Georgia Water Trails
Georgia River Network considers a water trail established once there is a website and map for paddlers to reference. In addition, the trail must have a minimum of two accessible boat launches.
Click here for a printable PDF of Georgia Water Trails
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.
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).
Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area
The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area offers 48 miles of river trail available for raft, canoe, kayak, and motorboat use year round. The trail begins below Buford dam offering cold-water trout fishing, class I/II shoals, and many accessible boat ramps to plan any length float.
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. Wild and Scenic designation protects rivers from development and flow alteration. There are 5 access points over the 28 miles, and there are three seperate sections divided more or less by class of rapids and is managed by the US Forest Service.
Coosawattee 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 a Blue 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 Gilmer County Blue 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.
Etowah River Water Trail
Several counties working together to promote the Etowah River 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.
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.
Ocmulgee Heritage Trail
The Ocmulgee Heritage Trail in Macon is a multi-use park that offers a riverside park for hiking and biking trails, and offers several lengths of water trails through the park. The put in is located at Amerson Water Works Park and the take out is located at Spring Street.
The Ocmulgee Blueway Project,a project with partners from Bleckley, Houston, Twiggs and Pulaski Counties, consists of approximately 54 miles of blueway on the Ocmulgee flowing through all four counties. The ultimate hope is that the canoe trail connects to Macon and to the Altamaha and then to the Southeast Coast Salwtwater Paddling Trail on the Georgia Coast.
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.
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.
The 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 Water Trail
The Upper Chattahoochee Canoe 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. Contact www.wildwoodoutfitters.com or 706-865-4451.
Trails Under Development
Broad River Water Trail
Current plans are to include all the navigable waters of the Broad River and the 5 major tributaries. Current progress is having access to the Broad River via the end of the Hudson River on US highway 29 down to the USCoE Campground on SR 79. Five access points are established with two major access points needed in the middle to tie in the two ends. The map is complete. 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. (broadriverwatertrail.org)
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.
Columbus Whitewater Park
The first whitewater park in Georgia is under way! The city of Columbus has plans to remove two dams that are no longer in use on the Chattahoochee. The project is estimated to cost $23 million. However economic impact studies predict a $42 million return for the two cities (Columbus, GA and Phenix, AL). The project is expected to create up to 700 jobs and attract thousands of visitors from out of town every year. The park will have several park and play features as well as a 2.5 mile stretch that can be paddled.
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.
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.
Tallapoosa River Canoe Trail (The Dub Denman Canoe Trail)
The Tallapoosa River runs 265 miles from the southern end of the Appalachian mountains southward and westward through Alabama. Ten miles Northeast of Montgomery, Alabama it runs into the Coosa River to form the Alabama River and continues to the coast. It is formed by McClendon Creek and Mud Creek in Paulding County, Georgia. The Tallapoosa River was a major population center of the Creek Indians before the early 19th century. The Creek Indians consider the Tallapoosa branch of their tribe to be one of the oldest. The Dub Denman Canoe Trail is being developed with help from a grant by the Department of Natural Resources.
Yellow River Water Trail
Porterdale Yellow River Park project partners plan to develop a Water Trail (as well as walking and biking trails and open green space) along the Yellow River extending from Conyers, Georgia to the city of Porterdale. The project also anticipates preparing a plan to preserve, protect, and promote 27-acres along the Yellow River in Newton County, Georgia. The public park will be used for outdoor recreation and the promotion of environmental, recreational, and economic development for the city and local communities.
To apply for your water trail to be featured on our website, please fill out this application.
Established trails must meet the following criteria.
Public access points where paddlers can park and unload boats
Boat launches are appropriately spaced to provide sections reasonably paddled in a day
Depending on the length of the trail, water access to overnight camping sites
Information about trail provided to paddlers through a website and maps created by the sponsoring entity
Trail is sponsored, maintained and promoted by a local entity or partnership