Five Southeast Rafting Classics

Nantahala and Chattooga
By Tom Ress

Monday, North Carolina, Nantahala River.

OK, so the title of this article is "Five Southeast Rafting Classics." I'm throwing in the Nantahala as a bonus. Sue me. A little too tame for rafting, the Nantahala will give you a chance to hone your paddling skills after watching the local kayak experts negotiate Class III Nantahala Falls, rent a kayak and give the Class II water of the Nantahala a try. Play in the water for as long as you want, after all you're on vacation. You'll have most of the day here to practice your rolls and surf the waves.

Your next stop is only a few miles down Highway 441 at Clayton, Georgia. Four miles north of Clayton, camp at one of the twelve walk-in sites at Black Rock Mountain State Park (call 800-864-PARK for reservations). Sit around the campfire telling scary tales involving murderous moonshiners to get in the proper mood for:

Tuesday, Georgia, Chattooga River

Everybody knows the Chattooga's claim to fame: the river where Ned Beatty squealed like a pig in Deliverance. A federally designated Wild and Scenic River, it is also renowned for its primitive beauty. Perhaps the most technically challenging of the five rivers you'll raft this week, the Chattooga requires constant attention to avoid flipping in its twisting chutes. Start off with the most dangerous rapid, Woodall Shoals, a ledge which forms a massive keeper that can grab and hold boats (and people). Below Woodall Shoals, the river narrows into a series of steep drops and impressive rapids, leading into Seven Foot Falls.

As a climax, Five Falls blasts you with one Class III and four Class V rapids in a quarter mile section before flushing you out on the other side, wet, tired and exhilarated. Your tent awaits you back at Black Mountain so warm yourself by the campfire and get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow: Road trip.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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