Thrills Await on a North Georgia Whitewater Rafting Trip
There is nothing like a thrilling North Georgia rafting trip to take away all your cares. This brief but informative guide will tell you what to expect and what you’ll see on this beautiful stretch of nature.
Prepare yourself for cataracts, gorges, lazy rivers, and beautiful state parks. You’ll be so happy you added this pinch of adrenaline to your North Georgia vacation. Just be sure you have a cozy cabin rental to go back to after your long day trip on the river!
These are the best places to embark on river rafting in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Cartecay, Ellijay, and Coosawattee Rivers
Photo Credits: evandood3, tarynuptheworld andnikilauren7 via Instagram
For varying degrees of intensity, look no further than this watershed stretching from the mountains into West Georgia. The Cartecay River is the southern fork of what will become the Coosawattee River hosting Class-II whitewater rapids. This 19-mile long river is perfect for a beginner or more casual group interested in North Georgia mountains rafting.
The northern fork of the Coosawattee River is the Ellijay River, which is only 15 miles long, ending in the town of Ellijay. It is a slower-flowing fork of the river, allowing beginners and families to kayak, hike, tube, or raft down its scenic shores. The beautiful nature surrounding this tributary gives way to a vibrant and proud small town, who love rafting their river alongside enthusiastic tourists.
The Coosawattee River is almost 50 miles long, stretching west from Ellijay and mingling with another branch known as the Conasauga. This forms the Oostanaula River that continues west into Rome and beyond into Alabama. Coosawattee is a historical river and is important to the Cherokee Nation. It features more class-II rapids that you can tackle by yourself so if you’d like to raft this wild and scenic river, you’ll need to book a guide with lots of experience.
Photo Credit: Exeter_Acres
The Chattahoochee River runs through nearly the entire state of Georgia, from North Georgia all the way to the southwest, cutting through Atlanta along the way. For much of the river, it’s quite calm. In areas near Atlanta, it’s common to hear people say they’re going to “Shoot the ‘Hooch,” which means lazily floating down the river on tubes.
While not that calm in all parts, it’s a great river to enjoy calmer water sports like paddle boarding, kayaking, or canoeing as well. If you’re planning a trip to go whitewater rafting in North Georgia, you might want to ease your kids into the idea by taking them on a calm tubing trip first so they can gain some confidence in the water.
Plan Your Whitewater Rafting Trip
Whether a beginner or experienced, North Georgia offers a variety of rafting options for everyone. Only a few short hours away from Atlanta, you’ll feel much farther away as you splash your way down these Georgia rivers.
Families and groups of friends find the ease and beauty of Ellijay and the surrounding tributaries relaxing and inviting. For those interested in more than just North Georgia rafting, state parks like Tallulah Gorge are more laid back and open to casual outdoor enthusiasts. If you're really up for a challenge, Chattooga, with its intense and dramatic scenery, is sure to get your heart racing.
When planning your North Georgia whitewater rafting trip, we recommend you organize your trip with one of these experienced rafting companies:
- Nantahala Outdoor Center: A large number of tours in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and abroad.
- Rolling Thunder River Company: Tours available for rating on the Ocoee River, Nantahala River, and the Toccoa River.
- Southeastern Expeditions: Rafting Tours on Section III and Section IV of the Chattooga River.
- Wildwater Chattooga Ridge Adventure Center: Choose from white water rafting, zipline canopy tours, and other outdoor adventures, horseback riding.
With this, you’re ready to enjoy whitewater rafting in North Georgia. With so many great rivers to choose from and different class rapids, you’ll be able to find the perfect outing for you, based on your skill level and adventure meter.