GA Paddling Trip Advice?

We are trying to plan a weekend paddling trip in GA (Class I / II) type water and I was looking for any advice, input, opinions on my initial thoughts. Probably looking at going sometime after Labor Day weekend, in September.

I was thinking about leaving Nashville on a Friday afternoon and driving approximately 4 hrs to Ridgeway Campground on Carter Lake (near Ellijay, GA). On Saturday morning driving up to Gilmer County Park to drop the boats and float the Coosawattee River back to our campsite. Spend Saturday night at the campground playing around on the lake.

Wake up early Sunday, break camp and drive to Deep Hole Recreation Area (Blue Ridge, GA) to drop the boats and run one of our trucks down to Sandy Bottom Recreation Area. Float the Toccoa River on Sunday. Then head home Sunday afternoon/evening.

There will be four people in our group, two kayaks and two canoes. A few of the guys will be doing some fishing, but me and fiance are more into just paddling and playing on some Class I/II stuff, as well and relaxing and enjoying the scenery.

From searching around online, it sounds like both rivers flow decently and don’t have anything too crazy on them, yet not boring. Also sounds like the put-in and take-out areas for both rivers are well accessible and pretty secure.

I appreciate any input - thanks!

The water levels are real low right now.
Both the Coosawatee and the Toccoa need about 300 cfs minimum for an acceptable run. Right now they are running about half that. Unless you and your group are equipped for and inclined toward a lot of getting out of the boat and dragging, you may want to reconsider.

I know you don’t want to run the Hiwassee for the 50th time, but at least there you have decent water.

The Hiwassee
was originally going to be our Sunday float, I guess it’s tame enough for a smaller canoe like my Pack to handle. We’ve actually only floated it once, and that was sit-on-top rental kayaks. I believe it’s only 5 miles or so, but I guess we could just run it both days if we had to. Was hoping to find some good water down toward GA.

Do you think later in the year the other two will have enough water in them, or is this strictly a precipitation-based thing for them?


It is dependent on the wide variations
in rainfall that occur in autumn. You might want to check the site to monitor water levels. It is honorable to join AW and beneficial to all.

If we had water, Talking Rock Creek is a 15 mile epic class 2 venture, just south of the Coosawattee.

Your Pack should be OK on the Hiwassee. Just bring your bailer, and try to skirt the huge waves in the last rapid by staying somewhat right.

I appreciate the input. I’m looking at the AW site now and will also have to search for info on Talking Rock Creek, this sounds like the kind of paddling we are looking for.