A kayaker rides “the bull”-the class-IV rapid Bull Sluice-on the Chattooga River. The 57-mile, free-flowing Chattooga River plunges south from the Nantahala Mountains. Downstream, it forms the border between Georgia’s Chattahoochee and South Carolina’s Sumter National Forests. The upstream Chattooga meanders calmly and is a revered backcountry canoeing destination, while the last seven miles, known as section IV, is where the river shows its whitewater wild side. The most tumultuous run is Five Falls, a consecutive set of five class IV-V rapids with names like Crack In The Rock, Jawbone, and Sock-em Dog that crash through narrow boulder alleys. Designated as a Wild and Scenic River in 1974, the Chattooga is surrounded by some of the most pristine wilderness in the Southeast. More than 50 miles of trails run along or near the river, including portions of the Bartram, Foothills, and Chattooga River Trails. The Chattooga River Trail begins at the U.S. 76 bridge trailhead and hugs the river’s western border for 10 miles before joining the Bartram Trail. Along the way, it rolls past several small waterfalls and offers outstanding backcountry camping near Sandy Ford.
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