Azalea Park to Island Ford Park

Made possible by

About

Summary

Chattahoochee River Park is a great little park not far outside the city that is very family friendly, and great for flatwater paddling. This area is very picturesque and serene once you paddle away from the boat ramp. This is where the Atlanta Rowing Club meets. There is a playground and walking trails here too, making it a great place for a family outing. Rentals can be attained at the nearby Go With The Flow in Historic Downtown Roswell.

Written by

Alexa Lampasona

Distance

3.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

16.9 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

1 hour to as long as you want

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Topographical Map

NPS Map

Land Website

Island Ford Park

Review

Intro

The Chattahoochee River Park on Azalea Drive is a very popular place for paddling, especially for beginners or anyone looking for a calm, peaceful day on the river.  It is located above the dam, so the water is slow-moving and very easy to navigate. This park is nestled where the suburban areas of Roswell, Sandy Springs and East Cobb areas come together. 

Once you put in at the boat ramp, begin paddling upstream.  Because of the calm, slow-moving water and the gentle current, paddling upstream is by no means difficult. That way if you do get tired on your turnaround, it is easier on the return trip. A paddle from Azalea Park to Island Ford is 3 miles, and you can tack on more with a journey northwest to Big Creek (also known as Vickery Creek.)

What Makes It Great

Just across the street is the Atlanta Rowing Club headquarters, and you can often see them out training in large groups, typically in early mornings before the Atlanta sun begins to swelter.

This part of the river is very shallow, so fear not; if you fall out, you’ll likely be able to stand anywhere you are.  There is a horse farm directly across the river, and you can often see the horses grazing and roaming about through the brush and the trees along the riverbanks. You’ll pass  playground, pavilions, picnic tables and paved walking trails at the other end of the park.  This area is usually full of young families and children playing. 

Continue paddling, and you’ll come across Vickery Creek after about ¾ mile. You’ll want to check out this hidden gem, as this little alcove is a lovely place to explore. This route will take you on a quiet, peaceful journey that feels worlds away from the boat ramp.  It is surrounded by trees and wildlife, providing some very picturesque scenery.  This is a particularly wonderful place for SUP (especially for novices), as this area has very little traffic. 

Should you choose to skip the Vickery Creek detour, this route continues to be very peaceful and scenic. Oak hickories, maples and wildflowers line the banks. Riverside Park is on the left, followed by Don White Memorial Park. but neither of these parks have a boat ramp. Your next option is Island Ford, which is after the river bends sharply west. Just before Island Ford Park, you'll pass under the Prehistoric Sixes Trail bridge. The Island Ford shoals pick up the water speed, so be sure to be on the right to reach the boat ramp.

Who is Going to Love It

Paddlers looking for a quick day out on the water in a scenic setting. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

This park is not part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, so there is no fee to park here. It is just off Azalea Drive, and a short distance from the interstate. There is a huge parking lot with a convenient boat ramp and full-service facilities that are typically kept fairly clean.

The Roswell Riverwalk walking trails are nearby.  If you follow them towards the playground area, you will eventually be taken to a boardwalk area that leads into the marshy area next to the river.  It is surrounded by trees, and although the boardwalk runs parallel to street, you don’t hear much road noise.  This is a great park for family activities.

The Chattahoochee River is heavily patrolled, so be sure to wear a life preserver or have one in reach while you’re on the water.

Before paddling, check the water release schedule here.


Location

Azalea Park to Island Ford Park

203 Azalea Drive
Roswell, GA, 30075
34.001815, -84.364879

Get Directions