The Lower Oconee River Water Trail begins at the base of Sinclair Dam. With public access at the dam, boaters can enjoy a 4-mile stretch of scenic flat water between the put-in, just south of the dam, and the public access ramp at the Oconee River Greenway, adjacent to downtown Milledgeville.
At lower water levels this section becomes rocky, with exposed shoals and may require some maneuvering. Shoes are always recommended for walking in the river and/or portaging. At higher water levels, remnants of two old diversion dams create Class II-III rapids which should only be attempted by experienced paddlers with appropriate boats. A safer alternative route exists and is often the best option for all boaters.
The water trail continues past the Greenway for another 5 miles of gently meandering flat water until it reaches a third public access ramp south of the city limits.
Ongoing work will help to extend the Lower Oconee River Water Trail through approximately 143 miles downstream to its confluence with the Ocmulgee River.
On the Lower Oconee River Water Trail, you'll paddle near the sites of revolution-era forts, through antebellum shipping routes, and through a diverse and rich mix of terrestrial and aquatic habitats including those of the blossoming Cherokee Rose, bald eagles, osprey, kingfishers, river otters, alligator gar, as well the threatened Altamaha Shiner, Altamaha Arcmussel, Oconee Burrowing Crayfish and endangered Robust Redhorse.
Georgia River Network has been assisting communities throughout the state in the development of water trails (similar to a hiking trail but on a waterway with access points and information kiosks and signage along the route) as a way to boost economic development, bring in tourism, and increase recreational opportunities. The Lower Oconee Water Trail is one of such trails currently under development in Baldwin county with goals of continued development into Wilkinson, Laurens, Washington, Johnson, Wheeler, Treutlen and Montgomery counties. Georgia River Network Community
Your local library probably has a copy of
Canoeing & Kayaking Georgia by Suzanne Welander and Bob Sehlinger
also available from Powells Books
|Sinclair Dam||Oconee Greenway||4 miles||2-3 hours|
|Oconee Greenway||DNR boat ramp||4.5 miles||2-4 hours|
|DNR boat ramp||Balls Ferry||38 miles||weekend trip|
|Balls Ferry||Beaverdam Swamp||7 miles||4-6 hours|
|Beaverdam Swamp||JC Landing||2 miles||1 hour|
|JC Landing||Blackshear Ferry||8.5 miles||5-7 hours|
|Blackshear Ferry||East Dublin Boat Ramp||5 miles||2-6 hours|
Contiguous segments can be combined for longer trips. Consult your local outfitter for current river knowledge.