Kayak Georgia’s Little Satilla for 10 miles of Tea-Dark Water and Swamp Forests

little satilla river kayaking
Kayaking the Little Satilla. Photo by SouthEast Adventure Outfitters

Thick, luxurious swamp forest of swamp blackgum, sweetbay, pine, and cypress confine this brownish-red stream as it winds an intricate southeastwardly path to the main Satilla. Unlike its larger namesake, which displays massive white-sandbars at low water, Little Satilla River kayaking charms by displaying the same scenery on a more intimate scale-making it ideal for paddle craft and little else. Over 10 miles of the river pass through state-owned lands, resulting in an isolated wilderness paddling experience. Small bluffs grace the streamside from time to time and provide good high-water camping areas. Unlike the main Satilla, sandbars are comparatively rare.

Get an Overview of the Satilla River Watershed where the Little Satilla River is located.

USGS and County Maps for Little Satilla River Kayaking

Screven, Patterson Southeast (USGS); Pierce, Appling, Wayne, Brantley (County)

Little Satilla River Kayaking from GA 38/US 84 to US 301


Class: Smooth water; Length: 37.0 miles; Time: 3 days; Gauge: None; Level: N/A; Gradient: Less than 1 foot per mile; Scenery: B+


Runnable downstream from the US 84 bridge, except in the typically dry season from later summer into fall, the Little Satilla River averages 45 to 75 feet in width with a slow to moderate current. Its banks are 2-7 feet high and are composed of an off-white sandy clay. Throughout its runnable length Little Satilla River kayaking is shaded and the banks buffered with a thick undergrowth. Wildlife, especially birds, abounds and is easily observed by the quiet paddler. Generally remote and pristine, the river corridor is nevertheless occasionally penetrated by agricultural development.

There are no rapids on Little Satilla River kayaking, with occasional deadfalls being the only hazard to navigation. Areas of special interest include the Little Satilla Wildlife Management Area, which spans both sides of 10.3 miles of the stream between the US 84 and GA 32 bridge crossings. Check hunting season schedules online at www.gadnr.org if you plan on camping here; an offseason float will afford more peace, privacy, and safety.

Access is good, and Little Satilla River kayaking trips can be extended beyond its mouth onto the Satilla River. Just plan on making that a multiple-day camping trip since the next closest public access after passing US 301 on the Little Satilla requires 15.6 miles of paddling (7.3 to the Satilla, and another 8.3 miles to the Warner Landing boat ramp).


From Nahunta, take US 301 north to the river for the last take-out on the Little Satilla. To reach the next upstream access point at Humpback Road, use Trudie Road south of the river. The next two highest access points are reached by taking US 301 north to GA 32 west; there is access as the highway crosses the river (southeast corner), and a DNR boat ramp upstream of GA 32 is reached by turning right onto Zirkle Road after crossing the river. The highest access is on US 84/GA 38, which is most easily reached by continuing west on GA 32 into Patterson and turning right. Access is on the right side of the road after crossing the river.


There is no gauge. For additional info, call the Waycross Fisheries Office at (912) 285-6094.

See more Georgia Rivers

This Little Satilla River kayaking 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.

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