Conasauga, Georgia, US
Chicken Coop Gap to East Cowpen Road (Upper Conasauga)
||III-IV (for normal flows)
ConasaugaPhoto of Ken Strickland by Lee Wheeler
Northern Georgia Canoeing, Sehlinger, B. and Otey, D.
Appalachian Whitewater : The Southern States
Finding the put-in is the hard part. From the take-out drive up West Cowpen Road to Chicken Coop
Gap. For lack of a better description, go about four miles up West Cowpen, then look for a turnout
on the left. You should be able to just barely see the river at the bottom of the hill if there are
no leaves on the trees some 250 vertical feet below.
From there carefully carry your boat down a shale and mud covered steep incline (borderline cliff)
to the river.
Most of the rapids are class 3 plus with a couple of borderline class 4 drops. Some of the bigger
rapids are Undercut (aka Room of Doom) and Whale Tail. They will be obvious, espcially Whale Tail
with its impressive roostertail of water.
Keep an eye out for wood in all of the major drops. Another thing to watch out for is rebar in the
drops. About 100 years ago this area was extensively logged and the rebar is leftover from the
Most people take out where the river meets East Cowpen Road rather than paddle the 4 miles of
flatwater thru the Alaculsy Valley to the Jacks River confluence.
The Upper Conasauga is a beautiful wilderness run. People have put on higher than Chicken Coop Gap
and report that its a great run, tho it does require quite a bit of work to get to the river.
Directions to the Upper Upper put-in from Boatertalk:
"I don't remember the exact mileage, but from the take-out. Go back in the direction that you came
in, take the first left up a steep hill. At the fork stay right, when the road T's, go left. This
will dead end @ a trail head. It is probably a 20 minute hike downhill to the creek. Total driving
distance is probably 8-10 miles. There is section below the put-in with class III - IV fun, it's
all read & run same as the lower part. Hope that this helps."
From Atlanta take I-75 north to Highway 411 north. Continue north on Hwy 411
thru Chatsworth, Ga. to Cisco. In Cisco look for the Cisco Baptist Church. It's a stone church on
the east side of the road at the intersection of Hwy 411 and Old Ga. Hwy 2, which turns into East
Cowpen Road. Go east on East Cowpen Road into the Cohutta wilderness for about 7 miles.
The Conasauga take-out will be the first major stream on the right as you come thru the mountains
and the Alaculsy Valley opens up. If you get to the steel trestle bridge and the Jacks River Trail
Head you've gone too far.
On the way to the take-out you will pass a game checking station. The game checking station is
where West Cowpen Road intersects with East Cowpen Road. Using a good topo-map, a compass, and a
GPS, you should be able to find Chicken Coop Gap on West Cowpen Road.
From Boatertalk (Nov 27 2001):
"If you get on GA Hwy 2 east follow it all the way until you get to Hwy 411 intersection...there
will be a gas station on your right and a church kind of in front of you and to the left...you are
now in Cisco...drive straight across the intersection and go exactly 3.2 miles...you will see a
guard station on your left....the take-out with the crooked tree is down the road past the guard
station...just a little ways after the little wooden bridge (look for small creek on river
left)....from the guard station go up the road to your right exactly 5.8 miles to the
put-in...listen for water...there will be a 4-wheeler type trail behind you on the left and a sign
that says no motor vehicles....then bring your rope because you are going down a steep freakin
put-in....go straight down(don't go to right when trail looks like it goes that way)...don't carry
your boat...bring a rope.... water is straight down there....Yes, I call that one undercut
rapid(room of doom)....and Yeah Whale Tail is good to go... use gauge at Eaton, GA for
Conasauga....but it drops fast and sometimes by the time that water gets to that gauge, it's
already gone from the gorge....if the water table is up and we get a good rain, then get there
early for a good level.
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Last Updated: 2006-01-22 20:17:40