Whitewater rafting with Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia
Whitewater rafting in Columbus, Georgia, with Whitewater Express

Incredible Places to Go Whitewater Rafting in Georgia

Georgia is known for its waterways, especially its rivers. If you’re looking for a thrilling experience, visit the communities of north and southwest Georgia for whitewater rafting.

Georgia Rivers that are Great for Rafting

Chattooga River

The Chattooga River runs from the foothills of North Carolina for 57 miles into north Georgia. The name is Native American in origin, and this river was featured prominently in the book and subsequent film "Deliverance." It is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the United States and is the only river in Georgia to be named to the prestigious National Wild and Scenic River System.

Wild President 20 from Chattooga Conservancy on Vimeo.

Toccoa River/Ocoee River

The Ocoee River starts as the Toccoa River in Union County in the Chattahoochee National Forest, flows into Lake Blue Ridge and runs northwestward until it reaches McCaysville, Georgia, and then changes names. Renowned also for terrific trout fishing, this river hosted the 1996 Olympics whitewater slalom events. It is the only in-river course to be used for Olympic slalom competitions.

Chattahoochee River

The Chattahoochee River, one of the most prominent rivers in Georgia, runs for 430 miles from the top of the state to the bottom and forms the southern half of the Georgia-Alabama border. Its headwaters are in Union County in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in the metro Atlanta area includes 48 miles of river and 16 parks that offer numerous recreation opportunities like fishing, tubing, kayaking and hiking, but Columbus is the place to go for whitewater rafting on this iconic river.

5 Best Whitewater Rafting Outfitters

Whitewater rafting with Wildwater Chattooga Ridge Adventure Center in Clayton, Georgia

Wildwater Chattooga Ridge Adventure Center in Clayton, Georgia

Wildwater Chattooga Adventure Center, Clayton

Open since 1971, Wildwater Chattooga Ridge Adventure Center offers whitewater rafting on the namesake Chattooga River. Visitors can join one of their rafting tours for all skill levels.

In addition, the company has zip line canopy tours, kayaking tours, stand up paddleboarding, ropes courses and a climbing wall. Wildwater has onsite accommodations like cabins, cottages and yurts.

Whitewater rafting with Southeastern Expeditions in Clayton, Georgia

Southeastern Expeditions in Clayton, Georgia

Southeastern Expeditions, Clayton

One of the oldest rafting outfitters in the region, Southeastern Expeditions offers both full-day and overnight rafting trips through class II to class V rapids. The company started with equipment purchased from Warner Brothers after the filming of "Deliverance," and founder Claude Terry served as a consultant and stunt double in the movie. The minimum age for these trips is 10 years old, and the family-friendly trips down the Chattooga River offer incredible scenery. Full-day tours last 6-7 hours and include lunch.

Whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River with Nantahala Outdoor Center in Clayton, Georgia

Nantahala Outdoor Center in Clayton, Georgia

Nantahala Outdoor Center Chattooga Outpost, Clayton

The North Carolina-based outfitter Nantahala Outdoor Center has a North Georgia location on the Chattooga River in Clayton. Their whitewater rafting trips range from the "mild" Section III to the "wild" Section IV. Section IV was made famous by the film "Deliverance" and is a classic Southeastern whitewater rafting run. The trip's highlight is arguably the run through the famous Five Falls, where five tumultuous Class IV+ rapids unfold in quick succession. The two types of trips are appropriate for both first-timers and experienced rafters.

Whitewater rafting with Rolling Thunder River Company in McCaysville, Georgia

Rolling Thunder River Company in McCaysville, Georgia

Rolling Thunder River Company, McCaysville

Located in McCaysville, near Blue Ridge, Rolling Thunder River Company operates whitewater rafting adventures on dam-controlled rivers, including the Ocoee, allowing for trips nearly every day of the season from April to October. They have full- and half-day tours available as well as tours on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, and canoeing and tubing tours of the calm Toccoa River.

Whitewater rafting in Columbus, Georgia, with Whitewater Express

Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia

Whitewater Express, Columbus

Located in the heart of downtown Columbus, Whitewater Express is unique because their rafting trips run through the Chattahoochee Whitewater Park. Rapids vary by time of day because water is released from the dam. The course has more than five class III rapids during low water and class IV+ at high water. The company oversaw watersports on this river during the 1996 Olympics.

Published: April 2020
Written by: Caroline Eubanks