RAFTING THE CHATTAHOOCHEE
Colorado, NO. Montana, NO. Costa Rica, NO. How about an area in Southeastern Alabama and Southwestern Georgia along the the Chattahoochee River (you know, that Alan Jackson song). Located in the heart of Columbus GA, lies the all new Chattahoochee Whitewater Park. The park bills itself as having the longest urban whitewater rafting in the world and we believe it. Even USA Today picked it as one of the top 12 man made adventures in the world.
The rafting options include class II-V rapids which is very hard to believe in this part of the country. This is all due to the damn upriver that has different control releases. Typically the more mild runs, class II-III, are run in the morning and the class IV-V runs are run later in the afternoon. For those who are really into the rafting this correlates to 900cfs in the morning to 13,000cfs in the afternoon! The entire run covers 2.5 miles.
This is what you will need to know if you plan on going on one of the rafting adventures:
- Make sure to bring some form of water shoes, they are required. The local outfit sells them if you forget yours.
- The minimum age for the Class II trip is 7 years old, which is why we were able to take advantage of the trip. You must be 12 years of age or older to do the class IV-V rapids and these take place during the afternoon.
- Bring sunscreen! The trip is around 2 hours, so you will be out in the sun for an extended period of time.
- Reservations are highly recommended.
Once you have your life vests and helmets, its time to board the bus to the drop off location. At only about a 10 minute drive upstream to the damn you will be on the water in no time. With our family of 4 we were the only ones in our raft with our guide which worked out really well for us.
We where really surprised about how well Whitewater Express ran their operation and the options that were available from bike rentals, tube rentals, SUP’s, zip lining, and fly fishing tours. The store itself is basically a small REI with everything you need for the outdoors.
Once you have completed the trip, the town of Columbus has a ton of options to keep you busy the rest of day such as, a wonderful kids playground, 15 miles of riverwalk trails, and an abundance of shops and restaurants. There are vendors that line the streets selling everything from produce, jewelry, and antiques.
We would definitely recommend taking an adventure like this with your family. It was completely different then what we normally do and we loved it and we can’t wait to come back!
Here are a couple of links that you might find handy.
- White Water Express – http://www.whitewaterexpress.com/chattahoochee/
- Things to do in Columbus – http://www.uptowncolumbusga.com/plaintext/home/home.aspx
- Places we stopped for drinks and eats – Iron Bank Coffee http://www.ironbankcoffee.com/ and for lunch we chose http://www.barberitos.com/ for fresh burritos and bowls.