Mountaintown Creek is a charming little stream in East Ellijay. It is speckled with houses and its banks are lined with a mix of hemlock and various deciduous trees. This section of Mountaintown Creek starts at the bridge where Highway 282 crosses the creek. If you are headed west from Ellijay on 282, when you cross the bridge the put in is on your left. There is an old gas station that has been converted into what appears to be a sort of flea market. That is your parking area and a small, short trail leads down to the creek. The creek itself runs 6.75 miles, at which point it enters the Coosawattee River. From there the action continues until mile 8.5, after which there is a 3.7 mile flat water paddle through Carter's Lake to the takeout at the boat ramp at the Carter's Lake Ridgeway Recreation Area. There is a parking fee here (at time of writing $4).
This is a class I-II stream, and higher water levels add to the hoppiness of the class II boogie water. Your biggest concern on this run will be strainers. See comments section below for recent information on water levels and strainers.
The creek is relatively narrow, and the gradient combined with its narrowness add to its visual appeal. This run is suitable for beginners who have basic boat control and the stamina to do a run of this length. This is a beautiful run, but definitely not one for your play boat.
As you leave the put in, check out the old car bodies embedded in the river bank on river right. The majority of this run is a mix of moving water, shoals, and small ledges (1 to 1.5ft). The shoals and ledges increase in frequency the closer you get to the confluence with the Coosawattee, particularly around the 5 mile mark. Many of the shoals require maneuvering around rocks strewn throughout the creek.There are a few small surfing waves on this run. The confluence with the Coosawattee is beautiful and some of the ledges after the confluence offer multiple routes to enjoy. There are no rapids worthy of a name on this stretch, except the surfing wave at mile 8.5. It is worth noting because it is a great wave for surfing (suitable for beginners), and it is also the last river feature before the "dead sea" - the flatwater paddle into Carter's Lake at the end of the run.
I've paddled this run a good handful of times and never once have I seen another paddler on the creek, so if you have the time and you are looking for some lovely solitude, Mountaintown Creek is a great run for you. The shuttle distance from the put in to the take out is 7.5 miles, so also bikeable if you're feeling ambitious. There is no outfitter that operates shuttles here, though I've thought about asking the guys at the flea market for a lift....
This correlation seems to work very well. Today we paddled the section above this one. The Holly gauge was @ 150 cfs and rising and Mountaintown was just above what I call minimum.
USGS Holly Ck gauge seems correlated. 140cfs good. 220cfs GOOD.
I hear there are rumors of a steep run above this section.
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Confluence with the Coosawattee River
Typical Class II Ledge
Old cars on bank near put in
Put in at the 282 bridge
Level approx 3.26
Ridgeway Parking Area
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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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