Chattahoochee River National
1978 Island Ford Parkway
Sandy Springs, GA 30350
Island Ford Visitor Center
Explore An Ancient River in a
Today the river valley attracts us
for so many reasons. Take a solitary walk to enjoy nature�s
display, raft leisurely through the rocky shoals with friends, fish
the misty waters as the sun comes up, or have a picnic on a Sunday
afternoon. Experience your Chattahoochee River National Recreation
Northbound GA 400 - Take exit #6
(Northridge Road). Coming off the exit, stay in the right lane,
cross over GA 400, and turn right onto Dunwoody Place. Go 0.5 miles
to Roberts Drive. Turn right and proceed 0.7 miles to the park
entrance on your right.
Southbound GA 400 - Take exit #6
(Northridge Road). Continue straight ahead at the traffic light onto
Dunwoody Place. Go 0.5 miles to Roberts Drive. Turn right and
proceed 0.7 miles to the park entrance on your right.
Call the Visitor Contact Station at
678-538-1200 if you have any questions.
Places to Picnic
- Abbott's Bridge
- Chattahoochee River Park
- Gold Branch
- Island Ford Park Headquaters
- Johnson Ferry
- Jones Bridge
- Jones Bridge Park
- Paces Mill
- Riverside Park
- Sope Creek
- Medlock Bridge
- Vickery Creek
- Whitewater Creek
Plan Your Visit
The Chattahoochee National Recreation
Area contains 16 park units with a total of 50 miles of hiking
trails, a Visitor Contact Station at the Island Ford Unit, numerous
picnic areas, canoe, kayak and raft rentals. For more information
click on Things to Do or call the Visitor Contact Station at
The Chattahoochee River is a stocked
trout stream with 23 species of game fish. Year-round fishing is
available with a Georgia fishing license and a trout stamp.
Things to Do
The Chattahoochee River is a great
place for a picnic, a leisurely walk, or boating on a sunny
afternoon. The 48 miles of the river that the park contains can take
up the whole day or just a few hours for a quick getaway from the
fast pace of the city life.
In the Cochran Shoals area, bike
riding is permitted (on designated trails) and a mountain bike area
is provided for the more daring. Horseback riding enthusiasts can
travel to Bowmans Island for a peaceful ride on the trails there.
The southern Appalachian Mountains
are ancient mountains. Once as tall and rugged as the Alps, these
ancient mountains have been changed by the hand of geologic time.
Today they are cloaked in a dense mantel of diverse vegetation; oak,
hickory, and hemlock; rhododendron, laurel, wildflowers and ferns.
These mountains are home to the bear, turkey, and salamander.
This rugged wilderness gives rise to
an ancient river, the Chattahoochee. Seeping from a small patch of
sand and gravel on the south slope of Jacks Knob; just 100 meters
south of Chattahoochee Gap on the Appalachian Trail. Fed by many
springs and tiny tributaries, the river grows quickly as it travels
down the steep mountainside.
With cascades, crashing falls, and
crystal clear water, the river, rushing about boulder and log,
leaves the Appalachians, traverses the piedmont province, enters the
coastal plain, and finally adds its waters to the Gulf of Mexico to
create the nursery of the Apalachicola. It was, according to some
geologists, a greater river that created this corridor. However,
over the millennia, tributary waters were taken by the savannah and
Tennessee Rivers through Geologic stream capture.
Through the millions of years and the
grand changes of the Earth, the river stayed its course under the
influence of the Brevard Fault. In very recent times, geologically
speaking, the river was shrouded in a dense cloak of fog providing
protective insulation for broad-leafed hardwoods and herbaceous
As the ice receded in the far north
and the climate warmed, the plants migrated from the river corridor
disbursed by water, wind, and wildlife. In time the piedmont and
mountains held a rich and abundant diversity of natural resources.
The ancient Chattahoochee continued to flow from the mountains and
across the piedmont. Our term, Piedmont, comes from the Italian
word, piemonte, �at the foot of the mountains�.
Once mountainous itself, the piedmont
has worn to rolling hills, punctuated by the occasional lone
mountain and dissected by steep stream ravines.
And so it was this wealth of
resources, some 8,000 years ago; not ever eyes blink in geologic
time; attracted humans. Palieo, Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian,
and finally, during historic times, Cherokee and Creek all used the
river corridor in turn. Soon persons from Europe and Africa entered
the piedmont. Coexistence was replaced by removal because of rich
farmlands, abundant water power, and very high grade gold.
Mills along Rottenwood, Sope, and
Vickery Creeks produced flour, cornmeal paper, and textiles. Farms
flourished and gold was removed from hillsides and streambeds. The
mills; operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; employed hundreds of
workers. That is until July of 1864 when General William T. Sherman
arrived with his army. The mills were burned, many skilled workers
were exiled to the north, and surprising the army of the south;
Union Forces crossed the river at Sope Creek flanking the
Over time much was rebuilt, some
enterprises succeeded, some faded away, times were often difficult
along the river.
The Chattahoochee River National
Recreation Area (CRNRA) consists of a 48-mile stretch of the
Chattahoochee River and 14 land units along its corridor. It begins
at Lake Lanier's Buford Dam, near Buford, Georgia, and continues
downstream through four counties to Peachtree Creek near downtown
CRNRA provides outdoor recreation for
more than 3 million visitors a year. It is an important resource for
this urban area that is experiencing unprecedented population growth
CRNRA is a place rich in natural and
human history, each influenced by the river's pervasive force.
Usually clear, cold, and slow moving, the river sometimes plunges as
a muddy torrent through its rockbound shoals.
For centuries people have been drawn
to the river for food, transportation, and for power to sustain the
mills, factories, and homes built along its banks.
Today the river attracts us for
different reasons. People come to float down the river, as the
locals will say, "shoot the 'hooch", hike the trails along
its banks, fish in its cold water, and simply relax.
Wildlife is abundant in the park.
Some animals you will see every time you visit CRNRA and some, like
the playful river otter, will delight you with a rare appearance.
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