Etowah River-X 2008

Welcome to
The Etowah River Experience 2008
Dawson County’s

Overnight Kayak/Canoe Camping Trip

No paddling or camping experience necessary (but they are helpful).

Enjoy and experience the Etowah River as we paddle and camp overnight (with special permission), on a river bank in the Dawson Forest WMA (Wildlife Management Area).

This is an overnight wilderness canoe/kayak camping trip, on a full moon weekend, where you will have the opportunity to share some of Dawson County's rarely seen riverine beauty with your fellow paddlers.

Here is your chance to experience a real river trip and have a great weekend outdoors!

Richard Grove will be your river guide for this event. In 2006, Richard paddled solo from the headwaters of the Etowah river, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. If you have any questions please feel free to contact him or visit the forums on his website.

Note: This trip will be limited to the first 25 confirmed paddlers.


Registration Includes:

  • Parking
  • Round trip shuttle
  • River maps
  • Event boat decal
  • Special permission to camp in Dawson Forest
  • Dinner Friday night (must bring a dish to share!)
  • Lunch Saturday
  • The priceless Etowah-X 2008 T-shirt


The total weekend trip river mileage is 22.3 miles.

That's an 11.6 mile paddle to the campsite on Saturday and a 10.7 mile paddle on Sunday to the final take-out.

The easy Saturday paddle should take about 6 paddling hours. Arrival at the campsite depends on how long we spend eating lunch at the new Dawson County Scenic River Park at the Hwy 9 Bridge. This is always a good time to socialize, stretch your legs, take pictures and reapply sunscreen. Dawson County will provide lunch at this beautiful new Scenic River Park and put-in point.


A proposed list of food & gear is available and a river kayaking instructor will be on the trip to assist beginners. 

All gear (paddling, camping, food and water) must be carried in your boat. There will be no one to bring you anything as we are camping in the wilderness of the Dawson Forest!

The river is rated for beginners with a few shoals to keep it exciting.

Paddling is a water sport so you should plan on getting wet/letting go of whatever you are holding in your hand/on your lap! After all it wouldn't be as fun if we didn't get wet, despite this being a calm and relatively shallow river.

Plan on you and everything you take with you getting wet and/or muddy, so have everything in waterproof bags! You probably won't get wet, but as I said earlier, this is a water sport!

The sun will burn you even if it isn't shining brightly, so be prepared with appropriate clothing or sunscreen. Hats and sunglasses are recommended.  Bring anti-bug sprays if you use them.

The river already has plenty of sunglasses so please put yours on a leash. Also, make sure your cell phone (is off) and/or camera are in a waterproof bag. Don't expect a ten cent sandwich bag to protect this valuable equipment.

Please, no TVs; radios and MP3 players (with/out headphones); electronic games; or computers.  This trip is more about experiencing the river than it is about a day out paddling! You may use a GPS device if that is your habit, but the river tends to flow downstream :)

Participants will be asked to camp overnight at the designated campsite, except for emergencies. This trip is specially designed for you to enjoy the river and the great outdoors while roughing it a little!


Toilet Amenities
Mile 0 Ga 53 Bridge  
Mile 5.65 Hwy 9 Bridge There is a Port-O-Let at this River Park
Mile 11.59 Campsite
We will bring a portable, chem-toilet to the campsite
Mile 15.15 Kelly Mill Bridge There is a Port-O-Let in the parking lot
Mile 22.25 Old Federal Hwy Br  









You will need food and drink for

  1. Breakfast Saturday
  2. Dinner Saturday
  3. Breakfast Sunday
  4. Lunch on Sunday. 

Plan A

Friday 18

You are invited to Up The River Outfitters for an early-bird evening pot luck dinner and marshmallow roast social. This is a great time to meet the people on the trip and learn more about paddling and the river. Bring your favorite marshmallow stick so we don't have to cut down +30 suitable sticks!  You can set up your tent and spend the night if you want. You will have to supply your own breakfast Saturday morning keeping in mind that the trip starts at 8:00am.

Saturday 19

In the morning, the real fun begins as we load our gear and boats for the shuttle to the river.

Everyone needs to be at Up the River Outfitters no later than 7:30am on Saturday to load gear. We will leave punctually at 8:00am, so don't be late or you'll miss the fun.

Event parking will be at the Up the River Outfitters site only. Shuttle vans or a bus and trailer will be our transportation to and from the river.

Breakfast Saturday morning will be each paddler's responsibility, although coffee and juice may be provided.

We’ll have a 21 mile bus ride to the initial put-in point at the Ga 53 Bridge.

Hopefully it will be a beautiful, bright, sunny day, so bring your sunscreen; sunglasses and hat. 

If it rains, then we'll just have to paddle in the rain!

On this first day we’ll paddle 5.65 miles to Dawson County's new Scenic River Park for a lunch graciously provided by Dawson County.

