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Canoeing & Kayaking

Augusta Canal, Augusta Georgia USA

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Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: American Wilderness Outfitters Ltd. (a.k.a. "AWOL") 706-738-8500
  • Date Submitted: 6/2//2000
  • Email:
  • Location: Augusta Georgia
  • Class: Typically flat water with about 2.5 mph current except little near the end
  • Distance Paddled: 6.5 miles one way
  • Water: fresh and cold
  • Wildlife: Beautiful old trees line both banks, wild flowers


  • Directions: Take I-20 to the Washington Road exit. Exit and head east on Washington. Turn north onto Stephen's Creek Road (the first stoplight immediately east of I-20). Stephen's Creek will turn left just after a Marriott Courtyard. Follow it for about 3 miles. It will cross the River Watch Parkway. Turn Right onto Evans to Locks Road to the Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Drop the boats off as far down hill as you can near the gated, gravel road that leads down to the river. Then park in the paved lot.
  • GPS: N 33 deg 32.987' W 082 deg 02.292'
  • Fee: none
  • Description: grass banks along the river
  • Parking: Adjacent, paved
  • Facilities: Restrooms, water, picnic tables


  • Directions: Take the River Watch Parkway to downtown Augusta.Turn south on 13th Street. Turn Right onto Fenwick Street and park near the berm on the left that forms the bank of the canal to pick up the boats.
  • GPS: N 33 deg 28.369' W 081 deg 58.762'
  • Fee: none
  • Description: grass banks along the river
  • Parking: Adjacent, paved
  • Facilities: Downtown Augusta

What We Saw

The Augusta Canal is a National Heritage Area full of scenic history The canal; was begun in 1845 to make it easier for barges of cotton and produce from western counties into Augusta. 5 years later, about 25,000 bales of cotton were brought to Savannah annually.

Today the canal is being restored as historical recreation and includes bike trails, hiking, as well as memorable paddling that is much more predictable than the variable whitewater of sections of the Savannah River that parallels the canal.

Before you leave the Savannah Rapids Pavilion park, take the time to walk out onto the dam for a spectacular view of both the Savannah River and the Augusta canal. The launch point above is just downstream of the head gates and lock that control the water into the canal.

Primarily for safety reasons, no swimming is permitted in the canal. You'll find the water is very cold as it's drawn from the cold bottom water of the dam reservoir. The breeze blowing across the water feels like welcome air conditioning to paddlers on a hot day. We enjoyed dipping our hands and feet for a minute or two, but that was enough.

Shortly after the put in, you'll see a small waterfall on the right facing downstream, a nice place for a photo. Beware of the underwater fixtures near the waterfall.

A little further, after the I-20 bridge, you'll see the entrance to Warren lake on the right as shown in the photo at right at

GPS: N 33 deg 31.318' W 082 deg 00.697'

Shortly after Lake Warren, you'll see a floating dock on the left bank at

GPS: N 33 deg 31.292' W 082 deg 00.615'

If you get out here, you can walk over the bank and bike path to the Savannah River on the other side. If the water is low, you'll get a good view of the Savannah River rapids in the area. This path is a portage between the river and the canal.

You may be surprised by the considerable difference in water levels between the canal and the river, but then you'll appreciate why the canal was built to aid navigation.

The banks of the canal will begin to change from the tall trees to grass as you approach the River Watch Parkway bridge shown at right at

GPS: N 33 deg 30.441' W 082 deg 00.031'

The left bank is an optional takeout point onto the dirt bike path road (Goodrich Street) accessed from the mill.

After the River Watch Parkway bridge, you'll see another lake access on the right (shown at left) for Lake Olmstead at

GPS: N 33 deg 29.891' W 081 deg 59.877'

:Lake Olmstead is fed by Rae's Creek and is another optional takeout at the ramps at the park. The lake is named after it's designer Charles Olmstead who was also an engineer on the Erie Canal.

Now you'll begin to see more manmade historical relics of the canal. The Bulkhead Gates shown at right at

GPS: N 33 deg 29.734' W 081 deg 59.809'

These gates were used for flood control in 1914 along with the levee system seen on the banks in this area and in downtown Augusta's RiverWalk.

There is a sign for paddlers to proceed through the open left hand gate that has a fun rush of current through it.

More history approaches as the current in the canal drops.

First, paddlers can't miss the 168 foot Powder Works Chimney shown at the top, all that is left of the Confederate gunpowder and munitions plant built there from 1862-1865.

The Sibley Mill behind the chimney was a cotton mill built in 1881. The mill continues to manufacture cotton denim partially powered by canal water flow.

The Granite flour mill shown at left built in 1848 is the only mill built on the original 1845 canal that is still intact. It signals that your canal paddle is nearing an end.

Shortly after the mill, you'll pass a foot bridge with the center span missing. We saw these bright flowers on the banks near by.

The takeout shown above is shortly after the footbridge. We paddled about 100 feet from the end and took out on the left bank onto mowed grass banks.

The Augusta Canal was a memorable paddle combining quiet tree's and Augusta's history.