Blue Ridge Water Trails

Follow a water trail on rivers, lakes and along mountain streams. The perfect way to get out into Mother Nature in Georgia's Blue Ridge this summer.

Blue Ridge Water Trails - June 2018
Paddling kayaks or going tubing, renting a pontoon boat, the thrill of  whitewater rafting or going on a waterfall hike are all refreshing ways to get out on the water in Blue Ridge. If you don’t have equipment don’t worry… we have dozens of professional guides and outfitters ready to fulfill your equipment and guidance needs, all available with easy online information and booking.

Georgia’s Blue Ridge delivers spectacularly, Mother Nature is everywhere… that’s what makes Blue Ridge unique as a vacation destination, especially the many different types of mountain waters. The beautiful Toccoa River, Lake Blue Ridge, thrilling whitewater on the Ocoee River, hiking trails to waterfalls, trout streams in the Trout Capital of Georgia... water trails are everywhere here.

The Toccoa River begins as a clear mountain trout stream, and makes a great kayaking and canoe trail, or a gentle tubing river. Flowing  northwards to form Lake Blue Ridge, all kinds of boating, paddling and swimming activities await. From the dam at Lake Blue Ridge flowing again northward, the Toccoa River is a wider, dam controlled water trail all the way to McCaysville, Georgia, with Horseshoe Bend Park along the way. It’s great for tubing, kayaking and fishing adventures. Once the Toccoa River crosses the Tennessee state line it becomes the Ocoee River, and at the Ocoee Whitewater Center, hosts dozens of thrilling whitewater rafting and paddling adventures… and outfitters for your every need. For a printable copy of Water Sports Adventures - Guides & Outfitters, click here. Here are some water trails to check out:

Take the scenic Toccoa River north to McCaysville on tubing and kayaking floats

download free WaterTrail guide

Toccoa River North: Lake Blue Ridge to McCaysville
The Toccoa River flows northwards for almost 60 miles, and is one of Georgia’s most pristine trout streams. There are several put-ins and take-outs for shorter and longer trips, whether paddling it on your own or hiring an outfitter. Below the Blue Ridge dam, the river travels north to McCaysville, Georgia then into Tennessee (where it is known as the Ocoee River). Water quality is great and trout fishing is excellent. Add beautiful scenery and mild rapids and you have the perfect environment for canoeing, tubing, fishing and all kinds of outdoor recreation. As a bonus you'll float over an old Cherokee fish trap in the middle of the river!

The Ocoee River 
Whether you like your water white and fast or deep and peaceful, a thrill a minute or a quiet drift through a summer afternoon, the Ocoee has it all. The Ocoee River area attracts thousands of visitors every year for whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, camping and picnicking. The area includes the Ocoee Whitewater Center in the Cherokee National Forest, site of the 1996 Olympic Canoe/Kayak Slalom competition. Big, closely spaced rapids make it one of the most popular whitewater rivers in the eastern USA.

Take the southern section of the Toccoa River through National Forest and scenic pastoral scenes (not dam controlled here)

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Toccoa River South: Headwaters to Lake Blue Ridge
The Toccoa River flows through Fannin County and becomes Lake Blue Ridge. Beautiful scenery and mild rapids on this section of the river create the perfect environment for canoeing, tubing, fishing, camping and all kinds of outdoor recreation. The Toccoa River Canoe Trail is a peaceful 14 mile kayak or canoe float downstream through pastoral scenes and National Forest. Along Aska Road, a number of water outfitters offer tubing adventures and gear for kayaking, as well as shuttle services.

Lake Blue Ridge
Make your own adventure along the shores of Lake Blue Ridge, a 3,290-acre lake, providing over 100 miles of mostly public shoreline. The surrounding area has National Forest campsites, several boat ramps, a full service marina and public swimming and picnic areas, including Morganton Point and Lake Blue Ridge Recreation areas. All kind of water  adventures are available on Lake Blue Ridge from fishing to pontoon boating, waterskiing, kayaking or just picnicking and relaxing on the shores of this gorgeous mountain lake.

Fall Branch Falls along the Benton MacKaye Trail is a short hike to a beautiful cascade

download free waterfalls guide

Hiking Trails to Waterfalls
If hiking is your perfect adventure, you can combine it with a waterfall destination. Hidden waterfalls are jewels in the gorgeous wilderness surrounding Blue Ridge. Get our free area hiking trails guide here. The famous Appalachian Trail begins here and the Benton MacKaye (pron. mack-eye) winds throughout the area with access to some great waterfall hikes. Get our free Self-guided Tours and check out all the different options for adventures like hiking and discovering waterfalls (and more!). For detailed information you can also consult the US Forest Service web site at https://www.fs.usda.gov/conf. Maps are also available there online.

About the Author

Chip Cipcic
Blue Ridge Georgia Tourism

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