The 3 Best White Water Rafting Outfitters on Georgia’s Wild Chattooga River

chattooga rafting
Chattooga River Rafting. Photo by Wildwater

The 3 Best Chattooga Rafting outfitters guiding trips on the Wild and Scenic “Deliverance River” are listed below with a little something special about each one. But first, a word about the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River itself. See an Interactive Map following the course of the river from the Section III put-in at Earls Ford to the take-out for Section IV at Lake Tugaloo. Read more about hiking and exploring the Chattooga River corridor one of the most remarkable natural areas in the Southeast.

Where is the Chattooga river

The Chattooga River originates in the Nantahala National forest and on private lands in North  Carolina. Flowing south, the Chattooga forms about 40 miles of the border between Georgia and South Carolina. The river drops over 2,000 feet from its headwaters to where it flows into Lake Tugaloo. Sumter National Forest in South Carolina, Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia and Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina control and protect the river.

Chattooga Is a Free Flowing River

There are no dams on the Chattooga from its headwaters to Lake Tugaloo. Water levels in the river vary with the season and the amount of rainfall. Water is usually high in the spring and early summer. The water level drops in later summer and fall. The amount of rainfall and drought have an effect of the water level for Chattooga rafting and the intensity of the rapids.

The Chattooga is a Wild and Scenic River

In 1974 the Chattooga was designated a “Wild and Scenic” river. 39.8 miles of the river are designated “wild”, 2.5 mile “scenic”, and 14.6 miles “recreational”. On sections III and IV of the river there’s a quarter mile protected corridor on both sides of the river meaning that there are no roads to the river and no development

Section III of the Chattooga River

Chattooga Rafting for families with children 8 years old and up and rafters with limited experience. Section III of the river includes Class I, II and III rapids that increase in intensity as you continue along the course of the river. Section II terminates in the Class IV Bull Sluice rapid that drops 14 feet over two drops.

Section IV of Chattooga River

Section IV is Chattooga rafting for experienced and adventurous rafters. Section IV includes the Five Falls portion river where  where three Class IV rapids come in rapid succession over a quarter mile section of river. The river drops 75 feet through Entrance, Corkscrew, Crack-in-the-Rock, Jawbone, and Sock’em Dog.

3 Top Chattooga Rafting Outfitters on the Chattooga River

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Nantahala Outdoor is one of the premier whitewater outfitters in the Southeast. Its main headquarters are in Bryson City, North Carolina, on the banks of the Nantahala River, but it maintains an outpost on the Chattooga. NOC has been leading trips on the Chattooga since 1972. The company founder Payson Kennedy was a stunt double in Deliverance. Read more about Nantahala Outdoor Center


With its Chattooga River headquarters in Long Creek, South Carolina, Wildwater was the first commercial outfitter to run the river dating back before the Chattooga was declared a National Wild and Scenic River in 1974. Wildwater offers customers a variety of lodging choices with kitchens that are within walking distance of the white water rafting trip. Read more about Wildwater

Southeastern Expeditions

Southeastern Expeditions began conducting rafting trips on the Chattooga in 1972 with equipment purchased from Warner Brothers following the filming of Deliverance. Claude Terry, the founder of Southeastern Expeditions was a consultant and stunt double in the movie. Read more about Southeastern Expeditions.

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