CHATTOOGA RIVER AREA

Flowing freely through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is the Chattooga River. THE premier whitewater destination in the southeast. The dynamics of this river and the surrounding area, present the most complete package nature lovers of all experience and thrill-seeking levels. Additionally there are many other rivers and creeks in the area that are running when there is enough rain or the dams are releasing.

Forming the boundary between South Carolina and Georgia and flanked by a protective corridor since the 1974 congressional designation of the Chattooga as a "Wild and Scenic River", the Chattooga River is THE Wilderness Experience in the Southeast. There are locations in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness area, which the Chattooga is a part of, that have remained relatively unchanged from their earliest known history. In the East, the Chattooga River is banked by the Sumter National Forest; in the west, the Chattahoochee National Forest.

The Chattooga watershed is made up of 180,000 acres in three states (SC, GA and NC) and composed of private and public lands. Originating at the base of Whitesides Mountain, a massive, 4,800 foot tall granite wall, multiple creeks and streams converge, creating the Chattooga River. Waterfalls dot the landscape throughout this area and hiking and mountain biking trails are plentiful. There are multiple options for horseback riding, including bringing your own mounts to designated trails within the National forest. If you want to spend time fishing, you have your pick from many lakes, ponds, streams and creeks. The Chattooga is home to more than a hundred types of fish, including three species of trout. The Walhalla State Fish Hatchery regularly releases trout into the local Rivers, creeks and streams.

The forests are home to a multitude of flowers, plants, trees, and animals,including the rare white wildflower that briefly blooms in the spring known as the Oconee Bell. The banks are dotted with Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel and many species of fern, just to name a few and it is possible, particularly in early Spring, to see otter, bear, beaver and, later, the migrating songbirds passing through during their trip north.

This area is fertile ground for researchers from the surrounding Universities to study the diverse flora and fauna, as well as the original inhabitants of these mountains and valleys, Native Americans. In the 1990's, a 1700's era Cherokee Village, known as Chattooga Town, on the banks of the Chattooga River was excavated by the University of Tennessee. There are several local conservancy groups, comprised of local and non-local individuals, working to protect the river and surrounding areas, such as the Chattooga Conservancy and South Carolina Forest Watch as well as the Georgia Conservancy and the Sierra Club.

The surrounding communities are heavy with southern hospitality and rich in a diverse culture reflective of the varied origins of the settlers of the area. In all communities you will find good food, friendly people, and a wide variety of shopping options, including local craftspeople and artists' work.

If you are looking for calm, a chance to clear your head and clean air to breathe; you will find it here. The pace is generally as laid back as the locals, easygoing and calm. But a quicker pace of fun can be found at various establishments in the area. If you only want to experience the excitement of the river and the surrounding nature in small doses, we are an easy day trip from Atlanta GA, Greenville SC, Charlotte NC and all points in between.