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Al V

Chestatee River south of Dahlonega, Georgia USA
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Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Al Vazquez
  • Date Submitted: 7/2011
  • Location: Dahlonega, Georgia USA
  • Class: 2
  • Distance Paddled: about 7 miles
  • Water: fresh and warm enough to swim in the summer without wetsuits
  • Wildlife: stripers, trout, some birds, and I did find a centipede in my shorts pocket after swimming a few times; very exciting
  • Special Regulations:


  • Directions: From downtown Dahlonega, take Highway 19 (also called South Chestatee Street) south about 2 miles south of the intersection with Route 9.
  • Shortly after you pass Golden Avenue on the west side of the road, you'll see several outfitters also on the west side of the road. These outfitters have access to the river just behind them.
  • Fee:
  • Description: stepped gravel beaches on river right
  • Parking: adjacent unpaved
  • Facilities: Restrooms and stores at the outfitters
  • Special Handicap Access: none
  • Shuttle: can be arranged with the various outfitters there. We left our cars at the takeout and they shuttled us back to the entry start kayaking.


  • Directions: From the Entry point, continue on Highway 19 (also called South Chestatee Street) south about 3 miles south. (If you reach Route 400, you've gone too far.)
  • Turn right (southwest) into the parking area at the blue sign marked "Chestatee River Access"
  • Proceed to river access at the end of the parking area.
  • Fee: None
  • Description: gravel beach with cement deck and steps on river left
  • Parking: adjacent unpaved with a few shady spots under some trees
  • Facilities: Shelter with bench seats
  • Security: Relatively secure location to leave unattended vehicles.
  • Special Handicap Access: none


Where We Paddled and What We Saw

We'd wanted to kayak the Chestatee River upstream where it is tighter and there are Class 3 and Class 4 rapids, but the water level was too low. So we enjoyed a relaxing fun paddle with a few light rapids and eddies along this section the locals call the "lower Chestatee".

The photo at left shows a typical rapid in this part of the river. This part of the river also had areas of tree canopy for shade; a nice feature in the hot summer Georgia sun.

We were told by locals that the section beyond the Exit is very open and even slower paddling than this part, which had a nice flow of light rapids almost throughout the paddle.

We saw some interesting geology as shown in the photo at right. There seemed to be long sections of sedimentary rock that had been lifted. Some of these rock layers formed continuous rapids that cut all the way across the river; places where we enjoyed paddling and surfing long eddies.

Between the rapids were sections of flatwater, where it was easy to take a dip to cool off, relax, grab a snack, or chat with other paddlers.

Cane Creek

GPS: N 34.494292° W 083.992817° (from map)

Cane Creek shown in the photo at right is a nice little place to paddle on river right. The day we kayaked during low water, there were several nice beaches where a family of paddlers picnicked in the shade. The light filtered through the trees into the water making a beautiful creek paddle.

Shallow areas of the creek alternated with deeper pools where we could see fish. There were deadfalls on the creek that required portaging under or around.

We heard from a couple of local kayak fishermen at the creek mouth that the fishing was good there.

With the low water and warm sun the day we paddled, we enjoyed parking the kayaks on this shoal in the river and floating through the deeper channel on river right wearing our life jackets.

Be sure to float feet downstream and feet slightly downward in the water to protect your butt from hitting rocks or stumps projecting up from the bottom. (see photo at right)

Always wear footwear to protect your feet from sharp objects in the water. And preferably your kayaking footwear should have soles that help keep you from slipping on wet surfaces and be secured to your feet so they don't come off unintentionally in the water. I like velcro strap sandals I can remove quickly in case they were to get trapped under a rock in more fast flowing water. Some paddlers prefer low neoprene booties with protective soles.

There was another similar beach and chute to float just a little farther downstream from this one also.