Burgundy-red waters run clear and sparkling over the contrasting bottom and banks of sun-drenched white sand on an Ohoopee River kayaking trip. A tributary of the Altamaha River, it is the western and northernmost river sporting this Coastal Plain combination. A shading canopy of moss-draped cypress and hardwoods combines with the Ohoopee’s natural tranquility and remote, pristine setting to set it apart as a showplace of nature and one of the most exotic and beautiful streams in southern Georgia.
Get an Overview of the Altamaha River Watershed where the Ohoopee River is located.
USGS & County Maps for Ohoopee River Kayaking
Cobbtown, Ohoopee, Reidsville West, Altamaha, Tison, Altamaha Southeast (USGS); Candler, Emanuel, Tatnall, Toombs (County)
Ohoopee River Kayaking from Griffin Ferry Rd to the Altamaha
Class: I; Length: 58.8 miles; Time: Up to 6 days; Gauge: Web; Level: 190 cubic feet per second; Gradient: Less than 2 feet per mile; Scenery: A
Wildlife is varied and plentiful throughout the wide bottomland swamp corridor that cradles Ohoopee River kayaking along its serpentine course. Small islands, meandering by-passes, and oxbows are not uncommon, particularly in the reaches below Pendelton Creek. The current is moderate throughout, and the level of difficulty is Class I, with sharp bends and trees growing in the stream keeping it interesting.
Runnable except during dry periods downstream of the US 1 bridge in Emanuel County, the stream’s width ranges from 30 to 45 feet, widens to between 50 and 65 feet at GA 292 west of Collins, and culminates at 80 feet as it approaches the Altamaha. Hazards consist primarily of occasional deadfalls and a dam that must be portaged above the GA 56 bridge outside Reidsville.
Numerous white sandbars and beaches lend themselves to swimming, picnicking, and canoe-camping on an Ohoopee River kayaking trip. The banks, also of white sand, are 2-4 feet high and slope at approximately 30-45 degrees. The surrounding terrain is mixed lowland swamp forests of bald cypress, willow, pond cypress, swamp black gum, Ogeechee lime, ash, red maple, water oak, and sweet bay, rising gradually to a low upland plateau.
If paddling past the confluence with the Altamaha, the first take-our reached is Tattnall County Landing on river left. To get there from Reidsville, take GA 147 south and turn left on GA 178. After crossing the Ohoopee, turn right on CR 296 and follow it to the boat ramp. Upper access points are reached from GA 86, US 280, GA 56 and GA 147 out of Reidsville.
Using USGS Web site data for the gauge at Reidsville, the minimum is 190 cfs, and the maximum up to high flood stage. The Metter Game and Fish office, at (912) 685-2145, can provide more information.
See how the Altamaha Riverkeeper preserves and protects its tributaries including the Ohoopee.
This Ohoopee 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.