West Fork Chattooga River Kayaking: an Introduction to Section 2 of the Chatooga River

west fork chattooga river kayaking

Protected within the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River Area, the West Fork Chattooga River kayaking contains 4 miles of extremely scenic canoeing for the novice and can be used as an intimate launching pad for a longer trip into Section 2 of the Chattooga. The river is formed by the unusual symmetrical junction of three creeks: Overflow, Big and Holcomb. For those interested in visiting the headwaters in addition to the tailwaters, the Three Forks hiking trail to this point is found further up the same road as the put-in. The camping is good, inviting multiple-day trips within the area.

See an Interactive Chattooga River Map that includes the West fork and all named rapids on the river.

West Fork Chattooga River Kayaking Trip Summary

A 4-mile paddle from Overflow Creek Road to where the West Fork joins the main channel of the Chattooga River. Scenic canoeing suitable for the boating novice. Class, I-II; Length, 5.7 miles; Time, 3 hours; Level 1.0; Gradient, 10 feet per mile; Scenery, A-. 

Description of the West Fork

The river is a popular one for trout fishing and provides one of the best opportunities on the Chattooga to both canoe and fish on the same trip. If floating by a fishing party, minimize any disruption bypassing quietly.

The West Fork Chattooga River kayaking rapids are mostly Class I, but two rapids are designated Class II. The first of these is formed by the remains of an old dam, 1 mile below Warwoman Road. The other Class II, Big Slide, is 1.5 miles below the old dam and less than 0.5 mile above the confluence with the main Chattooga.

The most frequently used put-in is at the U.S. Forest Service campground, less than a mile from Warwoman Road. Ample parking is available there , and the carry to the river is short. Take-out either at the GA 28 Russell Bridge, 0.2 mile upstream on the main Chattooga, or drift downstream to the Long Bottom Ford take-out on the river left. There is no direct road access at the confluence of the West Fork Chattooga River kayaking and the main Chattooga.

Shuttle from Clayton, GA

From US 442 in Clayton, turn east on Rickman Street and then right onto Warwoman Road. Take Warwoman road 13.4 miles to the river; turn left onto Overflow Creek Road on the far side of the bridge. Potential put-in locations on Overflow Creek Road are 0.9 mile ahead at the U.S. Forest Service campground (primitive camping is available here), or an additional 0.4mile above that, where the road crosses the river.

Gauge

There is a gauge in the river upstream of the Overflow Creek Road Bridge across the West Fork. The recommended minimum level for West Fork Chattooga River kayaking is 1.0 feet.

Maps for the West Fork Chattooga River Kayaking

USGS, Satolah; County, Rabun

Read More About the Chattooga and It’s Tributaries

  • See an Interactive Map of all Chattooga Rapids CLICK HERE
  • Is the Free-Flowing Chattooga the Southeast’s Best Whitewater CLICK HERE
  • A Guide to Canoeing and Kayaking Section 3 CLICK HERE
  • Canoe or Kayak Warwoman Creek CLICK HERE
  • Experience Big Rapids on Overflow Creek CLICK HERE
  • Explore the Entire Chattooga River Corridor CLICK HERE

Learn how the Chattooga Conservancy protects and preserves the Chattooga River and its tributaries.

This West Fork Chattooga 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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