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Chattooga River (Georgia / South Carolina border)

Skill Level                 Driving Time          Directions

River Access Points                              Meeting Places

Recommendations    Medical Facility     Water Temps

River Levels              Gauge Info            Comments

Skill Level

Section III: Class II-III (IV if you run Bull Sluice)

Section IV: Class III-V+ (varies significantly with water level)

Also, see the Comments section for more specific information from members.

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Driving time from Atlanta

2 Hours from I-285 & I-85 junction.

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Follow 85N to I-985N (which becomes 441). Follow this to Clayton. Turn right on Hwy 76 & follow 9 miles to the bridge.  

Also, see the Comments section for more specific information from members.

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River Access Points

Section III: Earl’s Ford (consult a Forest Service map).  From 76, after bridge, turn on Chattanooga Ridge Road which is the first paved road on left, go to the 4-way stop & make a left, after a couple miles, the road turns to dirt & dead ends into a parking area.  Or, many people put in at Sandy Ford to cut 2 1/2 miles off of the river trip (follow shortcut off of the dirt road described above).  All boaters must fill out registration forms.  Parking Fee = $3.00 per vehicle.

Section IV: Hwy 76 bridge.  Parking Fee = $3.00 per vehicle.

                 Woodall Shoals:  Proceed east from the 76 bridge for 2.5 miles.  Turn right onto Orchard Road and proceed 0.4 mile to Woodall Shoals Road (FS 757).  Follow the gravel road for several miles to the parking area at the end of the road.

                  Lake Tugaloo:  Follow directions for Woodall Shoals and proceed past Woodall Shoals Road for an additional two miles to a stop sign.  Turn right onto Battle Creek Road and proceed 2.5 miles, then veer right onto Damascus Church Road.  Proceed 1.2 miles to Bull Sluice Road (PU 5) on the right.  Follow the winding, sometimes steep road 3.5 miles to the parking area alongside the lake.

Also, see the Comments section for more specific information from members.

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Meeting Places

Meet at Hwy 76 bridge.

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Lodging / Eating Recommendations

Please submit your recommendations

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Medical Facility

Emergency contact Raburn County Sheriff - 911 or 706-782-3612.  Nearest hospital is Clayton: Raburn County Memorial Hospital, South Main St, Clayton: 706-782-4233.

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Water Temperatures

The water gets warm in the summer (70 degrees) and cool in the winter (mid-40s).

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River Levels

Minimum = 1.2, Maximum = 3.0 (Only very experienced boaters should run the river above 3.0; anything above 2.0 is considered dangerous)

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Gauge Information

Gauge is located 30 yards downstream from the Hwy 76 bridge River Left (East side of the river, South side of the bridge).

Click here for the Chattooga River "USGS gauge at 0.9 then the paddlers gauge is at about 0.75." Julie Keller

"We paddle the Chattooga every weekend, year round and it is our experience that the USGS is .2 higher than the bridge gauge... it may vary a little at higher and lower levels but not so much that you can't make safe decisions about where and when to paddle" Ocoee One

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Not a river to be taken lightly. First time runs on Section IV should have at least one boater very experienced with this part of the river. Evacuation locations are limited, so any injury can be compounded by this fact. Highly recommend group size is no less than three. Have a first-aid kit, rescue gear, and the knowledge to use both.

West Fork Chattooga - Suitable for family trips. Class 2 (at US76 levels of less than 2 feet). Watch for trout fishermen. Don't stop on private land. Drive to Clayton, then take Warwoman Road. When the road crosses the West Fork, take a left on Overflow Creek road. Put in at the campground on left after a mile or so. Take out is at the Section 2 put in at Long Bottom Ford.

Section 2 Chattooga - Suitable for family trips. Class 2/3 at US76 levels below 2 feet. Scenery is great! Put in at Long Bottom Ford. Directions - From US 76 bridge over Chattooga, go up the hill into South Carolina. At top of hill take left on Orchard? Road. Drive until 4-way stop (left goes to Earls Ford take out). Continue through 4-way. When road intersects highway 28 across from Llama farm, take left. Drive over mountain, then at bottom on other side look for Long Bottom Ford access point.

Overflow Creek - Advanced/Expert run - Class 5. Use directions to West Fork putin. Continue past campground to the bridge. This is the takeout. If you don't have someone with you that knows the run, turn around and go somewhere else. US 76 gauge needs to be at 2.7 or more to have any prayer of Overflow running. Overflow gauge is on the bridge at takeout. Levels of .9 are runnable with pain, 2 feet is considered maximum for sane persons. DO NOT put on if it's rising!

Lower Stekoa Creek - requires levels of 3 feet and rising on US76 bridge gauge. Water quality is nasty. Class 5 expert run. There are 3 big waterfalls. The second is not visible until the last eddy which is against a cliff wall on river right.... very difficult to get out of. First and second waterfalls are not runnable by ordinary humans. Directions - US 76 to Wolf Creek road. Put in is at point where road leaves the creek and creek is a big pool. Take out is on the Chattooga at Camp Creek access or, for real hair boaters, the usual lake take out for Section 4.

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