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Outdoor recreation par excellence, the Ocmulgee River is one of Georgia’s best-kept secrets. The Ocmulgee is a beautiful, winding river that is the perfect place for a day trip or a weekend of camping, especially in parts of the south river watershed.
Why you should go
Our favorite places
Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon
Located in Macon on the Ocmulgee River, the Ocmulgee National Monument is one of Georgia’s most popular tourist attractions. Featuring Native American mound structures from hundreds of years ago, as well as hiking trails and walking tours, the Ocmulgee National Monument is a must see location for anyone planning a trip on this stretch of the river.
Click here to read more about Ocmulgee National Monument.
Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area, near Warner Robbins
The Ocmulgee River flows through the heart of Oaky Woods, one of the most important areas of protected habitat in all of Georgia. Paddlers, hunters and hikers can all enjoy this incredible resource that is home to an astonishing number of species. One of the best resources to learn about Oaky Woods is the website www.saveoakywoods.com.
Learn more about the incredible species and habitat found in Oaky Woods:
Mile Branch Park in Hawkinsville
A 25-acre waterfront park located just south of Hawkinsville, Mile Branch Park features a number of hiking trails, camping facilities and a boat ramp on the Ocmulgee River. Mile Branch is home to an annual campout and paddle trip hosted by Rivers Alive, the Georgia Canoeing Association, the Georgia Conservancy, Hawkinsville Better Hometown and other local civic groups.
Towns Bluff Park in Hazlehurst
Wow. What a special place Towns Bluff Park is. Towns Bluff has to be one of the best riverfront parks in Georgia. The park is located on the Jeff Davis County side of the Highway 135 Uvalda Bridge that crosses the Altamaha River near Hazlehurst. The park features two boat ramps, hiking trails, free primitive camping, a gated RV and tent camping site, a brand new shower house, a state-of-the-art conference center, a small museum and gift shop that sells fishing equipment and snacks. They have an incredibly friendly staff that will work hard to meet all of your camping, paddling or RVing needs! (Yes, they are located on the Altamaha - but they provide a great staging ground for a trip on the lower Ocmulgee).
Scott Taylor with Three Rivers Outdoors is your man for all canoeing and shuttling needs in the “Three Rivers” area of the Ocmulgee, Altamaha and Oconee Rivers. The best way to reach Scott is via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (912) 245-0192.
Click here to visit the Towns Bluff Park website.
Things to know
The Ocmulgee Blueway Partnership
The Ocmulgee Blueway Partnership is a group of private citizens, non-profits and government entities working together to provide better information resources to allow for the creation of a “river trial” that will establish better access through the Ocmulgee River. They are helping to build boat ramps and campgrounds and to create maps for boaters. They rock!
Remember, before the Appalachian Trail was created, hiking from Georgia to Maine would have been considered outlandish – even though hiking was popular and a majority of those trails existed. The Appalachian Trail Club helped to create the culture of hiking that makes the AT so special. We feel that the Ocmulgee Blueway Partnership is on the cusp of doing something similar with the Ocmulgee and Altamaha rivers.
Click here for the Ocmulgee River Blueway Guide
Click here for a Macon Tribune article about the Ocmulgee Blueway Partnership.
Rules for camping on the riverAccording to the standard interpretation of the river laws, the land on the river below the high water mark in considered public property, and by rights, you can camp there. This means that the sandy beaches along the river are up for grabs.
Three Rivers Outdoors: http://www.explorethreerivers.com/
River maps from Paddle Georgia
This is a great resource for planning single day or overnight trips on the Oconee, Broad, Savannah, Coosawattee, Oostanaula, Flint, Ocmulgee, Etowah and Chattahoochee rivers.
Great paddling trip tips (from our friends at the Georgia River Network)
The South River watershed is located in the Upper Ocmulgee River Basin. It is comprised of 155,239 acres and includes portions of DeKalb, Fulton, Rockdale, Clayton, and Henry counties.
The current trend in the South River corridor is the development of single-family housing. In 1997, 37 permits for subdivision development created 1,920 lots, a 79% increase in this activity from the previous years.
Water from Jackson Lake flows into the Ocmulgee River, helping to form the Altamaha River, and reaches the Atlantic Ocean between Darien and Brunswick.
There are approximately 13 facilities, including industries and municipalities, authorized to discharge wastewater into the Ocmulgee River Basin pursuant to NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Permits.
Health of the River
These impaired waters include roughly 415 miles of rivers and streams in the Ocmulgee River Basin. Additionally, the following lakes/reservoirs are included on the 303(d) list as not fully supporting designated uses:
- Big Haynes Reservoir (Black Shoals Lake) - 650 acres - drinking water
- High Falls Lake - 699 acres - recreation
- Lake Jackson – 4,752 acres - recreation
- Little Ocmulgee State Park Lake – 224 acres – fishing