The complete guide to the Chattahoochee River
Get to know Atlanta’s recreational paradise
Illustration by Anderson Design Group
The Chattahoochee has always provided. Native Americans hauled hundreds of river rocks to build dams in its waters to capture trout. Antebellum businessmen harnessed its tributaries’ flows for mills to process textiles and grist. Georgia Power dammed its waters to power the city’s streetcar system in the 1900s and, in 1956, the federal government did the same to form Lake Lanier, which quenches the region’s endless thirst. But the river has also been a dumping ground. Roughly 50 years ago, a small crew of Atlantans began rescuing the Chattahoochee, a workhorse nearly whipped to ruin. By stopping bulldozers and filing lawsuits, nature lovers helped create a 10,000-acre wonderland of hiking, fishing, and paddling on par with great national parks—running through the heart of metro Atlanta. Today nearly 3 million people come to the ‘Hooch every year to use it the right way. Here’s how you can as well.