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We put in at approximately noon. The river gauge online was showing the river at 3.5 feet. There is a slight current at the put in, but nothing difficult. You pass a water treatment facilty soon after departing, then you are into the Dawson WMA and are quite alone until near the end. A group of 5 kayakers left about 10 minutes before us and we so no one else until the end of trip when we passed 5 people fishing. We were in no hurry so we never caught the group in front of us. If you are seeking solitude this is the place to go.
Most of this section of the Etowah is passable at this depth, but there were 2 sections where getting out and pulling the kayaks was the only way to continue. There is a fair amount of bottom dragging though. There are, however, a great many downed trees making navigation difficult at times. There is 1 listed Class II rapid, but at 3.5 feet it was nothing but a draggy slow ride.
The trip took approximately 5 and 1/2 hours to complete partially due to the water depth, and because of one dump and having to bail out one paddlers boat, including fish removal. I would imagine this trip would be a great deal more enjoyable at 4.5 to 5 feet. Take out is at Kelly Bridge. A privately owned location with a boat ramp open to the public.
It is a beautiful section of river and very quiet. Lots of old bridges and bridge supports along the way. A few turtles and many types of birds.
A port-a-john at Kelly Bridge is the only amenity.
North on 400 to left on Dawson Forest Rd. Go to right on Hwy 9 (Dahlonega Hwy.) River park is on your left immediately past the river bridge.
River Map and Scenic Info - www.dawsoncounty.org PDF file
URCHIN Portable Anchor