Grab some friends, a cooler full of beer, and a ton of sunscreen and spend the day floating down the river! Tubing the Chattahoochee River is a popular summer activity for Atlanta‘s locals and tourists alike, earning it’s own rhyming nickname: Shoot the Hooch. And there’s no better way to cool off than an ice cold dip in the Chattahoochee.
Know the Hooch
The name Chattahoochee comes from the Muskogean meaning marked or painted rocks. The name refers to the colorful granite outcroppings along the northeast-to-southwest segment of the river that runs through the Brevard fault zone. To Georgia locals, the river is known as the Hooch.
Hike the Hooch
My first experience with the Chattahoochee, however, wasn’t tubing it. We hiked the Hooch! The Chattahoochee has plenty of hiking trails along the riverbanks, through historic sites, and past waterfalls. We hiked the Cochran Shoals Trail, which has 4 miles of wide gravel trails great for running, walking, and biking. It’s a popular trail with nearly continuous views of the river. A boardwalk also departs from the trail into the marshes for a little change of scenery.
Shoot the Hooch
There are plenty of outfitters to choose from who will rent out tubes and bus you to the launch point all along the river. We went up to Duluth to $10 River Tubing where you can take a 2 hour, a 4 hour, or a 6 hour trip down the river. We opted for the 2 hour trip earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds. In fact, it may have been a little too early as we had to wait for a full bus load before heading out.
The Chattahoochee is very cold. When the water is released from the damn, it’s about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The rest of the day, the river is typically 65-68 degrees. The worst part is first stepping into the river, trying to get into deep enough water to float and trying to corral your fleet of tubes together. The best thing to do is to tie all your tubes together (but not with the life vests that you’re required to have handy) so your group doesn’t get separated. Once you’re all pulled together with your cooler floating between you and your butt has gone numb from the coldness of the water, you’re free to relax and drink and tan as you drift down the river.
At the end point, you’ll have to again corral your tube fleet to the side of the river and dip your feet back into the ice cold water to exit at the boat launch. There, our rental company had an open-toped convertible bus to take us back to our car and dry us off on the way.
What’s your typical summer activity? Let me know in the comments!