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Where to raft in Georgia?
June 15, 2012 11:51 AM   Subscribe

White Water Rafting in Georgia; where to go for a newbie?

I'm planning on taking a last minute trip up to GA from Florida for some white water rafting, along with any other adventures I can come across. I would prefer locations that will A) Be best this time of year, and B) Places closer to Florida. If B does not exist, default to A. Thank you for any advice. This will be my second time rafting ever, but I consider myself fit and am not too worried about the difficulty. Any other outdoor adventures you can suggest are also welcome! Thanks!
posted by Stan Grossman to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Well, I hate to mention it, but the Ocoee in TN (way north of where you are) is a terrific whitewater rafting venue. Except for that whole Deliverance thing....(actually that was the Chatooga River)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:55 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Chatooga is terrific; I've rafted it. It can be dangerous, and thrilling. Be sure to get a good outfitter or guide. My info's probably out of date or I'd suggest one.
Also the Nantahala.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 12:13 PM on June 15, 2012


I used to guide around there. The Ocoee is like a roller coster, very bouncy and continuous for an hour or more. It is fun, and is dam controlled so you are going to have a reasonable flow no matter what. If you want a longer trip with some exciting drops, the Chatooga is great, but is not controlled and may or may not have good water levels depending on recent rain or lack thereof. The Pigeon is dam controlled some days, and is fun but short. I haven't rafted it but I kayaked it and like the Ocoee better. The Nantahala is the easiest in terms of difficulty. It is also dam controlled but the water comes out the bottom of the dam and is very cold. You can probably do an inflatable kayak trip on that to make it more challenging.
posted by procrastination at 12:28 PM on June 15, 2012


If you were going to rent a boat, the Hiwassee is also an option, but as a former guide on the Ocoee: Yeah, the Ocoee is continuous whitewater, warm, known to be running, and a heck of a lot of fun.
posted by straw at 12:43 PM on June 15, 2012


I was also a guide there. The Chatooga is great. It s very beautiful, and is designated a Wild and Scenic river. It is water flow dependent, though, and when its low it is not as exciting. The Ocoee is like an amusement park ride. If I remember correctly, both are about equidistant from Atlanta. I don't know of good rafting close to Florida. You need mountains for good rafting.
posted by OmieWise at 6:01 PM on June 15, 2012


nthing the Ocoee. I rafted the middle Ocoee with Quest Expeditions in 2008 and had a fantastic time. Since you'd be driving from Florida, I recommend a combo trip (middle+upper) which is longer and also includes the Olympics course, IIRC.
posted by elerina at 6:12 PM on June 15, 2012


I have raft guided, but not in that region. However - I have kayaked most of the rivers people have mentioned.

Nantahala - This river is easy. Good if you want a really relaxing family float, but not that much excitement. Plus, it's probably a bit farther away from you than either of the others.

Ocoee - I nth everybody who describes it as a roller coaster. Go for the Upper Ocoee for bigger rapids, but the Middle is also great with some biggish stuff. Doing both together would make for an awesome day. Either section is waaaay more excting than the Nantahala. I really enjoyed the Ocoee, but aside from a stretch of the Upper, it doesn't feel very remote, and there will be loads of other rafts. It's roadside.

Chatooga - As others have said, it is very beautiful, feels (and is!) remote, and is where Deliverance was filmed. When I kayaked it, it was lowish water. Where the Ocoee feels like a rollercoaster, riding down wave trains and punching holes, there is a lot more precision maneuvering on the Chatooga. It's also significantly more dangerous, IMO. There are undercuts (places where water flows under rocks) all over the place. A responsible raft company will force guests to walk at least one spot, and will have guides stationed with throwropes at a number of others, as there are places that you do NOT want to be swimming.
posted by Metasyntactic at 6:28 PM on June 15, 2012


I'm not sure why everyone is spelling Chattooga with one "t", but you might find the googling easier to spell it Chattooga. As a couple of other people mentioned, the Ocoee is dam controlled and Chattooga is natural flow. Currently the Chattooga is running at 1.4 feet which is on the low side -- the flat sections on Section IV get a little scrapey in a raft at that level. The Chattooga starts to get fun at 1.8 and up. For a guided trip any time between now and the fall, I would recommend the Ocoee. The Hiawassee and Nantahala are easier and more suited to a self-guided trip. There are quite a few raft companies guiding on the Ocoee; if you wanted a starting point, I'm partial to Southeastern Expeditions.
posted by kovacs at 10:52 AM on June 16, 2012


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