THE TUGALOO RIVER WATER TRAIL
The Tugaloo River is a named Water Trail in the state of Georgia and with the Georgia Rivers Network.
The Tugaloo River Water Trail includes the 10-mile stretch of the Tugaloo River from Yonah Dam and Panther Creek to Broken Bridges and the upper reaches of Lake Hartwell. This area is known as the Tugaloo Corridor and is the only remaining free-flowing section of the Tugaloo River. It is also the northern-most navigable point of the entire Savannah/Tugaloo watershed.
Paddlers, not only enjoy the pristine environment of the Tugaloo River, but they also paddle a very historic river! In the 1700s this was a major crossroads and the center of the Cherokee Lower Towns. During this period, no less than 14 Native American towns and villages were located along the Tugaloo Corridor and its tributaries. The Corridor also contains the beginning of Georgia’s first interstate highway, the Unicoi Turnpike.
The Tugaloo River Water Trail was formalized by a project of the Stephens County Foundation (SCF) in 2021. The Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for residents of Stephens County, Georgia, through fostering and providing learning opportunities about our heritage and natural environment.
The Mission of the Tugaloo River Water Trail is to preserve the natural environment of the Tugaloo River through partnering with residents, key members of Stephens County and other stakeholders in our area. Our goal is to offer educational and recreational experiences for all who come to fish, paddle, birdwatch, study, and experience the natural beauty of the Tugaloo River.
The SCF is committed to protecting this fragile river environment so that future generations may have the opportunity to enjoy this River Trail as we do today.
What is a Water Trail?
• A Water Trail is a “water” equivalent of a hiking trail.
• Blueways, canoe trails, and paddle trails are all water trails.
• A water trail has access points along the river, like trailheads, for putting boats in the water or taking them out.
• A water trail is suitable for day-trips in canoes, kayaks & paddle boards.
• Water trails can be various lengths and are used by paddlers, anglers, hikers and picnickers of all ages and ability.
• Water trails have many benefits for the surrounding communities with relatively little investment.
Facts you many need to know:
• Who paddles the Tugaloo River? People of all ages and skill levels paddle the Tugaloo River. Those who seek the beauty of the outdoors find much to enjoy here! Paddlers come from Stephens, neighboring communities, and states. The waters from the wild and scenic Chattooga River actually create the Tugaloo River.
• Always use caution when you are on the water. While the river is a flat water, there are hidden rocks and logs from fallen trees beneath its surface. So, always be careful when entering the river from your boat.
•Wear a PFD at all times, carry plenty of water and sunscreen with you, and stay in your boat unless an emergency occurs. Though a lot of the river is outside cell phone coverage, you can often call 911, if needed. Many of the access points are marked. Always make note of your location.
• The Tugaloo River Corridor is a natural resource for the state of Georgia. What you pack in, please pack out including cans, bottles, tissues, and other items that can and do destroy the environment.
• Where can you find out more information about the Tugaloo River Water Trail and water trails in general? The Tugaloo River is also listed on The Georgia River Network, Explore Georgia, and Paddle Georgia.
Take your adventure to the water!
Follow our paddle guide to learn about points of interest along the Tugaloo River Water Trail. Please check back soon for an updated map and guide.
$30 per day
$20 per day
(2 or more vessels)
Site descriptions coming soon....