Rivers and Creeks in Western North Carolina
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Chattooga River • Jackson County • Western North Carolina
fishing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing and tubing

Chattooga River

Chattooga Wild and Scenic River

Finding its birthplace on the watershed of the Eastern Continental Divide in the Nantahala National Forest in Jackson County North Carolina is the Chattooga River. The Chattooga River begins its journey in the southern most reaches of Jackson County traveling a short distance before crossing the state line and forming the forty-mile river border that divides the northern edge of two southern states, South Carolina’s Oconee County and Georgia’s Rabun County.

The Chattooga River is considered the crown jewel of wilderness-rivers in both Canada and the United States.  Designated by Congress in 1974 as a National Wild and Scenic River, the river has been placed in the “World Class” category of rivers due to its unique geology and high percentage of rainfall.

Due to its order of preservation the Chattooga River allows no motorized vehicles within 1/4 of a mile of its banks keeping the river clean and pristine.  The Chattooga River was used as a backdrop for the filming of the book and movie Deliverance.  The Chattooga River’s numerous gorges, waterfalls and high cliffs and bluffs often resemble a remote canyon, a mountain waterway Utopia lost in a prehistoric time separated from an outside world and all modern convenience. 

The Chattooga River divides two states and two National Forest, the Sumter National Forest in South Carolina and the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia.  Though secluded the Chattooga River hosts over 100,000 visitors each year who come to enjoy adventure of whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, hiking, some swimming mostly wading, fishing and some great fly fishing challenges.  A natural corridor carved by the hand of time cutting a deep path thru the outer edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Dropping from its headwaters at 3,000 feet to its lowest point of 950 feet at Lake Tugalo, the Chattooga River creates a rapid water flow that adds to the rivers legendary fame for thrills as a wild whitewater river.   From Lake Tugalo the waters of the Chattooga River joins forces with the Tugalo River heading southeast hooking up with the Savannah River as it makes its journey to the Atlantic Coast.

Directions: From Franklin follow Hwy 64 East thru the town of Highlands down Bull Pen Road thru the Horse Cove community. Bear right onto FS Road 1178 (Bull Pen Road).  Follow FS1178 till you get to the iron bridge at the Chattooga River.

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