Vickery Creek is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. Belying its metropolitan location, the stream is narrow and intimate as it flows between brush-covered banks for most of its length. The sights and sounds of the city are never far away, however. The section of Vickery Creek paddling described below provides a convenient, although brief, Class II-III paddling experience. Nearly 2 miles of creek is followed by an optional 1 mile paddle down the plains of the Chattahoochee.
USGS & COUNTY Maps for Vickery Creek Paddling
Roswell, Mountain Park (USGS); Fulton (County)
Oxbow Road to Azalea Drive on the Chattahoochee River
Class: II-III; Length: 3.0 miles (includes 1.0 on the Chattahoochee); Time: 2.5 hours; Gauge: Web; Level: 55 Cubic feet per second; Gradient: 42 feet per mile; Scenery: C
Vickery Creek paddling passes through the residential fringes south of Roswell and thus is no stranger to development. Houses overlook its banks in several sections, and aqueducts feeding water to Roswell cross over the stream occasionally. Though aqueducts present more of an aesthetic blight than a danger, be careful when approaching them at higher water levels. Water quality is typical of urban streams.
The oldest development on the creek is a scenic wonder: a 30- foot-high stone dam that was part of the textile mill complex built in 1838. A mandatory portage of the dam is recommended in order to avoid bodily harm. The rapids below the dam are technical at any time and become more difficult in high water. Normally Class II, when the water is up they approach Class III in difficulty.
The National Park Service maintains a small park with hiking trails near the mouth of the creek that can be used as a take-out. Otherwise, continue Vickery Creek paddling a placid mile of the Chattahoochee and take out downstream on the river’s right.
From the Roswell Road bridge over the Chattahoochee, turn west onto Azalea Drive. Georgia Power maintains a public boat ramp on the Chattahoochee River less than a mile ahead on the left. The alternate take-out is in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, 0.1 mile east of Roswell Road on Riverside Road. From either take-out, return to Roswell/Atlanta Road and turn north toward Roswell. Continue 1.3 miles to a right turn onto Oxbow Road. The put-in is at a small park on the right.
The USGS Web site provides real-time data for the gauge located 7 miles upstream at Kimball Bridge Road in Alpharetta. The minimum runnable level is 55 cfs. The maximum is 250 cfs for open boats and flood stage for decked boats.
This Vickery Creek paddling guide is adapted from Canoeing and Kayaking Georgia by Suzanne Welander and Bob Sehlinger and published here in cooperation with Menasha Ridge Press. Canoeing and Kayaking Georgia 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.