Chattooga - Section 2 - Highway 28 Putin to Earl's Ford

Chattooga, Georgia, US/South Carolina, US


Section 2 - Highway 28 Putin to Earl's Ford

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 7 Miles

Big Shoals

Big Shoals
Photo by Tyler Crotts taken 02/18/06 @ 1.8

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02177000 1.00 - 5.00 ft II 00h34m 3.93 ft (running)

River Description

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.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-08-02 23:42:49


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
3.5Turn HoleIIPlayspot Photo
4.0Big ShoalsII+Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Turn Hole (Class II, Mile 3.5)

Dennis Simpkins and Gary Kyle surfing Turn Hole Rapid

Dennis Simpkins and Gary Kyle surfing Turn Hole Rapid
Photo by Karen Heath taken 03/14/18

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.

Big Shoals (Class II+, Mile 4.0)

Big Shoals

Big Shoals
Photo by Tyler Crotts taken 02/18/06 @ 1.8

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
February 17 2014 (1797 days ago)
jtebbel (155130)
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.
July 21 2013 (2009 days ago)
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.
April 11 2011 (2840 days ago)
dark sideDetails
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..
March 18 2011 (2864 days ago)
mstansberry (152876)
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
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.
January 20 2007 (4382 days ago)
gary debacherDetails
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.
November 6 2006 (4457 days ago)
Steve ReachDetails
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".