Afterwards we'll paddle 5.94 miles to our campsite in the beautiful Dawson Forest WMA where we'll set up our tents for our overnight stay. The campsite is located alongside the river between the waterfall and the river. Of course, we'll have a campfire. Camping is just not camping without a campfire, besides, we'll need one for the marshmallow roast...

Sunday 20

In the morning, we'll pack-up and clean-up the campsite. Environmental awareness should be part of everyone's agenda so let's be good stewards and leave nothing behind but footprints. Once everyone is on the water, we'll paddle as a group the last 10.7 miles of our river trip to our final take-out, the Old Federal Hwy Bridge.

There is only one place
below the campsite that is, exciting. After a great day of paddling and a wonderful night who cares if we get wet? This is really nothing to worry about and I will personally be there to see everyone safely through!


Plan B

On a river trip, everything doesn't always go the way we may want it to.  My advice is to just deal with it the best you can and go with the flow. Often, if you approach an experience with preconceived expectations, you may be disappointed with the reality. Everything will be fine. Time is priceless, so let how you measure time stop for this weekend and step back, to the good ole days, where folks relaxed and enjoyed life without all of the modern conveniences. Again, no TVs; radios and MP3 players (with/out headphones); electronic games; or computers.

"Etowah Experience Series" Policies

For your safety and the safety of others...

  1. Minimum age:  18 years old.
  2. Sorry, no pets allowed.
  3. Kayaks / Canoes only. No inflatable boats. Polyethylene boats are recommended for this trip.
  4. Participants must wear a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard approved, personal floatation device (PFD) at all times on the river.
  5. All participants must sign a Medical and Emergency Contact Information sheet and a Waiver of Claims and Release of Liability form.
  6. Fishing is permitted for those who have a current fishing license and trout stamp.

No refunds after July 7, 2008.


Up the River Outfitters (UTRO) is located on Ga Hwy 20 – 5.3 miles east of Ga 400.

Click on the link below for a Google Map and driving directions.

Up the River Outfitters, 6144 Highway 20, Buford, Ga. 30518


Generous sponsors of "Etowah River Experience 2008" are

  • Up the River Outfitters
  • Dawson County Recreation & Community Activities

Support for this event is supplied by:

  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Dawson Forrest WMA
  • Keep Dawson County Beautiful
  • Dawson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Go With the Flow
  • Appalachian Outfitters


A few final words of experience…


You hardly ever take pictures of yourself on the river -but you're in other people's photo's! So, if you take pictures during the event please share them.  I have a website where folks that paddle with me can share their experience (and photo slide-show links) with everyone in a blog post, or in the forum. 

Alternatively, you may send the images, or better yet, a link to your online gallery (Picasa Web Albums, Flickr, Panormaio etc), to me by e-mail, or even mail me a CD.

I will put all the pictures/links I receive, plus the ones I get on CD on my website. Picasa has this neat feature where it will scan the faces in the photo's and email those people that you identify an invite to view the gallery! If you prefer, I can compile a CD of the images I've been sent and mail it to you.


New Paddlers

This trip is not only a great training ground for beginning paddlers, but it is also quite scenic, exciting and fun. On the river you may see various types of fish swimming in the water, birds in the air and animals on the ground. They too are a gift from God. Enjoy them. The property on either side of the river is either private, public forest or owned by a utility corporation. If you find beauty in nature then please join us on this trip.

The river is narrow but widens at a few places. As the river widens it becomes less deep. Follow the main course of the river and stay to the outside. Sometimes you will run aground and get stuck. Don’t worry. Everyone probably will at sometime or another (it's the great outdoors not a manicured theme park!). Just carefully get out of your boat and pull it to deeper water, then carefully get back in.
Paddlers have a river policy that goes like this, "If the person in front of you makes it, follow their route. If not, find another route."

The first couple of miles are on flat, relatively calm water, that will give you a feel for the boat you are using and built up your confidence as you paddle with the group.

Sorry but there aren’t any giant waterfalls to paddle over -I'll see what I can do about that for next time!

Bring your best smile, camera, marshmallow stick and let’s have a great weekend.

See ya'll Friday night!

Name Sales End Price Fee
Etowah-X 2008   Ended $65 $1.62

On the Web

Etowah River-X 2008 Tickets, Buford - Eventbrite

Eventbrite - The Georgia Kayaker presents Etowah River-X 2008 - Friday, July 18, 2008 - Sunday, July 20, 2008 - Find event and ticket information.

Etowah River-X 2008 -The Georgia Kayaker

The photographs from the July 2008 Etowah River-X trip are finally up! Thanks to all who submitted photo’ files to Richard. If you have your images in your own ...

2008 Etowah River Clearing 3 -The Georgia Kayaker

Those who participated in the Etowah River-X 2008 event will recall the large deadfall we unexpectedly came across 15 minutes into the paddle.

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