Everything You Need To Know For Whitewater Rafting Near Helen, Georgia

Posted by Tom Telford on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Some vacationers visit Helen, Georgia and the surrounding area for peace and quiet, and some come for outdoor thrills. For those who are a bit adventurous, nothing will quite match the excitement and fun of whitewater rafting. To make sure you know everything about north Georgia rafting, we’ve provided the why, where, how, and what, all right here in this article.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Why Go Whitewater Rafting In Helen, Georgia?

If you’re not sure why you’d want to do it at all, whitewater rafting combines the joys of nature, adrenaline, and new experiences all into one. Gorgeous views, sudden drops, and active participation in the rowing all make for a unique outing that can’t be imitated.

But, if you’re already looking to take a rafting trip and are wondering why north Georgia is a solid destination, the answer is about creating the best possible schedule and setting.

Whitewater rafting trips are often a great reason to set up a weekend event rather than a quick out-and-back trip. Many of the best rivers for these excursions are tucked away in natural settings that require a little driving, so rather than rushing the experience, it helps to find accommodations in the area.

Fortunately, the north Georgia mountains have numerous inns and cabins for visitors who might arrive on a Friday, raft on Saturday, and head home on Sunday.

Such a plan is typical for small and large groups alike. In fact, many of our own guests find that contrasting the peaceful north Georgia forests and towns with the rushing river rapids adds more excitement than treating your rafting trip like a routine stop in your schedule.

North Georgia Rafting Companies

Once you’ve committed to a rafting trip, you’ll want to choose a rafting company. We've got two great options for you to explore.

southeast-expeditions-logo white water rafting chatooga river

Southeast Expeditions

Address: 7350 Hwy 76 E, Clayton, GA 30525
Phone: 1-800-868-7238

Explore either section 3 or 4 of the Chattooga river with Southeast Expeditions or a full day ride or a multi-day outdoor adventure. Southeast Expeditions also provides canoeing and kayaking clinics if you'd prefer to leave the raft ashore.


Wildwood Outfitters

Address: 26 Megan Dr, Cleveland, GA 30528
Phone: (800) 553-2715

Ride the wild waves of the Chattahoochee river (Section 1-4) with Wildwood Outfitters. Your many options will give you the opportunity to enjoy a tamer ride with family, or a more exciting adventure with friends. 


North Georgia Rafting Rivers

Several fantastic rivers run through Helen, Georgia and the surrounding areas. Each has its own features, although some rafting companies only provide trips on certain rivers. Here is a survey of the major rivers in the area.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Chattooga River

Movie buffs will find this river very familiar.  Featured in the Burt Reynolds and John Voight film, "Deliverance (1972)," the Chattooga was designated a Wild and Scenic River only two years after filming had finished.  Don't let the depressing and sometimes frightening nature of the movie dissuade you from rafting this gorgeous river.  

Be aware, however, that one accurate portrayal featured in the film is that rafting in a number of sections of this particular river should only be attempted by seasoned rafters.  While there are some areas suitable for children and families, many portions, such as an area known as "five falls" reach a class V intensity.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Chattahoochee River

Long before Alan Jackson put the Chattahoochee on the proverbial map, local residents have greatly enjoyed rafting down this river that cuts through the town of Helen. For the majority of the time, the water is relatively calm, which makes it a relaxing experience for the entire family.  

In the rare event that water spills over from the dam that empties into the river (making it a class III), an alarm will sound, providing more than ample time to return to shore.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Soque River

Also close to Helen, this river is quite calm, perfect for rafting beginners, families and children. Most of the course is full of slow and easy waters, never getting above a class II.

Plus, no matter where you begin, the Soque will meet up with the Chattahoochee River. Perfect for a relaxing, fun time with North Georgia rafting.

kayakers contemplate going down a rapid viewed from above at Tallulah Gorge, Georgia.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Tallulah River

This river runs the gamut of classes.  It is divided into two sections suitable for rafting: one that runs from Old Highway 441 to Tallulah Falls and another that goes from Tallulah Gorge to Lake Tugaloo.  

The former features mostly classes II and III rapids, while the latter is full of classes IV and V.  However, if you can brave these rapids, the sights surrounding this area are nothing short of breathtaking.

Tiger Creek

This short rafting trip, typically around forty minutes, seems to be tailor-made for the intermediate rafter. The class III rapids provide the perfect opportunity for a less experienced person as they work their way up to the more difficult, and dangerous, classes.

And like the Tallulah River, Tiger Creek presents a number of opportunities to enjoy the sights of the beautiful landscape.

Additional River Activity Resources

In our north Georgia River resource Hub, we've created four articles on how to best enjoy and be safe while hitting the rivers around the area of Helen, Georgia. Here are other three insightful blogs to help you make the most of your time.

Since you're interested in rafting on the river, we suspect you'll also be interested in the following activity content hubs, all contained in our master guide to the Helen, Georgia area.

What Do You Think?

Whether you decide to brave the monstrous rapids or partake in a more leisurely whitewater rafting adventure, you'll find that rafting in the North Georgia Mountains has something for everyone.

So grab your raft and your gear, and begin a world of adventure, and share your experiences and thoughts below.

Topics: Rafting, Tubing, & Kayaking, Things To Do, Cabin Rentals, North Georgia, Nature, The Outdoors, Waterfalls, Hiking & Trails
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