Ocmulgee River

Does anyone have any information on the Ocmulgee River? I’m looking to start near Juliette and paddle to Macon. It’s only about fifteen miles so I would do a day paddle. Any information on water level, portages…

If all goes well, more downstream trips in the future.

I have done both sections. At Juliette,
we had to walk the boat down on the right side, under some old factory works, to get to the water. The first section, down to the highway bridge, is mild with few rapids. You will see Falling Creek enter on the left just before you pass the Dames Ferry Landing.

The next section has more rapids, but they are well-spaced, do not exceed low class 2, and should give you no trouble.

We used to take out on the right below the Arkwright power plant. If you choose to continue to Macon, you will have to identify and pre-scout a take out. You might use Google Earth to scout the Arkwright take out. For some reason it is no longer listed in “A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to Georgia.” They do refer to a “Spring Street” take out in Macon.

No portages, no hard rapids, mostly forested. Note that the river depth varies quite a bit due to releases from Lake Jackson, and releases are “automatic” and hard to predict. But these sections are runnable at low water, though picky. If water is low, consider running just one of the two sections to make it easy on yourself.

By the way, most of the “action” is
between the put-ins below Lloyd Shoals Dam, and the USFS Wise Creek take out. There is some low class 3, and at lower water levels, very accurate maneuvers are needed, and scouting can help.

From Wise Creek, the river is almost flat to the next hwy bridge. By that time, one is in the backwater of the old dam at Juliette. The portage of the Juliette dam is on the right, and kind of a nuisance. I wish they could break the old dam out and let the river run.

So you can see that the sections you plan to run are the easiest and most trouble-free. Above Juliette is another matter.

Some really great information. The best came via email. I’ll post a trip report when I return from this section.

Next time you would like to paddle any of Ocmulgee I could paddle, if you would like too. I have done most of these sections. The American Whitewater mentions the water flow and descriptions.


Seeking outfitters near Macon
Looks like the folks answering on this thread know about Macon. I’m looking for a group outfitter for kayaks and canoes, including a few guides, for a possible group outing next June on the Ocmulgee. Families.

Please e-mail me privately.



Give these guys a try. They are located in Macon. http://www.ocmulgeeexpeditions.com/

Ocmulgee River
On the Web: OcmulgeeExpeditions.com

Phone: 757-8226

More: reservations@OcmulgeeExpeditions.com

Glad to see an outfitter identified. If
you ever need details on the upper section, Lloyd Shoals Dam to Wise Creek, let me know.

Portage Class III–40 acres
You can portage the class III on river right. Apparently, the land owner doesn’t squawk if you use his land to portage the rapid, but during Paddle GA a few years back he wouldn’t let the paddlers use the land to do the portage.

I’ve never portaged on river right, but I heard it is brutal.

You can sneak the class III by going between the island (river left) and the far river right side channel.

Below is the AW website that talks about the whitewater section of the river. Note the comments and the recent strainers in 40 acres island. The 40 acres island area can be a maze.


Don’t go down the far left channel because it always has strainers in it.

Good luck! I’ve paddled several miles of the Ocmulgee from below the dam to Macon and it is a beautiful river. One winter day we saw a bald eagle soaring above us.

I wouldn’t think the rightside portage
would be that bad. I walked it once, sans boat, after running the rapid. The hardest part would be down toward the end of the portage.

The rapid is not that hard to run if you have someone there who knows the route. You don’t run the sharp ledge over toward the right. Instead, you start over toward the big island at the left of the channel. Then you run toward the right, cutting just below a small islandish outcrop, and then left down a chute. Sharp maneuvers but not hard. Note, however, that the 2009 flood was so severe that it may have changed visual landmarks.

Just did this Oct 3/4
Yep, I know this topic is a few months old, but…

Just did this exact section at the beginning of October. We put in just below the Juliette Dam, and took our time, two days, to get to Macon. Four kayaks, and my SUC, the Sport Utility Canoe. My thoughts, the small boats had no issues really, anywhere. My canoe, that was different. We had everything in the canoe with us and the river was about 6’, which meant we were doing a lot of watching for rocks.

We camped on the middle island, just below the Highway 18 bridge. The sandbar was exposed and made for a great spot for us. Lot’s of sand below that section, and a low riding canoe was not the choice mode of transportation. The kayaks did a great job of spotting for us for though.

We took out at the Amerson Waterworks park. Then found out that the park was closed due to some archeological issues in the park. It’s about a 3/4 mile walk to the gate, and too much gear! Spring St. landing had a sewage issue at the time, so that was out of the question.

I intend on doing this again, but will definitley be in a smaller boat this time, so I don’t end up as the pack mule of the trip! Also a good read…


We used to take out near the Arkwright
power plant. It is a little difficult to pull gear up the bank. Don’t know if that take out is still usable.

You’re lucky to have avoided the recent floods. They must have torn up the banks and islands considerably.

Not too bad

– Last Updated: Oct-28-09 1:56 PM EST –

we were really surprised that it hadn't, as the flood waters really were still on the way down. We saw a lot more evidence of the flooding the closer we got to Macon. Even in WaterWorks park, there was a water line on the trees and hedges over a 1/4 mile into the park, so the water was well over 20' lower than it had been just a week before.

We saw evidence also of items being washed down stream. There was a Barbie Power Wheels jeep stuck on the bank, and two hundred yards further was a big Ford Power Wheels! The island at Dames Ferry was not really bad at all. More than enough area to set up five tents, and pull all the boats up on the sand. The island was pretty bare of any dead wood though. We did find gather enough from around the area to keep a fire going and restart it the next morning though.

The strangest part, was sitting up at midnight and watching a light come bobbing down the river toward us. A guy, his wife, and another couple in a canoe were all heading down through the rocks in the middle of the night! They stopped and sat by our fire for a bit, and then headed down to Popes Ferry! Kinda surreal moment!