Paddle Brier Creek, a Gem of a Waterway in Georgia’s Savannah River Watershed

brier creek paddling

Brier Creek is simply a gem of a waterway, and for the most part, hospitable to boot. With the exception mentioned in the description below, access is very open. A hybrid of a winding plains stream and lowland swamp, the river corridor is intimate, private, and undeveloped. Our recent two-day Brier Creek paddling was exceedingly peaceful. While good campsites weren’t plentiful – this stream lacks the sandbars tucked into the inside curve of bends that define so many Coastal Plain rivers – they can be found. Our bottomland campsite, complete with camp toad, was blanketed in moss. See “Shuttle” below for a link to a Google Map with the put-in and takeout locations for this trip.

Get an Overview of the Savannah Watershed where Brier Creek is located

Book Excerpt from a Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to Georgia

An intimate stream of primeval beauty, Brier Creek’s birthplace lies near the fall line west of Augusta. Unlike most Georgia rivers of its latitude, Brier Creek paddling threads a winding path through dense vegetation reminiscent of the Coastal Plains. Shallow, sloping banks of red clay cradle the stream; trees festooned with Spanish moss arch overhead. In the section described here, it is a sizable creek, averaging 30 to 50 feet wide in the upper sections and up to 60 to 85 feet at the mouth, where it mingles with the Savannah River in a lowland swamp.

Description of the Brier Creek Waterway

Runnable downstream of the GA 56 bridge except during dry weather, the current on Brier Creek is generally slow as it flows a comparatively straight course beneath a luxurious canopy of bald cypress, sycamore, willow, and sweetgum. Graceful Spanish moss mysteriously drapes trees at streamside, which adds to the primitive atmosphere. The surrounding terrain consists of a wooded corridor with pine dominating the low, barely rolling swells beyond the river banks.

One segment of the creek is considered private by the landowner and maintained to be off-limits to boaters. The property in question begins a few miles below the bridge at Murray Hill Road, stretches past Millhaven and ends a couple of miles above Hilltonia Creek Road. Other than this stretch, the creek is exceptionally easy to access and open to public use.

As the creek approaches its mouth in Screven County, the high ground gives way to lowland swamp and bogs. Hazards to navigation consist primarily of deadfalls that may require portaging; there are no rapids.

Set up a Shuttle for Brier Creek Paddling Starting in Augusta

From Augusta, head south on US25 to Waynesboro.  South of Waynesboro, turn left onto Georgia Highway 24. Continue through Sardis, to the town of Hilltonia. Turn left onto Hiltonia Creek Road and proceed to the put-in at the creek. To get to the take-out, return to Highway 24 and turn left. At US 301, turn left and proceed to the creek. A dirt road leads to the riverside beneath the bridge. Click on this link for a Google map and follow it to the put-in and take-out locations.

USGS Brier Creek Water Gauge near Waynesboro

Flow data for two tributary streams is available online from the USGS. The minimum level for running the creek using these gauges is unknown. The maximum level is flood stage during the spring. The creek may not be runnable during the fall dry season, especially in low rainfall years.

This Brier Creek paddling guide is adapted from Canoeing and Kayaking Georgia by Suzanne Welander and Bob Sehlinger. It’s published here by permission from Menasha Ridge Press. The book covers thousands of miles of Georgia waterways from whitewater to wilderness swamps and everything in between. It’s an indispensable guide to anyone interested in paddling Georgia’s rivers and streams. Order directly from Menasha Ridge Press. See a comprehensive list of other Menasha outdoor publications indexed by title, author, category, and region.


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