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Chestatee River in Georgia

Trip Overview

Six of us decided to run the Copper Mine section of the Chestatee River, due to low water levels elsewhere. It was a beautiful day, clear skies, a little nip in the air and we were all rearing to go.

The Chestatee is a narrow, shallow clear water river in N. Ga. It has a real intimate feel to it, very few houses and beautiful riverside flora. We put in below the copper mine rapid. It is a class 3 rapid that does have a main central chute, but the chute is blocked by a downed tree and the sneak routes didn't look good to us. We all paddle mostly class 2, so no one wanted to try it.

The carry to the put in below the rapid is long (about a 1/4 mile) but we doubled up on boats and got it done. We had 3 WW canoes and 3 rec kayaks. The river is lively, with a good current and weird rock ledges that run parallel to the flow, which got us in trouble once when I chose a route that bottle necked us into a dicey little rapid with no other way out. We worked our way down river, through little shoals and drops, playing, surfing and working on our river moves.

There are several good class 1+ drops and it seemed that there were rocks right in the middle of every chute. One spun two of us around. I ended up going down backwards and one of us dangled off the rock for a while till finally going for a swim.

We finally got to Blasted Rock rapid which is a class 2. Main chute is down the middle with a hard right to avoid the mid stream rock and into the eddy. Several ran it clean, a couple went left and did a little rock jumping and we had one swimmer. Then we ran the second drop which again has a big rock in the middle of the channel. Another swim here, but all in all some fun for sure and no injuries. We did a little side surfing on the river left side of this bottom rapid. It was surprisingly strong and turned one of our kayaks into a submarine. Very funny to see her paddle the kayak completely submerged over to the side. At least she didn't get rolled!

The last part of the run is fairly calm and we finished in 3 hours. The take out however is a class 5 under the Hwy 52 bridge. We found a better take out just a little upstream by some old bridge abutments. We'll definitely try that take out next time.

If you run this section, be aware that the property at the put in below the Copper Mine Rapid is private. Be quiet and don't linger or trash the area. We didn't see the land owner, but we went quickly and avoided being noisy. If you put in above Copper Mine Rapid, that property is public. There is good parking at the take out on a little dirt side road. Parking at the put in is along the shoulder of the road. It is a great river if you want to work on your maneuvering and river reading skills.


No fees, but please be respectful of land owners and pick up any trash someone else may have left.


To put in: 400 north. When it dead ends, keep going, cross Hwy 52, about 2 miles you'll come to the river bridge. Park, go down on the west side(left) of the bridge.

Take out: Go back to Hwy 52, turn Right(west) go several miles you'll see the bridge( it's on a blind right turn). Little dirt road on Right before the bridge. Be careful leaving this dirt road. Traffic won't see you till they are right on you!

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

Locations on this Trip