Monday, December 13, 2010

Paddling Around Dahlonega

The following is a part of a series on "Everything You Ever Needed to Know about Dahlonega's Outdoor Sports."

The Chestatee River
Photo Credit.
The town of Dahlonega is surrounded by several rivers and sizable streams: the Chestatee River, the Etowah River, Yahoola Creek, Cooper Creek, the Toccoa River, and more. It seems like everywhere you turn you're driving across a bridge or overlooking a river!

Since I am not a regular paddler myself, this look at the river culture of Dahlonega is based off of what limited observations I have been able to make, people I have talked to, and the research I have been able to do on the internet.

Down on the Chestatee there are a couple of touristy outfits renting out inflatable tubes to tourists, but thankfully they aren't as plentiful as the tourist outfits over in Helen are. The Chestatee is wide and slow, making it ideal for those tubing businesses as well as canoeing. In fact, one of the rental places, Appalachian Outfitters, rents canoes and kayaks as well as tubes, making it a much more legitimate establishment. One of the parking lots near that business is designated as a public put-in/take-out spot, and I have noticed several other unofficial landing spots along other parts of the river.

The Toccoa River located north of Dahlonega near Blue Ridge is another popular river for canoeing. There are several canoe launches along it, complete with National Forest campsites and bathrooms. Near the Aska area there are several outfitters that also rent canoes if you are looking to try this sport out for the first time or don't want to haul your canoe with you on vacation. More information on canoeing the Toccoa River is available here.

More aggressive whitewater can be found on Yahoola Creek and the Etowah River. The guys that live in the apartment next door to me are totally stoked on whitewater kayaking. During the summertime it seems like their kayaks never leave the backs of their vehicles as they are always out on the water. Based on the short conversations I've had with them about it, Yahoola Creek is one of their favorites.

I also asked Rob S., a GRT reader located nearby in North Georgia who is also an avid whitewater kayaker, what his recommendations would be for some good whitewater kayaking in the area.  Here was his reply:
Here's a quick run down on some of the more frequent runs. You can check them out on the American Whitewater Website.

Upper Amicalola(below 53 Bridge) Class III(IV), Frogtown Creek - Class IV-V, Upper Chattahoochee - Class II, Cartecay - Class II+, Chattooga - Class II-IV(Depending on Section), Overflow Creek - Class IV-V, Tallulah - Class IV/IV+(V+), & Ocoee - Class III+. All are in NE Georgia except the Ocoee. Here is a link to the American Whitewater Georgia Page. It has great beta on our North Georgia Whitewater Rivers....
 There are local canoeing and kayaking opportunities aplenty, and hopefully the information here will help you find some great spots to paddle!

Your Turn: Are you a paddler with more detailed first-hand information about the rivers and streams in the area? Please drop a comment below and give us the low-down!


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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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