Altamaha River Canoe Trail
The Altamaha River has been designated by The Nature Conservancy as one of the 75 "Last Great Places" in the world. The Altamaha Canoe Trail offers 138 miles of trail, originating near Lumber City at the confluence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers, emptying and into the Atlantic Ocean. On the canoe trail, you will float past numerous Wildlife Management Areas and Natural Areas, tidal swamps, and rich bottomland forests.
Broad River Water Trail The Broad River Water Trail runs from the Hudson River and Middle Fork Broad River to Bobby Brown State Park. It includes 10 access points (2 public and 8 on private property with public access to boat launches), plus 8 highway bridge crossings. Counties within the Watershed include: Athens-Clarke, Jackson, Habersham, Stephens, Banks, Franklin, Hart, Madison, Elbert, Oglethorpe, and Wilkes and Lincoln. The trail will ultimately be 70 miles long beginning on the Hudson or 75 miles on the Middle Fork, continuing downstream along the Broad River, and finishing in Clark’s Hill Reservoir. The Broad is one of Georgia's last free-flowing rivers and is known for its historical importance and relatively unspoiled nature, with numerous shoals and mild rapids snaking through farmlands and bounded by bluffs of up to 200 feet (60 m) in height.The National Park Service recognized 99 miles of the Broad River as pristine enough to qualify for consideration in the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers System. (www.broadriverwatertrail.org)
The Augusta Canal, leftover from the industrial era, remains intact and offers three levels for paddlers and hikers to enjoy. On the first level paddlers can float through unique granite ledges and an experience wildlife that has returned to take advantage of the newly formed wetland refuge. The second and third level flow through downtown and are less accessible than the first level. The canal has earned designations under the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark. It is also part of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area (www.augustacanal.com).
Chattooga National Wild and Scenic River
A 28-mile portion of the Chattooga River was designated as a National Wild and Scenic River in the early 1970's and is managed by the US Forest Service. Wild and Scenic designation protects rivers from development and flow alteration. There are 5 access points over the 28 miles, and there are five seperate sections divided more or less by class of rapids.
Etowah River Water Trail
Several counties working together to promote the EtowahRiver Water Trail are purchasing land along the river and setting funds aside for greenspace. The City of Canton, Cherokee, Forsyth and Dawson counties are currently working on developing launch sites along the Etowah River. To date there are only 2 major launches on the northern end of the Etowah River both located in Dawson County. One a public launch maintained by Dawson County Parks and Rec on Hwy 9 and the other a private launch and parking area at Kelly Bridge owned by the Kelly Family. Cherokee County and the City of Canton are working with the Mountain Stewards, Upper Etowah River Alliance and Georgia Mountain Trust to build 2-3 new launches by years end. Forsyth County is asking the Board of Commissioners for permission in July to move forward with constructions documents for a parking lot and launch at Old Federal Road with an expected date of construction completion in summer of 2011. If all of the above happens there will be approximately 30 miles of the Etowah Canoe trail and 5 access points to the river from Dawson County to Lake Allatoona by summer 2011.
Headwaters North Georgia Water Trail (Coosawattee Blue Trail/ Gilmer County Blue Trail)
Beginning as high altitude, small, mountain streams in Gilmer County, Georgia, the Coosawattee River and its tributaries are the headwaters of the Coosa/Alabama/Mobile river system that flows through Alabama to Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The Coosawattee Watershed Alliance in cooperation with Gilmer County, Corps of Engineers, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Mountain Stewards has created the Headwaters North Georgia Water Trail that extends from the headwaters of the Cartecay and Ellijay rivers to their confluence as the Coosawattee River, along the Coosawattee River and through Carters Lake. Canoe launches and waterway-accessible campsites have been revitalized and constructed to encourage recreational use of this important waterway. From the rolling whitewater headwaters to impoundment created by the largest earthen dam in the eastern US, the Headwaters North Georgia Water Trail covers approximately 60 miles of paddling water. With strategically located canoe and kayak launches and campsites, recreationists, fishermen and paddlers can enjoy a few hours or days on Gilmer County’s streams, rivers and lakes.
