your paddlesports destination

Chattahoochee River in Georgia

Trip Overview

Let me preface this by saying that I'm a novice paddler....emphasis on the novice part.

Since I went by myself, I used Georgia Trail Outfitters to help me put in so I could paddle back to my vehicle and just drive home.

Tim from Georgia Trail was really helpful, after we arranged the logistics (parking my Jeep at the take-out in McIntosh Reserve), he gave me a few pointers about the river I'd be going down, dropped me off at the put-in just off of Highway 16 in Whitesburg (east of the roundabout) and sent me on my way.

There was a ramp to get in the water, and it puts you in just north of the bridge. I loaded my Perception Sierra up with the essentials (2 liter of water, sunscreen, and a bunch of beer), and got right in with no problems.

It was an easy float downstream. You'll cross under the bridge at 16 and a railroad bridge a little further downstream....but those are it. Nothing but wildlife and the occasional house from that point forward. After the railroad bridge, you'll see Yates powerplant on the right. From the plant you'll see the only rapids worth mentioning. Since I was by myself, I didn't care to flip over so I just shot it straight through the middle and paddled through it with relative ease.

Afterwards, you'll go through a series of slow flowing water where there are plenty of large rocks to take breaks on. When the river is shallow, it is possible to bottom out on some rocks and sandbars but if you pay attention and find the channel, you're good to go. You'll go this way for a ways, pass an island in the middle of the river and keep on paddling.

My outfitter advised me to stop by the house of a friend of his on the river....which I did. We had a few beers, swapped a few stories and had a good time. If you're out there, stop by to meet him. His name is Ray, he's on river left just before a small section of rapids and his house was the only one I saw with a boat dock.

After that, I meandered through the rapids and it was a short paddle to McIntosh Reserve. There's a bright green bucket on the right where you take out. The entire trip including about a 20-30 minute layover at Ray's house took me roughly 2 hours.


McIntosh Reserve has camping available. Georgia Trail Outfitters offers campsite setups and maintains a few campsites in McIntosh Reserve. The put-in has a spacious parking lot. I'm sure Ray would let you use the restroom at his place as long as you're nice.


It cost me $2 to park in McIntosh Reserve


If you're going to use Georgia Trail Outfitters, head west on highway 5 from Whitesburg to West Mcintosh Circle (he is 272 on that road). If you're just putting in, park one vehicle in McIntosh Reserve (off West Mcintosh Circle) and put in at the Chattahoochee and Highway 16. You can park in the parking lot at the put in.


A map of McIntosh Reserve

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip