Northern Georgia Canoeing, Sehlinger, B. and Otey, D.; also the Whitewater Sourcebook
There is a parking area on rte 28 about one mile south (and on the SC side) of where the bridge crosses from GA into SC. parking for around 20 cars and usually plenty of room. It is a short walk down a concrete ramp to the river. This parking area is located perhaps 100 yards from Beaver Lane. There is also abuilding with a primitive toilet at the parking area.
If taking out at Earls Ford, note that there are two trails. The first trail, starting at the wooden steps, is a horse trail and does not go to the parking area. The second trail starts just a few feet downstream of the stairs at the same rocky beach area. You can use the stairs, then cut over at the top of the stairs to the right to reach the 0.2 mile trail to the parking.
This is a ledge style rapid with some playspots in it. There is an area on river right about an 1/8 mile below that you can stop and take a break.
I wouldn't run Section II at less than 2.2 on the hwy 76 bridge gauge. There are too many spread-out junk shallow shoals. Especially, if you are taking newbies, give them a water level that allows them to enjoy this section.
Ran Sec2 on 11/5 at @1.28 ft. Tediously scrapey in shoals. Did a LOT of knuckle walking - made a long day. Big Shoals was dry except for the chutes at either end of the ledge. The river-right chute looked dangerous, all the water dumped down into a rock sieve. The left line was OK if you missed the overhang but directly below was a lot of exposed rock that would have been another knucklewalker, so we portaged down the normal middle line. I would recommend the lower limit for this run be jacked up to maybe 1.4 or 1.5 ....
This is a longish trip (7 miles?) with a lot of flatwater. It's beautiful and wild though and we had it all to ourselves. Water was very cold and clear, saw a HUGE school of big brown trout in one place. You can spot the Earl's Ford takeout pretty easily by the presence of a big sand beach on the left with wooden stairs leading to the trail up to the parking lot, a small campground and a side creek on river right. If you parked in the Earl's Ford parking lot on the SC side, make sure you take the southernmost or right-hand trail, which can be recognized by it being relatively flat, gradual and wide enough to drive a vehicle. The northern or left trail (steeper, narrower and covered in horse manure and hoof prints) will get you lost in the woods. Also: I strongly recommend shuttling on the SC side (12 miles each way) because the road on the GA side is incredibly twisty - it'll take longer and be more dangerous to drive. However, you can apparently drive right down to the river on that side, something to think about if you aren't up to the "Chattooga Carry".
After the early July 2013 high-water sets where the Chattooga hit 5 feet or higher inside of several days, section 2 is clear of meaningful strainers. There is a big pile-up of wood at the center-left of Big Shoals rapid, but it adds no additional hazard or difficulty to that rapid. It was a treat having good water level in mid-Summer on this section; at 2.3 feet the runs pushes through a bit faster, of course, while still providing the beginner-intermediate paddler with the lovely Chattooga scenery.
section is strainer free. ran at slightly over 2.0 and it was not bony. and had a few decent waves to play in. tree at big shoals on river left is cut back and no problem when running shoot..
Paddled section 2 today...18 March 2011. It was 85F today (1 degree under the record high of 86 at GSP airport), and no clouds in the sky..The level was 2.2, which was perfect for kayaks. Paddled with someone who had not kayaked before, and he did great in a recreational kayak. The water was very cold. We did not wear any cold weather gear, and we are glad we did not take any swims...it would have been a shock to the system. I think the run took approx 3.5 hours..we stopped quite few times to trade kayaks, eat/drink, scout big shoals, etc.
Paddled Sec 2 on 01/16/2014 @ 1.97 and very clear water. Nice level, not scrapey. We ran the river left chute at Big Shoals after scouting both sides.
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
This is the gauge located at Highway 76, many miles downstream. Consider 1 foot a very scrapey minimum, suitable for innertubing.
The maximum level is really not an issue on this stretch.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Dennis Simpkins and Gary Kyle surfing Turn Hole Rapid
Turn Hole Rapid
Vince at Big Shoals
Chattooga Section 1
Clean Run In Big Shoals
Running Big Shoals
Swimming In Big Shoals
Approaching Big Shoals
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