Ocmulgee River Water Trail The Ocmulgee River Water Trail encompasses approximately 200 miles of water trail stretching from Macon to the river's confluence with the Oconee River near Lumber City, which then forms the main stem of the Altamaha River.
The Ocmulgee River Water Trail was created and is maintained as a result of the formation of the Ocmulgee River Water Trail Partnership which consists of eleven counties including: Bibb, Ben Hill, Bleckley, Coffee, Dodge, Houston, Jeff Davis, Pulaski, Telfair, Twiggs and Wilcox Counties.
Okefenokee Wilderness Area Canoe Trails
The Okefenokee Wilderness Area offers over 400,000 acres of wetlands and swamps to explore with seven overnight shelters. Paddlers can float through cypress forests, wet prairies, and pine uplands with plenty of opportunity to see a variety of wildlife.
Tallapoosa River Canoe Trail (The Dub Denman Canoe Trail)
The Tallapoosa River runs 24 miles in Haralson County before entering Alabama where it runs into the Coosa River to form the Alabama River and continues to the coast. The Tallapoosa River was a major population center of the Creek Indians before the early 19th century. Most of the land surrounding the river is agricultural and for the fisherman, Spotted bass is the predominant species found. The Dub Denman Canoe Trail was developed with help from a grant by the Department of Natural Resources. There are currently two paved launch sites in Haralson County: Poplar Springs Road and Broad Street, both in Tallapoosa. There are three additional sites planned for future development.
Toccoa River Canoe Trail
The Toccoa River Canoe Trail located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia begins at the Deep Hole Recreation Area and flows 13.8 miles to the take out at Sandy Bottoms. The trail offers excellent fishing opportunities and some rapids for the whitewater enthusiast.
Southeast Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division and Coastal Resources Commission have created a GA coastal trail that connects with existing trails that reach from Chesapeake Bay all the way to the state of Florida.
Upper Chattahoochee River Water Trail
The Upper ChattahoocheeRiver Water Trail is approximately 39 miles long and is located above Lake Lanier, beginning at the confluence of Sautee Creek and the Chattahoochee in White County and ending at Clarks Bridge County Park. There are 7 access points along the corridor that can be used by boaters. Wildwood Outfitters provides access to several DNR sites that are not yet open to full public access.
Yellow River Water Trail
An intimate river with a Piedmont flavor, the Yellow River Water Trail stretches from suburban Atlanta to Lake Jackson covering the counties of Gwinnett, Dekalb, Rockdale and Newton with put-in and take-out points located approximately every 4-6 miles. The 53 mile river has a wide array of wildlife and a rich history from prior mill towns and Native American Indian settlements.
The Alapaha River Water Trail connects about 85 miles of the 190-mile Alapaha River from US 82 in Berrien County, Georgia to the Suwannee River in Hamilton County, Florida. Its tea-colored tannin waters class it as a blackwater river, flowing below bald cypress, longleaf, slash, and loblolly pines, and majestic oaks, with great blue herons, snapping turtles, alligators, and fish. Mostly flat, the Alapaha River also contains rapids, many springs, and the Alapaha Sink and the Dead River Sink where it goes underground until it comes back up in the Alapaha Rise. Covering its entire flood plain in the rainy season, and less than a foot deep in spots during dry spells, the Alapaha River is a treasure and a challenge. The Alapaha River Water Trail also includes the Alapahoochee River, as well as many lakes, ponds, and swamps that are boatable year round. The Alapaha River Water Trail project is being developed by the WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems).
