By DARRIN SMITH
For sports enthusiasts, nature lovers, and fishermen, kayaking/canoeing can be a fun way to exercise and a great way to experience the outdoors for a day. Chattooga County has a lot to offer for kayaking/canoeing with several stretches of the Chattooga River open to the sport as well as several smaller creeks available for those who don’t mind having to get out from time to time in shallow areas or around downed trees across the creek.
The Chattooga River, which originates from several tributaries in Walker County, has navigable water from the most northern tip of the county to the most southern end. It’s easiest to break down into two sections, the upper and lower, with the upper starting at the Walker County line and going to The Summerville News on Hwy 27. The lower section goes from there all the way to where it crosses into Alabama on its way to join the Coosa River before emptying into Lake Weiss.
The upper section can be accessed off York Road as well as Center Post Road. From there, the river snakes its way around Welcome Hill, by the Trion Golf Course, to the dam in Trion. Once below the dam, there are access points at the Central Avenue Bridge, Penn Bridge Road, and in front of The Summerville News on Hwy. 27 where the upper end of the trek ends.
The Lower section has access points at The News office, Lyerly Dam Road, Taliaferro Road and Holland-Chattoogaville Road before crossing into Alabama. The trip can be done in sections, or a combination of sections, or even in one trip with some overnight stops involved. Some sections may take as few as two hours while others may take four or more depending on the kayaker’s pace. The entire river is 28.7 miles long, is rated as “easy”, and could take up to 3.5 days to navigate in its entirety.
The water is docile in most areas as it gently travels through the county, but occasionally one will encounter some class one rapids along the way. Thanks to the limestone in the area, the water has a faint turquoise blue appearance and supplies an interesting point of view to observe the beauty found along its banks. For those who love to fish, the river has many hidden nooks and brooks waiting to be discovered by kayakers looking for trophy fish or just those seeking the thrill of a catch and release.
Anyone wanting to get out and experience nature in a new and fun way, need look no further than a kayaking or canoe trip down the lovely Chattooga River.
By DARRIN SMITH