Chattooga River (West Fork Campground to Earl’s Ford)

Location: Northeastern, Georgia
Trip Starts: West Fork Campground
Trip Ends: Earls Ford
Total Distance: 11.2 miles
Hike Type: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Trails Used: Chattooga River
Trail Traffic: Light to Moderate
Trip Type: Overnight Trip
More Information:

Sumter National Forest
Andrew Pickens Ranger District
112 Andrew Pickens Circle
Mountain Rest, South Carolina 29664
(864) 638-9568


The Chattooga River begins in the mountains of North Carolina as small rivulets, nourished by springs and abundant rainfall, high on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. The water drops a half mile in elevation over fifty miles as it winds its way to Lake Tugaloo where the river ends between South Carolina and Georgia. The Chattooga is one of the few remaining free-flowing streams in the Southeast, and the setting is primitive with dense forests and undeveloped shorelines on most of its route. On May 10, 1974, Congress designated the Chattooga a Wild and Scenic River – a honor reserved for rivers with outstanding scenery, recreation, wildlife, geologic, and cultural values.

This is a kayaking trip that starts at The West Fork Campground (at Overflow Creek Road) and follows the West Fork of the Chattooga River for about four miles to the main branch of the Chattooga. (Some maps call this Overflow Creek and others call it Warwoman Creek).  The West Fork of the Chattooga then joins the main branch to run for seven miles to Earl’s Ford near Westminster, South Carolina. The river in this section (section two) has a few Class II rapids and a single Class III at Big Shoals which is easily forded during periods of lower water. The trip can be done in six to eight hours as either a long day trip or as an overnight float trip with campsites scattered along the river – particularly after Big Shoals.

GPS Coordinates:

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