Columbus Whitewater Park
The first whitewater park in Georgia is here! Touted as the longest urban whitewater rafting in the world, the course has been described to be as “Wild as Colorado and as Warm as Costa Rica.” USA Today picked the Chattahoochee Whitewater Park as one of the Top 12 man-made Adventures in the World! This course consists of class III-V whitewater at high water. The city of Columbus has removed two dams that are no longer in use on the Chattahoochee. The project, which cost an $23 million and is expected to create up to 700 jobs and has already attracted thousands of visitors from out of town. Economic impact studies predict a $42 million return for the two cities (Columbus, GA and Phenix, AL). The park has several park and play features as well as a 2.5 mile stretch that can be paddled. The course starts right below the North Highland Dam and finishes behind the Columbus Iron Works Convention and Trade Center.
Conasauga Canoe Trail
Conasauga River Alliance is partnering with Dalton Utilities, Limestone Valley RC&D, Whitfield County, WWF, and Coca Cola to complete a water trail on a section of the Conasauga. Efforts for the trail are beginning within Whitfield County with hopes of working up and downstream from there. Currently there are two access points, one in Beaverdale, GA behind the Superette gas station, and one at Dalton Utilities at Norton Bridge. Dalton Utilities is contributing by building and funding a launch on their property. The river between these two access points is an easy 3-5 hour paddle (unless we are in a dry period or heavy rain). The riparian zone is intact, and although you can't see it from the river, the surrounding land-use is mostly agricultural. This is a great section to see lots of wildlife both aquatic and terrestrial including, gar and fresh water drum, osprey, river otter, groundhogs, deer and turkey.
Middle Chattahoochee Blueway
The goal for the project is to ultimately create a blueway on the Chattahoochee River for canoes and kayaks from the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area at Peachtree Creek (Fulton County) to Chattahoochee Bend State Park (Coweta County), approximately 53 miles. The blueway will also include Sweetwater Creek State Park and possibly additional sites, such as Moores Bridge Park and McIntosh Reserve.
The Ochlockonee River Water Trail will wind about 56 miles through the southwest Georgia counties of Colquitt, Thomas and Grady before crossing into Florida and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The river runs through a bottom land-land forest amongst cypress, black gum, oak and willow, to name a few. Sandbars, beaches, pine forests, and oxbow lakes buffet its winding course. Wildlife is abundant. River conditions usually are appropriate for all ages and accessible at least November through July. Deadfalls are known to obstruct some portions of the river, however, paddlers can run the river most of the year. Local paddlers and fisherman know the many beauties of the southwest Georgia section of the Ochlocknee. The development of the Ochlocknee River Water Trail with its group of supporters hopes to make the river an asset to all three counties and the economy of southwest Georgia. Additional information will be available as the Ochlockonee River Water Trail and Watershed group develops. The Ochlockonee River Water Trail hopes to include many partnerships throughout southwest Georgia and North Florida. Soon there will be sections of the river identified and accessible to paddlers and boaters.
The 39.5 miles of the Middle and North Oconee Rivers that flow through Athens-Clarke County have been the focus of the Oconee River Water Trails project. The current and proposed North Oconee Greenway cooridor runs adjacent to the proposed North Oconee Water Trail through downtown Athens and University of Georgia Campus. The organizations supporting the water trails include the Upper Oconee Watershed Network, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services, Oconee River Greenway Commission, UGA Office of Sustainability, and UGA College of Environment and Design.
The Satilla River Water Trail (SRWT) is located in Southeast Georgia within Coffee, Atkinson, Ware, Pierce, Brantley, Charlton, and Camden County. The trail will ultimately be 175 miles long beginning on Hwy 441 Bridge continuing downstream along the Satilla River, and finishing in the City of Woodbine. The water trail is currently being developed by the Satilla Riverkeeper, Pierce County, and communities within the watershed with intensive technical assistance provided by Georgia River Network. The Satilla River is among the last free-flowing rivers in Georgia. The river supports a significant number of plants and animals, including endangered and threatened species, and is an industrial and agricultural water supply for the region.
