Savannah River in Georgia
Betty's Branch of the Savannah River
On a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon, my wife and I paddled what is called Betty's Branch, which is a tributary of the Savannah River about 8 miles north of Augusta Georgia. The county of Columbia, which is the adjacent county to Augusta/Richmond has provided an outstanding put-in with a concrete ramp, shallow water, and easy access for canoes, kayaks, and small motor craft. The landing also has restroom facilities and abundant parking.
This trip will typically be a 2-4 hour day trip putting in and taking out at the same spot.
On the day we paddled, my wife paddled a 16' Perception Eclipse and I paddled a 16' Perception Carolina; both rented from American Wilderness Outfitters in Augusta.
We paddled upstream in a shady creek for about 1-1/2 hours at a very leisurely pace. There is a very slight current as this creek-route parallels the Savannah River and flows in the same direction.
There were the usual turtle sunbathers on the many stumps and brances extending into the water. These obstructions did not cause any problem though as they are very easily circumvented.
We tied up to a healthy branch extruding through the water and had a leisuely lunch sitting in our boats. There are no good places to land and stretch along the way. It could be done, but it would be slippery and muddy.
The creek passes a newly developed golf green or two situated above the water level and then converges at the Savannah River proper at which point we turned back South along the right bank of the big river which was very lazily rolling along. Paddling strokes were still very necessary as the current even in the big river was very nominal.
This leg took us about another 2 hours and we saw herons, egrets, and kingfishers.
Finally, the creek that we were in to start with formed the last short leg as it closes the loop on this circuitous route. A short paddle up the creek and we turned back into the landing where we started.
This is a very pleasant, easy, relaxing paddle that is a superb way to spend an afternoon.
It took us about 3-1/2 hours to complete the circuit but it can be done in much less time if one cares to work up a sweat.
The facilities are excellent with clean restrooms and ample parking.
American Wilderness Outfitters in Augusta has rental canoes and kayaks and offers shuttle service too.
No fees or permits required. Fishing licenses are required.
From Augusta, GA take Hwy 28 North towards South Carolina. Turn left on to Hardy McManus Road just before you reach the Savannah River. Turn back right on Dolpin Drive which leads down to the landing and Betty's Branch.
I used Google Earth to familiarize myself with the fairly easy route. This web site will very clearly show the waterway.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)