Powers Island to Paces Mill

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About

Summary

The Metro Hooch run is a great stretch of the Chattahoochee River that is a perfect option for beginner and intermediate whitewater paddlers, or anyone who is looking to practice techniques. This part of the river (best paddled at medium flow or higher, depending on your skill set) runs through the Vinings area, just outside the city, but you'd never know it! You are surrounded by trees, wildlife and beautiful views the entire way. This is the most popular whitewater paddling route in Atlanta.

Written by

Alexa Lampasona

Distance

0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

9.7 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

45 mins - 2.5 hours

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

spring-fall

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

Yes

$3 daily or $35 annual pass

Topographical Map

NPS Map

Land Website

NPS Site

Review

Intro

Concrete stairs carry you down to the water where you put in at Powers Ferry Island. If the last stair is out of the water, your run will prove to be very scrapy. Optimal paddling level is when at least three stairs are underwater; the three underwater stairs indicate medium flow.

The generally mild current right past the stairs before the Bridge Hole is very conducive for a solid warm-up. To take advantage of the Bridge Hole, stay far right when crossing under the bridge; this hole is wonderful for spins, loops, cartwheels and other tricks. The First Ledge is not extremely far past the Bridge Hole, as most of the rapids on the Metro Hooch Run are pretty consistently spaced. For the best surfing here, keep to your left.

The Eddy is a relatively flat pool in between the First and Second Ledges; this is a great place to practice eddys. You’ll find a great one next to a small sandy beach on the far right. Next up is the Second Ledge, what locals refer to as the Devil’s Race Course. This is an incredibly shoaled area that has several passages through the rocks; keep to the middle to careen through a chute with a particularly speedy current. If you’re trying to get some practice in, this is where you’ll want to try your hand at ferrying, catching eddys and rolling.

After the Racecourse, an island divides the river and brings you to the Dive Rock on the left, commonly referred to by the locals as the Jumping Cliffs. The lower rock can be an exciting seal launch for kayakers. If you instead choose to go right around the island, you’ll find a long, narrow sandy beach on riverbank (which is sometimes inundated during high water). This is a great resting spot if you need one.

During the warmer summer months, you’re bound to see plenty of tubers posted up there, blasting music and cheering on their friends at the Jumping Cliffs from across the river. You’ll also find restrooms and trash receptacles on this island, as well as beautiful flowering trees in the spring and summer.

The river bends left soon thereafter, and you reach the third set of shoals (Third Ledges). There are a lot of navigable routes and playspots here, with some good waves to enjoy. The river then turns to the right, and the 75 bridge will be in sight. Prepare for a strong eddy here, followed by a clean one; both are on the right.

Right before you reach the bridge, you’ll see a huge rock to the left, about the size of a small car; you’ll find a great eddyline here. To the left of the rock is a picturesque little pebble beach, named Whitewater Creek; this is your first takeout option.

If you keep going, just past where Rottenwood Creek spills into the river, you’ll pass below a large bridge. Keep to the right here if you want to catch the fun little drop that moves right to left. There are a few more small surfing ledges before the river becomes very wide and shallow, at which point you’ll see the popular takeout point on your right: the Paces Mill large concrete boat ramp.

What Makes It Great

The 3.5 mile Metro Hooch Run on the Chattahoochee River is the most popular paddling spot in Atlanta, and a great location for beginners (including first timers) or anyone who wants to practice techniques and tricks.  This route surrounded by wooded areas on either side, and is covered with rocky shoals that offer level I-II rapids, which can get more intense during high flows.  While you’re paddling down this stretch of the river, you get the feeling of being farther out in the country versus being mere miles away from downtown (which is where you really are). 

Who is Going to Love It

Paddlers looking for a fun day out won't be disappointed. It's a good place for beginners or those hoping for a casual experience on the water. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Since this area is part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, be prepared to pay $3 for daily parking, or obtain an annual pass for $35, which can be purchased at a machine at Powers Ferry Island by the pay station. Remember to always check the river levels and scheduled releases (Buford Dam and Morgan Falls Dam) here.

Location

Powers Island to Paces Mill

5847-5887 Interstate North Parkway
Sandy Springs, GA, 30328
33.901952, -84.443208

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