South River Water Trail South River Watershed Alliance plans to develop the South River Water Trail extending from Panola Shoals to Klondike Road, a distance of approximately 5 1/2 miles. To run in tandem with completion of required water trail planning and development actions, the project will incorporate two complementary restoration activities - the ongoing systematic removal of spent tires which will enhance the river's aesthetic value and preparation for the reintroduction of river cane to the banks of South River which will increase wildlife habitat and improve water quality.
Where the Tennessee River Blueway dips down to touch the boundaries of Georgia and Alabama, state lines blur under the waters of the big river’s feeder streams: Lookout Creek and South, West, and North Chickamauga Creeks. All flow from the ridges of northwest Georgia into the Tennessee River Valley, through small towns that are working hard to build a blueway system that will expand paddling opportunities for hundreds of miles. Known as “West Chick” and “South Chick” to local paddlers, both these Northwest GA creeks are relatively unexplored. Both meander through small towns, and by residential neighborhoods and farms. As they get closer to the metro Chattanooga, TN area, the creeks provide wildlife refuges and amazingly quiet places to paddle in a busy, urban environment. There are 8 total access points (3 on the West Chick (2 in GA) and 5 on the South Chick (2 in GA)). Recommended day trips are from Ringgold, GA to Graysville, GA on South Chick, or from Chickamauga, GA to Ft. Oglethorpe, GA on West Chick. Both of these trips are long day trips and not suitable for beginner paddlers or those who cannot portage, but they offer beautiful scenery and a few riffles here and there. West Chick, in particular, still contains several large strainers that need to be portaged around.
St. Mary's River Paddling Trail
The St. Mary's is a blackwater stream that originates in the Okefenokee. It serves as the border between Florida and Georgia at the southern most tip of Georgia. Florida Greenways and Trails designates the stretch from Highway 121 bridge at McClenny to Scotts Landing in Boulogne as a state paddling trail. The St. Mary's River Management Committee (SMRMC), which is an interlocal agreement between the four counties sharing the river, Camden & Charlton in Georgia, Baker & Nassau in Florida, also works for the protection of the St. Mary's, sponsoring an annual river cleanup, and the St. Mary's River Celebration.
Established Trails Must Meet the Following Criteria:
Trail is sponsored, maintained and promoted by a local entity or partnership.
Publicly accessible areas that paddlers can legally access and safely unload boats and park vehicles.
River access sites are appropriately spaced apart on the river so that they may be reasonably paddled in a few hours or a full day.
Depending on the length of the trail, water access to public overnight camping sites.
Information about the water trail provided to paddlers through a website and illustrative maps created by the sponsoring entity.
Signage/ kiosks placed at all water trail access points that include: river etiquette information, paddling safety information, and a map of the water trail.
Georgia Water Trails Website
Welcome to the Water Trails website. Here you can find information about existing and developing water trails in Georgia. If your area doesn't have a trail, there is information under the toolkit on how to get one started.
Did you miss GRN's 4th Water Trails Workshop? If so, don't fret - all the presentations are online for your viewing pleasure!
Georgia River Network's Water Trails Workshop - 'Water Trails that Work' brought together water trail experts and representatives from around the State to discover and share the keys to developing a successful water trail.
The full gamut of water trail topics were covered in the PRESENTATIONS so make sure to check them out as well as the groovy PHOTOS taken by Anne Ledbetter!
Georgia Water Trails Newsletter
This monthly e-newsletter includes water trail updates and useful resources as well as upcoming workshops, paddling trips, and other exciting news regarding water trails in the U.S. ~ Sign up below!
At Georgia River Network, we envision a clean water future for Georgia. Find out about the issues we're working on now to make this dream a reality. Learn about it here.
Our Water Trails Clearinghouse is designed to help you find great places to paddle in Georgia and also to give you the tools to create paddling opportunities in your community. Learn more here.
Paddle Georgia is a 7 day trip on a different river each June. Be sure to sign up for the Paddle Georgia newsletter to stay in touch with the going on! Visit the official Paddle Georgia website or our YouTube channelto learn more.
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