Mountaintown Creek Paddling Guide
Located west of Ellijay, Mountaintown Creek is a delightful stream that moves at a good clip through many Class I and II rapids that build in frequency and intensity before the creek ends 6 miles below the put-in. Paddling Mountaintown Creek commits you to an additional section of easy whitewater on the wide Coosawattee and a paddle down the still waters of Carters Lake to reach the nearest take-out point. Although the lake paddling portion is less than exciting, Mountaintown Creek itself never bores.
MAPS: Dyer Gap, Webb (USGS); Gilmer (Counry)
GA 282 TO CARTERS LAKE RIDGEWAY BOAT RAMP
Class: II; Length: 11.1 miles; Time: 4.5-6 hours; Gauge: None; Level: N/A; Gradient: 28 feet per mile; Scenery: B
DESCRIPTION: Don't miss the antique cars embedded in the bluff on river right at the put-in; they are, along with the tires ingeniously recycled to form the steps down to the river, the sole visual remains of the automobile junkyard that once occupied this spot. The scene quickly changes as the river cruises by stretches of riverside housing narrowly separated from the river by a low bank. The development continues until well downstream where the primitive forest reasserts itself.
The main attraction of this run is the stream itself From the beginning, the pace is steady and quick. The creek barely pauses between rapids, preferring to ripple over the shallow bed than to pool before the next drop. Rapids start out easy and become more challenging; several significant, technical, Class II drops are found near the end of the creek. The pace is unforgiving for paddlers without a functional ferry or eddy turn.
Mter 6 miles of the creek and a similarly lively 1.S-mile section of the Coosawattee, the backwaters of Carters Lake put the brakes on the current, silencing the rapids. Around this point, the flotsam swept east off the lake announces the formal entry into Carters Lake.
The remaining 3.8 miles seem to pass slowly in comparison to the fast pace of the creek. On a windy day, forward progress can be difficult. The take-out is at the Ridgeway Boat Ramp, which is not visible from the main channel. Look to the right shore for a long cove that bends back to the right. A small island lies just offshore from the boat ramp. The next access area is many miles down the lake, so make sure you do not miss the take-out.
SHUTTLE: From GA 5/515 in East Ellijay, take GA 282 west approximately 7.5 miles to the left turn for the Ridgeway Boat Ramp at Carters Lake. Note the put-in on GA 282, 3.8 miles before the boat ramp road.
GAUGE: There is no gauge. The local outfitter can provide information on flows via phone.