A great trip for beginners and good for fishermen. We put in at the Hardin Bridge Road. It's a steep embankment, so we just slid the canoe down the bank.
The river is quite wide and easy flowing. There are about 7 stretches of class 1 rapids that are fun, but still safe. We took out at Hwy 411/20. That is about a 3-mile stretch of river. With gentle paddling, it takes about 2-2 1/2 hours to paddle it. With time for fishing and eating lunch, it takes about 5 hours.
The take out point is easy (not steep) to carry the canoe, but you need a pick-up truck to be able to drive down to the riverbank because of the deep ruts in the road. Otherwise, you will have to carry the canoe up to the side road to load onto your car.
Make sure to call about water release schedule from Allatoona Dam (706)334-7213. They say it takes about 8 hours for the water to reach Hardin Bridge once it is released, don't have any firsthand knowledge about that.
We've canoed 5 or 6 other rivers, but we enjoy this one the best.
Go toward Rome, GA, on 411/20. It crosses the Etowah River about 7 miles north of Cartersville, GA. This is the take out point. Cross the bridge and turn left. You will see the off-road parking and rough road leading down to the riverbank. Then head back toward Cartersville on 411/20. When you come to the red light with a school on your right hand side, that is Hardin Bridge Road. Turn right. The bridge is a few miles down. The put in slope is across the bridge on the left. You can park off road by the bridge.