-Gov. Jimmy Carter on three trips on the Chatooga River, totaling 57 miles. This inspired Carter to get the Chattooga included in the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act and influenced later decisions protecting rivers across the U.S.“Terry adopted me as one of his students,” Carter told Outside Online in a 2017 interview. “it opened my eyes to the relationship between a human being and a wild river that I never had contemplated before that. When I got to be president I vetoed 16 different dam projects all over the United States.” Terry eventually quit his Emory University job and started full time career in environmental advocacy, including founding American Rivers, a principal U.S. conservation group. For the next 30 years he specialized in environmental projects involving rivers and wetlands and later, when he became a board-certified toxicologist, he developed an expertise in hazardous waste cleanups. He was an active paddler until sidelined by Parkinson's Disease. A passionate teacher and advocate, he is sorely missed by all who knew him. Click through for an excellent obituary and a photo of Terry taking Governor Carter over Bull Sluice!
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