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Cartecay River (Ellijay, GA)

Skill Level                 Driving Time          Directions

Put-In                      Take-Out              Meeting Places

Recommendations    Medical Facility    Water Temps

River Levels              Gauge Info           Comments

Skill Level

Class II

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Driving time from Atlanta

1 1/4 Hour from I-75 & I-285 junction.

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Follow I-75N to I-575N (which becomes 5/515) to Ellijay. Turn right on access road to Hwy 52 East.  At the stoplight, turn left on Hwy 52, follow the river approximately 4 miles to  Lower Cartecay Road (you will see Oak Hill Apple House on your right immediately before the turnoff).  Look for Mountaintown Outdoor Expeditions sign on your right.

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There is a public put-in at the hwy 52 bridge and also off Holt bridge.  This will add a few extra miles to the trip.  

There is also a new put-in that River Right has secured that is located directly across the river from the MOE put-in.  Contact River Right for more information.

Shuttles to an additional put-in can be arranged through Mountaintown Outdoor Expeditions (MOE’s)  for a $5.00 fee per person (1999 prices).  MOE's number is 706-635-2524.  The put-in (private property owned by MOE's) is farther upstream on Lower Cartecay Road.

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Blackberry Falls.  Mulkey Road off Hwy 52.  MOE’s will shuttle your car there.

Also you can take out further downstream at the DNR takeout in the wildlife management area.

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Meeting Places

Meet at MOE's, or at the Hardees in the Wal-Mart shopping center in Ellijay.

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Lodging / Eating Recommendations

Pooles Bar-B-Que next to Advanced Auto Parts on HWY 515 in Ellijay GA. Has the BEST barbque you'll ever eat, anywhere. (Try the brunswick stew and the homemade fudge). Open Thursday - Sunday.

A new cajun restaurant has opened on 52 at the railroad crossing west of 515.  The food was very good when we ate there and they will be getting a liquor license within a month (submitted by Diane Smith 3/01).

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Medical Facility

Northeast Georgia Medical Center on Hwy 5 in Ellijay.  There are also paramedics on-site at River Right Outfitters.

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Water Temperatures

The water gets warm in the summer (70 degrees) and cool in the winter (mid-40s), but since it is a natural river, you don't need to worry about extremes.  

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River Levels

Minimum = 1.5, Maximum = 4.0 (flood stage)

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Gauge Information

MOE's will tell you an estimated gauge level if you call their number.  The actual gauge is found on Hwy 52 about 1/4 mile after you turn onto it from Hwy 5's access road.  Look for a concrete tower on the right (approx. 10 feet high) before you reach the gas station on your left.

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Diane Smith and Mark Niesler are the AWA Cartecay streamkeepers,  so any items regarding the Cartecay we would appreciate getting a heads up on.  They can be emailed at or .

If you can paddle the Cartecay at around 5-6 ft., a monster surfing wave forms at Blackberry Falls. EXCELLENT surfing. Your boat will actually start skipping because the water is pumping by so fast. Check it out. Just stay away from the riverleft side of Whirlpool. It forms a massive hydraulic at that level. :^)

Good trained beginner river. A lot of homes are being built on this river, so please be respectful of property owners.

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