Etowah River - Allatoona Dam to Ladd's Boat Ramp
We started from the Cooper's Furnace boat ramp at the bottom of the Allatoona Dam. The boat ramp is paved all the way into the water and it has ample parking very close by, we had to carry the canoe about fifty feet to the water. The sign at the entrance of the boat ramp said there would be no water release today and we found the water about 4 ft deep and very clear.
The current was very slow and we came across a lot of deadfalls along the shorelines. About one mile downriver we went under the I-75 bridge (stay in the middle), where we encountered a bunch of turtles. Further downriver we went by the ruins of the civil war railroad bridge, Hwy 41 bridge, a working railroad bridge, and a small road bridge.
About three miles downriver from the boat ramp we encountered an old mill's dam that we ported on the left side. The trail is very small, but you will see it just after a small building and fence on the left side. The trail is only about fifty feet long, but you will have to walk through weeds and carry your boat over rocks. I highly recommend shoes. At the bottom of the dam, you will see the best photograph spot of the whole trip. Also, there were several people fishing at the bottom of the dam. You cannot boat over the dam because of a concrete lip at the bottom that has exposed steel spikes.
The water is very low at the bottom of the spillway dam and we had to drag our canoe about a hundred feet until we were past the shoals. The water is basically flat and 4-6 ft deep and you pass some very expensive homes until approximately 2.5 miles from the spillway dam when you reach the Etowah Indian Mounds on your right and the Pumkinvine Creek on your left. You need to stay to the left of the old fish trap in the middle of the river. The water level is low and we got out and walked the fishtrap. There is not a good landing site to see the mounds, but a real good break spot is just up the Pumkinvine Creek on an exposed sand bar (you can see it from the main river).
The next bridge you will go under is the Doughette Ferry Road, where there were some trucks parked. The river current was very nominal and again there were lots of deadfalls and strainers especially along the banks. Once you pass the airport on your left and go under the Hwy 113 bridge the boat ramp at Ladd's is about 1.5 miles on you right.
- Good easy paddle, about 3 hours if you take it easy.
- Lots of birds, turtles, and nice homes.
- No rapids, some shoals, and one portage.
Bathrooms, picnic tables, paved parking and boat ramp at the Allatoona Dam
Picnic tables, but no bathrooms, and a gravel boat ramp and limited parking at Ladd's Riverside Park
No fees or permits required
Hwy 41 North, Right on Old River Road (plenty of signs), Boat ramp on the right just after the entrance
Ladd's Boat Ramp is off Euharle Road, From downtown Cartersville head south on Hwy 113 and turn right on Euharle Road (Just past Ladd's Farm Supply), the riverside park is 2 miles on your left
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)