Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area | BOATING

Fishing boat on the Chattahoochee River

Fishing boat on the Chattahoochee River


NOTE: This section is referring to motor boats. For information on kayaking, canoeing, or rafting, visit the Paddling the River web page.


The following Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area park units have boat ramps (photos of the ramps are on each page):

Bowmans Island

McGinnis Ferry

Abbotts Bridge

Medlock Bridge

Jones Bridge

Johnson Ferry

Paces Mill / Palisades

There are also boat ramps at the Chattahoochee River Park and below Morgan Falls Dam at Morgan Falls Park. Both of these are city and county parks and are not reviewed here on National Park Planner.

Motorboating on the Chattahoochee is done almost entirely in regards to fishing. This is not Lake Lanier where people are out pleasure boating or water skiing.

Motorboats are allowed anywhere within the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area as long as they are properly licensed in their respective states. However, boaters need to keep in mind that there are sections of rapids and shoals at various points along the river. The rapids are caused by large rocks directly below the surface. Attempting to use your motor through such areas will surely damage it. Unfortunately, there are no published guides that show where the water is deep enough to use a motor.

I don’t have a boat, so I can’t give much advice on the subject. I did, however, talk to a park Ranger. First off, the Ranger does not recommend fiberglass boats on this river due to the good chance of hitting a rock, submerged tree trunk, or other debris. Most boats on the Chattahoochee are made of ABS or rubber.

Secondly, he suggests boating between Jones Bridge and Bowmans Island, the upper section of the park. If you look at a park map, you will find that most of the rapids and shoals start south of Jones Bridge. There is a boat ramp at both Jones Bridge and Bowmans Island, as well as at Medlock Bridge and Abbotts Bridge, two in between units. However, while I did see some fishermen putting in at Bowmans Island, not too far down the river are some of the biggest rapids in the park. You can always pull up your motor and float down just like a raft, but how you would get back upriver is beyond me. You certainly can’t use your motor, and the current may be too strong to paddle back up. You may have to get out and pull your boat. Therefore, based on my far-from-expert knowledge, I’d suggest putting in at the Jones Bridge ramp and heading north. There is almost 20 miles of river between Jones Bridge and Bowmans Island.

Another possibility for boating is Bull Sluice Lake. You can put in at the Chattahoochee River Park (city of Roswell Park), which is located between the Vickery Creek and Gold Branch park units, and fish all the way down to Morgan Falls Dam, a 3-mile stretch of water.

You could also boat from below Morgan Falls Dam to Powers Island, but you definitely don’t want to go farther south, as below Powers Island is the best stretch of “white water” on the river. There are some small rapids at Johnson Ferry, and while I’m sure you can float over them, you may have to get out and pull your boat back over the rapids when trying to get back to Morgan Falls Dam.

Rock strewn waters of the Chattahoochee River below Johnson Ferry (this photo was taken at the Palisades unit of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area)

Rock strewn waters of the Chattahoochee River below Johnson Ferry (this photo was taken at the Palisades unit of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area)

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Last updated on May 5, 2024
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