Spring on the Satilla

Paddle Georgia 2018 Journey Details

Paddle Georgia 2015Paddle Georgia returns to middle Georgia for a journey down the lightly traveled but beautiful Yellow River in suburban metro Atlanta before descending the Ocmulgee River to Macon. You’ll slide over shoals on the Yellow, portage around decades-old mill dams and cross a small portion of Lake Jackson before descending to the fall line over lively shoals and rapids between Monitcello and Macon on the Ocmulgee. If you like paddling peaceful Piedmont rivers broken by frequent shoals and rapids this is your journey!

Paddle Georgia takes on the Yellow River for the first time. Beginning in the long shadows of Stone Mountain, the rock that underlies Georgia’s iconic mountain will be revealed along our paddle route as it creates impressive shoals and rapids at old mill dams in Milstead and Porterdale. Portaging around these historic dams will provide access to little traveled and spectacularly beautiful portions of this unheralded river. Leaving behind Atlanta’s suburbs, we will travel the Ocmulgee which sports its own sets of impressive shoals—including a Class III obstacle that we will portage. The Ocmulgee even takes us past Juliette, the famous shooting location for the movie Fried Green Tomatoes (you can stop and sample some during our portage around Juliette Dam). The trip ends at Macon’s Amerson Park, the city’s premiere riverside park where we will enjoy our traditional river’s end feast.

Paddle Georgia 2018 Itinerary on the

Yellow and Ocmulgee Rivers

Day 1, June 16: Milstead Mamba – Gwinnett County to Milstead Dam - 14 miles
Day 2, June 17: Porterdale Polka – Milstead Dam to Porterdale - 15 miles
Day 3, June 18: Rocky Plains Rumba – Porterdale to Bert Adams Scout Camp - 11 miles
Day 4, June 19: Lake Jackson Jive –Bert Adams Scout Camp to Lake Jackson- 6 miles
Day 5, June 20: Lloyd Shoals Limbo - Lloyd Shoals Dam to Ga. 83- 13 miles
Day 6, June 21: Fried Green Tomatoes Tap –Ga. 83 to Popes Ferry- 14 miles
Day 7, June 22: Macon Moonwalk – Popes Ferry to Amerson Park - 11 miles

Day 1: Milstead MambaLaunching in Gwinnett County near Stone Mountain, this 14-mile jaunt is highlighted by impressive rock outcroppings, shoals and rapids that serve as a reminder of the granite monolith and the underlying geology of the area. The day ends at historic Milstead Dam with a trailer-assisted portage through the ruins of the circa 1902 cotton mill.

Day 2: Porterdale Polka— It’s 15 miles from the shoals below Milstead Dam to Porterdale Dam, situated in an idyllic mill village, complete with imposing riverside mill buildings that have been restored into residences. Between the two, the paddling is peaceful with long stretches of flatwater and occasional small shoals. The day ends at Yellow River Park, our campsite for the first four days of our journey.

Day 3: Rocky Plains Rumba— A trailer-assisted portage around Porterdale Dam will provide entry into the spectacularly beautiful shoal complex below the dam—a portion of river that is rarely visited by paddlers. Beyond Cedar Shoals, the river returns to its peaceful ways running 11 miles to Bert Adams Scout Camp.

Day 4: Lake Jackson Jive— No Paddle Georgia would be complete without a little lake paddling! This is especially true on the oft-dammed Yellow and Ocmulgee Rivers. This six-mile day spends about half its time on the flowing Yellow before the river finally widens into the backwaters of Lake Jackson. A trailer-assisted portage will take us to our launch site for Day 5 on the Ocmulgee River.

Day 5: Lloyd Shoals Limbo— This 13-mile introduction to the Ocmulgee is a beauty. Lively shoals, expansive islands and the Oconee National Forest highlight the run that includes a stop and un-assisted portage around historic Lamar Mill, where the stone remains of this circa-1840s mill can still be seen. The portage route also includes a perfectly-sized ledge and waterfall ideal for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Day 6: Fried Green Tomatoes Tap—Movie buffs and foodies will have a time on this 14-mile ride. Our route takes us through Juliette, the picturesque circa-1920s mill village that was converted to a movie set for the filming of the 1991 box office hit Fried Green Tomatoes. During our trailer-assisted portage around the old mill dam, you can stop and order a plate of the town’s signature dish at the Whistle Stop Café. For those who prefer water-based excitement, there will be plenty of that, including a wild ride over ledges at Dames Ferry rapid.

Day 7: Macon Moon Walk— The shoals continue on this final 11-mile day to Macon as the Ocmulgee makes its final descent from the rocky Piedmont and into the sandy Coastal Plain at Macon. The trip ends at Macon-Bibb County’s Amerson Park where we’ll enjoy our traditional river’s end feast and celebration.


Virtual Paddle Georgia Journey!


The map below provides locations for launch sites, take out sites, portages and campsites for Paddle GA 2018.


Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Research Project

Join Georgia Adopt-A-Stream to assess the health of the river. During the trip, you can become certified as a Georgia Adopt-A-Stream citizen water monitor and assist the Adopt-A-Stream team with their week-long water monitoring program. Click here to learn more about Georgia Adopt-A-Stream. If you are interested in becoming a certified citizen water monitor, be sure to indicate so when you register for Paddle Georgia!