The Chattooga River is considered the Southeast’s premier whitewater rafting adventure

According to Southern Living, “To experience the South’s best water adventure, you need to raft South Carolina’s Chattooga River.”  (Take the Plunge is Listed #2 in the article 40 Things Every Southerner Ought To Do.)

We couldn’t agree more!

photo of raft running rapid on the chattooga river
Photo from Wildwater’s Facebook page

The Chattooga was federally protected in 1974 by the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act which means it is protected from development and will remain unchanged forever. Thank you, Congress!

There are numerous ways the public can experience the Chattooga River:

  • Fish it
  • swim it
  • canoe it
  • paddleboard it
  • duckie it
  • kayak it
  • raft it
  • Every way is a great way!

Rafting the Chattooga

It’s hard to top a day spent with a rafts-eye view from the river gorge.
photo of person doing split into the Chattooga River
Raft guides know the best rock jump spots! Photo from Wildwater’s Facebook page.

The scenery is amazing! There are huge boulders, riffles and rapids depending on where you are; there are calm stretches and cool places to get out and swim along the way; talking and visiting with raft mates…it’s a full day of fun!

If you want to raft it, you can either go with a commercial outfitter or plan your own private raft trip.

Rafting Outfitters

The U.S. Forest Service regulates and oversees the operation of commercial outfitters on the Chattooga River. There are only three companies with permits allowing them to operate commercial rafting trips on the Chattooga.

When you go with a commercial outfitter, you’ll be paying for their expertise and all the equipment will be provided. Raft guides go through extensive river training and are certified to administer first aid in case of emergencies.

Outfitters operating fully guided trips on Section III and Section IV

image of wilwater's logo
Wildwater’s Chattooga outpost is located in Oconee County on the SC side of the river.

Wildwater operates 5 adventure centers in 4 states.  Their headquarters is in Long Creek near the Chattooga River.

Wildwater actively partners with Visit Oconee SC. They are the only outfitter offering a half-day Mini Trip on Section III. They have a climbing wall and offer zip line canopy tours at their Chattooga Adventure Center. Optional “Stay and Play” packages where guests can book onsite lodging at the Chattooga outpost.

 

photo of the NOC logo
N.O.C.’s Chattooga outpost is located in Oconee County on the SC side of the river.

 

Nantahala Outdoor Center operates on 6 rivers. They are based out of Bryson City on the Nantahala River.

image of Southeastern Expeditions logo
S.E.E.’s Chattooga outpost is located in Rabun County on the Georgia side of the river.

 

Southeastern Expeditions operates on 2 rivers. They are based out of Tennessee near the Ocoee River.

Rafting with a Commercial Outfitter

They will provide everything needed for an exciting and safe day:

  • picture of lunch buffet on top of a raftProfessional raft guide
  • Raft
  • Paddle
  • PFD (personal flotation device/life jacket)
  • Helmet
  • Weather-appropriate attire
  • Lunch on the river
  • Shuttle to the river put-in and back to the outpost from the river take-out

We hope you’ll remember to tip your raft guide. It’s hard work! They try their best to get everyone safely down the river and ensure you have a great time.


Overnight Raft Trips

Wildwater and Southeastern Expeditions both offer overnight camping/rafting options on the Chattooga River.

photo of overnight campout

An overnighter is a two-day rafting excursion. You’ll do Section III the first day, raft to a designated campsite, sleep by the river, and set out for Section IV the second day.

Tents will be set up when you arrive and dinner will be prepared for you. The outfitter will do the work so guests can sit back, visit, and enjoy themselves in the wilderness overlooking the river.

We suggest booking a rafting trip with a commercial outfitter for a safe, fun, and memorable adventure on the Chattooga River!

 

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