Chattahoochee River Facts

Many of our guests at Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals near Helen Georgia ask us about the beautiful and powerful Chattahoochee River. Here are some fun facts about the history and activities you can do on ‘ TheHooch’!


In the Georgia border and southern half of Alabama, a portion of the Florida and Georgia border is the Chattahoochee River. It begins as a tiny stream in North Georgia and flows over 430 miles or 690 km long. It makes up the largest part of the ACF’s drainage basin. The term Chattahoochee is thought to come from a Muskogee word that means “rocks-marked” or painted, from chato which means “rock” plus huchi which means “marked”. It’s thought to refer to the colorful granite outcroppings along the river.

The river is believed to be at least 100 million years old. At least 1000 B.C., the vicinity of the river was inhabited by indigenous peoples. The river served as a diving line between the Muscogee and the Cherokee territories in the Southeast. The Native Americans were removed to make way for European-American settlement from 1820 through 1832. From the southeastern side of the river, the Muscogee were first removed and then the Cherokee from the northwest came next. During the American Civil War, the river was of strategic importance during the Atlanta Campaign. In early July 1864, some of the areas were occupied by the Confederate Army as part of a defensive line. The line became known as Johnston’s River Line and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two of the last battles of the war, West Point and Columbus took place at strategically important crossings of the Chattahoochee.

In the nineteenth century, the river was used for navigation. It was a major transportation route for trade and passengers. Dams and reservoirs were built in the twentieth century and at the beginning of the late twentieth century, a nonprofit organization called Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper advocated for the preservation of the environment and ecology of the northern part of the river.  In 2010, the whitewater river course was launched creating the longest urban whitewater course in the world.

Over most of its length, the flow of the Chattahoochee River is regulated and controlled by 13 dams responsible for generating hydropower and electricity, in addition to three lock-and-dam facilities.


* For Drinking
The river supplies 70% of metro Atlanta’s drinking water

* Agriculture purposes
As of 2013, the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) had issued 573 agricultural water withdrawal permits in the Chattahoochee River basin.

* Energy use
It is the main use of the river. It has 22 power-generating plants located along the main stem of the Chattahoochee River.

* Municipal and industrial use
Industries and municipalities are authorized to discharge wastewater into the river pursuant to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

Chattahoochee River Facts: Festivals and Celebrations

Every year, the Chattahoochee River Race and Festival is held. All paddlers at any skill level are invited to join. Class I and II Rapids is an eight-mile course held about an hour from Atlanta. If you’re not in the river, the shore has farmer’s markets, local artisans, live music, and other activities.

Waterfest is also an annual and free festival in Gainesville, Georgia. The celebration is to educate residents and raise funds for the watershed, and local waterways. The event includes live music, a silent auction, and an environment expo.

Chattahoochee River Facts: Things you can do around the area

Chattahoochee Nature Center

A sprawling 127 acres, there is so much to do here whether it is hiking, canoeing, or wildlife watching. There are also aviaries you and your kids can check out!

Taking a hike at the Chattahoochee Trails

There are different trails in the recreation area. You can choose between an easy or a more challenging hike. If you’re a runner or a cyclist, take the Cochran Shoals Trail which is a 3.5-mile loop.

Fishing at the Chattahoochee River

The river is one of the top fishing destinations. Whether it’s traditional bait or fly fishing, you will enjoy spending endless hours on the river.

Chattahoochee River Tubing

There are places where you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and tubes. Explore up to 8 miles of flatwater.

After a tiring day of exploring the Chattahoochee River, find comfort and solace in one of our cabins.