Tallapoosa River Paddle
April 13-15, 2012
By Curt Cole
Six Georgia Wilderness Society members paddled about 30 miles down the scenic Tallapoosa River in Georgia and Alabama on a beautiful spring weekend. Mountain laurel was very abundant in various stages of bloom. Also seen were native azalea (a.k.a. wild honeysuckle)& wild roses. Rocky cliffs of 10’-30’ were common. Numerous birds were seen, including great blue and little green herons, white herons or egrets, kingfisher and others. An otter slide was also pointed out by the ever-vigilant Terry Ross.
Sections of the river have been designated by Haralson County, Georgia as the Dub Denman Canoe Trail, and Cleburne County, Alabama calls theirs the Loyd Owens Canoe Trail. Neither has a lot of amenities, but all launch sites are decent places to put-in or take-out a boat, with usually decent parking for three to six vehicles. There is a small public campground at Dryden’s Mill.
We camped at Tallapoosa River Outfitters near Heflin, Alabama, with a grassy campground beside the river, and had the place all to ourselves each night. Meals were taken at various restaurants.
Friday’s trip was 9 miles from Broad Street in Tallapoosa, Ga. to County Road 72 in Cleburne county, Ala., taking just over 4 hours plus the lunch stop. Saturday’s Alabama paddle was 14 miles from Dryden’s Mill at CR 448 to the outfitter at AL Hwy 46, and took a little over 6 hours plus lunch. Sunday’s trip of about 7 miles, also in Alabama, took 2.5 hours plus lunch and began at CR 72 and ended at Dryden’s Mill.
Water level was 1.6’ and 115 cfs at the Tallapoosa gauge, 2.9’ and 175 cfs at the Heflin gauge. This was an adequate flow, with no one having to get out and drag their boat. There was only one log that we had to pull over, and one or two we ducked under. No rapids or shoals worth mentioning were encountered.
Participating were: Gus Lane, Joe and Jane Mangum, Tom Payne, Terry Ross, and Curt Cole.