Welcome to one of the most popular whitewater rivers in NE Georgia. First you are lulled by three scenic miles of leisurely paddling. The river then gives way to seven miles of amazing, breathtaking whitewater. As a precaution, the Cartecay meanders through many residential neighborhoods. Be respectful of the residents of the area. Leave no trace and plan well for bathroom stops.
From Holt Bridge Road it is easy travel through mountain laurel and pines for glimpses of surrounding North Georgia Mountains. The flow throughout the valley is Class I with an occasional downed tree. For those only seeking fast-paced adventure, put-in on Lower Cartecay Road. Expect Class II rapids after the valley ends. The Cartecay host long stretches of calm water interrupted by drop and pool rapids. As you approach the S-turn rapid track river left and then continue to eddy out to the right.
The next two rapids are 100 yards apart. After a long pool prepare yourself for Stegall Mill Falls. You can run the falls straight down the middle or to the left. Another drop awaits a little ways down the river. After this point you will approach the Mulkey Road access.
Below the covered bridge the river careens through a series of drop and pool rapids. The next challenge is Mr. Twister which can be run to the right to avoid the wave on the left. You will then approach the Narrows/Clear Creek Falls. This can be run to the left. Portage is easier on the right. In low water conditions it will be necessary to portage and avoid a dangerous hydraulic.
The Cartecay’s remaining journey is an exciting series of Class II rapids before reaching the DNR public access point.
Class: I – III
Length: 9.8 miles
Time: 4-5 hours
Gauge: Phone, visual
Level: 1.6 ft
Gradient: 9 to 40+ fpm
For more information on local rivers, visit us here.