• Three kayakers enjoying the river.

    Chattahoochee River

    National Recreation Area Georgia

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  • Johnson Ferry Intermittent Trail Closures

    Representatives of Colonial Pipeline Company will be working on the gas pipeline in the Johnson Ferry North unit. The work will require intermittent trail closures. For your safety please stay on designated trails and obey all trail closures.

Things To Know Before You Come

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
A U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD is REQUIRED TO BE WORN if you are boating, tube floating, or wading in the following river segments.

  1. between Buford Dam and the GA 20 bridge
  2. between Morgan Falls Dam and the Morgan Falls boat ramp

You must have a wearable, appropriately sized, U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD for each person on board your watercraft (i.e. canoes, kayaks, rafts, boats, float tubes, inner tubes, air mattresses). Additionally, all children under the age of 13 MUST WEAR a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD when the watercraft is underway.

Glass Containers
Please leave all glass containers in your car, they are not allowed on the river. Broken glass can cause serious injury to river users and damages personal equipment.

Boating Under the Influence
Operating a power boat while under the influence of alcohol is illegal! Drinking alcohol impairs coordination and judgment putting you at greater risk of injury.

Water Levels
Always be cautious of rising river water levels due to dam releases or rainfall. Flash floods do occur on the Chattahoochee River. Check the water release schedule before entering the water. For the Buford Dam water release schedule call 770-945-1466, or toll free at 1-855-DAM-FLOW (1-855-326-3569), For the Morgan Falls Dam water release schedule call 404-329-1455. Visit our Downstream Flow Rate page and use the charts to determine the approximate time it will take for the water to arrive at your location. This page also has links to real-time information for river levels at various locations on the river.

Hypothermia
the water in the Chattahoochee is much colder than you think! Water is released from the bottom of Buford Dam and is approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This cold water is great for trout, but dangerous for you. Beware of Hypothermia -- the severe lowering of the body's temperature. When exposed to these low temperatures, exhaustion or unconsciousness can occur in less that 30 minutes. If you fall into this cold water, get out quickly and warm yourself. Hypothermia can occur even in the warmest summer months.

Weather
Watch the weather and head for shore if bad weather threatens. If lightning occurs, get out of the water, stay away from trees, and seek low shelter. Lightweight, quick-drying clothing is adequate in the summer. During cooler seasons wear clothes of natural and synthetic fiber blends. For cold weather wear wool or synthetic fibers -- they retain heat even when wet. Water levels may rise quickly even if it is not raining on you.

Footwear
Always wear appropriate footwear. Although glass containers are not allowed on the river today, you stand a good chance of finding glass that was left in the past.

Swimming
Never dive or jump into the river from high shorelines or bridges. Don't use rope swings. There are dangers in the form of submerged rocks, murky water, and fluctuating water levels that can cause serious injury.

Advance Planning
Let a family member or friend know your plans. Give them the name of the park unit and trailhead if you are staying on land. Give them the name of the park units where you are putting-in and taking-out if you are floating the river. If you do not check back with them by a predetermined time they should call the park dispatch at 770-952-0370 or dial 911. Remember, the boat ramp at Paces Mill is the last take-out point in the park. It is located a short distance downstream from the Interstate 75 Highway underpass on the right side of the river.

Nourishment
Bring drinking water and snacks or non-perishable food. Drink and eat periodically to avoid dehydration and keep your energy levels high. Do not drink the river water.

Entrance Fee
Please remember, an entrance fee is charged for all vehicles entering the park. You may purchase a $3 Daily Park Pass at all parking areas in the park. You may also purchase a $35 Annual Park Pass that will cover the entrance fee for one year. Visit our Fees & Reservations page for more information about entrance fees.

Did You Know?

Pink Lady Slipper - An NPS Photo

Over 50 orchid species are found in Georgia, including several lady slippers. Their flowers are prized for their beauty and unique shape.