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REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed through the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for details; you will be given payment instructions after you sign up. Late payments are NOT accepted for this event, in any circumstance.

Kayak the Etowah - Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area

The Basics:
Event Type:Water
Event Location: Dawsonville, GA   Water: Kayak the Etowah - Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Sep 25 2022  10:00 am >> Sun, Sep 25 2022 3:00 pm
Registration Opens: Tue, Sep 6 2022 5:28 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Sep 24 2022 9:00 pm
Event Duration:5 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Distance:9 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:$48.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:14
Minimum Group Size:5
Number Registered So Far: 14 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


This is one of the Outfitter's longer trips and requires the ability to steer a kayak around obstacles like trees, rocks, etc.  As a result, it is recommended that this not be anyone's very first paddling experience. That said, this is only a Class I river, so there are no big rapids to contend with. 

They normally stop running this trip after Labor Day, but are going to let us run it since they know our group. FYI, the outfitter has their annual used equipment sale the day before if anyone wants to shop for a boat, paddle, PFD, etc. 


We'll kayak through the 10,000 acre Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area. The trip is rated for beginners and averages 3-4 hours and it is 9 miles long. We will be using their sit on top kayaks. We are not offering any additional BYOB option on this event, in order to support the outfitter's business and justify them running the shuttle for us.  The Outfitter will provide the shuttle, kayaks, PFDs (personal flotation devices) and paddles. The shuttle will have open windows during the approx. 5-10 minute ride, and you're welcome to wear a face mask if you would like to do so.

This is a really pretty stretch of river that travels through an interesting part of GA's history when it "became home to the Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory ( GNAL ) from the 1950′s until 1971.

The initial intent of the facility was to research and develop a nuclear powered aircraft.  Remember, this was during the ” Cold War” when some in government believed we needed an aircraft that could remain in the air for weeks without having to land to refuel.  This was a top-priority project for the US. military, as they were confident that the Soviet Union had made significant advances in this area.

The 10,000 plus acre site had three main areas spread across several miles on the property.  The facilities were all connected with an internal “narrow- gauge” railway system.  The separate sites included a nuclear reactor, a cooling site and a hot-cell building.  There was also an underground “shielded site”, where employees waited when the reactor was operational.  Other buildings included an underground parking facility, miscellaneous storage / warehouse buildings, and research laboratories." For more info on this fascinating bit of our history, see: forest-wildlife-management-area/

Fortunately for us, this area is perfectly safe to visit now, with the added bonus that we will see some of the remnants from that period: partial bridges, abuttments and rail lines used by the base. Along with the beautiful scenery, this makes for a very interesting paddling trip!

STARTING POINT: The Outfitter will pick us up from the parking location noted below and drive us to the put in spot. From there we will float/drift/paddle back to the original location where we left our cars. There are changing areas at the original location and a porta potty.

PLEASE NOTE: You won't have any sort of reliable cell phone service in the parking area where we meet (keep that in mind if you try to call one of your Trip Leaders).

We may stop about halfway through and get out and stretch our legs and have a snack, if we can do so safely. If so, we will do this at Bear Foot Falls, a very pretty set of waterfalls about a 120 foot hike from the river. You can actually climb up the first level of the falls to see the higher one. 

Again, please be comfortable enough around moving/swift water to take care of yourself and possibly swim. If you fall out of your boat you need to be able to take care of yourself while waiting on assistance from someone else to retrieve your boat and/or paddle and/or help you back in your kayak.

Payment is due within 48 hours of your signing up. If you don't pay within 48 hours of signing up, you will be automatically moved to the waiting list regardless of what your Paypal banner says. Don't expect a reminder email about payment being due. See Cancellation Policy below for more details.

The dudes that run this place are great. They work hard schlepping these kayaks around and work mostly for tips. Please consider bringing a few bucks to tip them. Allston is happy to collect the tips from everyone.

NOTE: You may bring your own kayak on this trip, but ONLY if you pay the full event price. We want to guarantee a minimum number of rentals for the outfitter. If you would like to do so, please let us know when you sign up.


Thanks to Lauren for some of the original write-up!

Required Items to Bring:

Shoes you don't mind getting wet, but NOT flip-flops!

$2-5 in cash for tips

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
  • On the river wear clothing you don't mind getting wet or dirty. Bring a change of clothes for after your trip.
  • A watertight container or dry bag for any personal items you do not want to get wet.
  • Wear something on your feet for protection - old running shoes, sandals or river shoes - NOT Flip-Flops!
  • Food or snacks in unbreakable containers. Bring plenty to drink on hot days.
  • Dress according to the weather. Shorts, bathing suit and t-shirts are great for hot days and wind breakers, wool or nylon shirts for cool days. Cotton clothing is NOT recommended.
  • Sun protection, sunblock, hat and sunglasses.
  • Waterproof watch.
  • Leave all unneeded items like wallets, keys, pagers, etc. behind if you do not have a waterproof container for them.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • A towel to dry off after the paddle.


  • Alcoholic beverages or cigarettes (no smoking is permitted).
  • Large coolers, styrofoam coolers, glass bottles.
  • Radios, non-waterproof cameras.


How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Please be at the take out location no later than 9:30 am.

It's best to use the coordinates below and customize directions from your departure point. Go to and paste the bold text in to the search bar. Choose Satellite view and it will show you the parking lot:

34.35318, -84.20595

However, here are more directions:

http://canoegeorgia .com/images/MapToDawson.pdf

Do not pay the $3 fee at the gate when you enter the parking lot. The Outfitter will take care of that for us.

Important information for paid events in which payment is managed through the AOC:

     - Payment must be received by the payment due date and prior to participation in the event.

     - Some paid events require a minimum number of registered participants. If that number is not met, the event will be canceled and refunds will be issued to those who have already paid.

     - Third-party vendors often require damage deposits. Each registrant agrees to be liable for and required to reimburse the Atlanta Outdoor Club for any withheld deposits due to the actions of or damages caused by that registrant.

     - No partial payments. All registrants must pay the posted Member Cost regardless of any agreement you may have with any party involved in the event.

     - Read the event description carefully for additional information, and contact the trip leader(s) with any questions.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost & Payment:
Member Cost:$48.00/Person
Cost Includes:

Sit on top kayak rental, paddle, PFD, Parking Fee and shuttle. It does NOT include tip. Please bring that in cash on the day of the event.

Payment Cut Off:Payment must be received by the AOC on Sat, Sep 24 2022.
Make a Payment:Click here for the details. PLEASE PAY AFTER YOU HAVE SIGNED UP BELOW.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.

If you cancel on or before September 14th, full payment is refundable less a $5 administrative fee. No refund beginning September 14th unless someone replaces you and pays in full, then you will receive a full refund less a $5 administrative fee. The Trip Leaders will make a reasonable effort to replace your spot after the 14th but can make no promises.

This event is rain or shine, unless there are thunderstorms in the area. If that is the case, everyone will receive a refund, minus the AOC administrative fees.

NOTE: it is possible that river levels may be too low by that time. The outfiter will be monitoring and if we cannot paddle this river, we will paddle the Chestatee instead.