Rottenwood Creek, Georgia, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||50 fpm|
|Max Gradient||100 fpm|
|ROTTENWOOD CR AT INTERSTATE N PKWY, NR SMYRNA, GA|
|usgs-02335910||250 - 1000 cfs||III-IV||00h35m||20.5 cfs (too low)|
Visual from one of many bridge overpasses. (Delk, Terrill Mill, Windy Hill, Windy Ridge, Interstate North, I-285, and Akers Mill)
Rottenwood only runs after heavy rains, and runs off quickly. It can spike up and down over 1000 cfs in less than an hour.
November 2007: USGS now has an online gauge. It does not corelate with the Maxwell gauge. REPORT YOUR RUNS.
Update 9-01-2003 - New Gauge:The gauge is on the Interstate North Parkway SE bridge. It is a painted gauge on the downstream side of the center set of pylons. It is best viewed from river right next to the large "Interstate North Parkway 180" sign.
0 inchs - passable. This is around 200 cfs on the USGS gauge.
2 feet - padded.
3 feet - beefy
Welcome to some of the most polluted water in Georgia.
Rottenwood has some good whitewater; problem is that when the river is running the water is brown. Almost the color and consistency of a chocolate milk shake. In that water will be the run-off from a very large office park. After running Rottenwood expect your gear to smell like gasoline. Burning eyes and and skin irritation from the polluted water should be expected. Aside from that the river has some good rapids.
In the old days (pre 1997) the best way to see how the river was running was to take a look from the bridge over the creek at Akers Mill road. Akers Mill Rapid was directly downstream of the Bridge. Unfortunately with the road project we got a new bridge that covers the entire rapid. The construction changed the rapid somewhat, widening the channel and making the drop a little bit easier. The quick road side scout takes a little more work. The best place to look at the creek for a level check is now either the put-in or where Interstate North Parkway crosses the river. As of 2007 the Park Service added a jogging trail that runs alongside the creek from above Akers Mill Road down to the takeout. The upstream end of the trail is where the USGS gauge is located.
Akers Mill rapid can get into the class 4 range with higher flows.
Above Akers Mill is a nice ledge drop that resembles a low head dam at higher flows. Beware of the undercut left bank. This drop used to be called Confederate Life, named after the multi-story office building beside it. The building has since changed ownership, currently Ascent Insurance. See the Rapids tab for more detailed info.
A word of caution would be to watch out for the large (3 to 4 foot diameter) pipe toward the end of the run. At low flows water runs under the pipe, at flood water runs over the pipe. Last checked there was a lot of wood jammed on the upstream side of the pipe, and not much of an eddy above it. Most people carry around the pipe on river left.
Rottenwood has been run at some rediculously high levels. Use your best judgement before putting on. If Rottenwood is rising you might find yourself running the rapids dodging mobile strainers, and other assorted trash.
Rottenwood and Sope can usually be run back to back with some creative shuttle work.
Bradley. Posted April 2001, Updated March 2002, revised August 2008.
Logistics: The Put-in is just below the Health Club off Windy Hill Rd, on 1 North Parkway. There is a creekside parking area where Poplar Creek drops into Rottenwood Creek.
Use the park on the Hooch at Hwy 41 for a take out. Be current on your Hepatitis shots.
If your gear is REALLY smelling like an oil spill, there is a car wash about a mile away on Spring Road in Smyrna.
National Park Service map of the takeout: West Palisades.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.6||Windy Ridge Parkway Bridge Rapid||III|
|1.0||Akers Mill Rapid||III+|
|2.3||Metro Hooch Takeout||I|
A double ledge drop. The left bank is undercut. At high flows this rapid creats a nasty riverwide hole, backed up by a second large hole. At higher flows it can be snuck down the right. At low flows you run down the meat on the left.
Just above the Akers Mill parking area is a riverwide pipe. At low flows it can be ducked under, at higher flows its a hazard with not much of an eddy above it.