Chauga River

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Chauga River
Chauga Creek
CountryUnited States
StateSouth Carolina
RegionOconee County
Physical characteristics
SourceSumter National Forest
 ⁃ coordinates34°50′54″N 83°9′17″W / 34.84833°N 83.15472°W / 34.84833; -83.15472
 ⁃ coordinates
34°36′30″N 83°9′55″W / 34.60833°N 83.16528°W / 34.60833; -83.16528Coordinates: 34°36′30″N 83°9′55″W / 34.60833°N 83.16528°W / 34.60833; -83.16528
Basin size28.6 km2 (11.0 sq mi)

The Chauga River is a 31.3-mile-long (50.4 km)[1] tributary of the Tugaloo River in Oconee County, South Carolina.[2]


The Chauga River's source is the confluence of Village Creek and East Village Creek about 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Mountain Rest, South Carolina, in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of the Sumter National Forest. A little over 1 mile (1.6 km) downstream, it is joined by Jerry Creek, which flows from Lake Becky and the Oconee State Park. Then it crosses Cassidy Bridge at the Cassidy Bridge Primitive Camp. Then it is joined by Cedar Creek and Rocky Fork Creek. After it crosses US Highway 76, it is joined by Ramsey Creek at Chau Ram County Park which was founded by owner and proprietor Michael Shead. There it goes over a waterfall at the park and is crossed by a pedestrian suspension bridge. Then it flows south to Lake Hartwell that was formed by damming the Tugaloo River and the Seneca River.


The 11-digit hydrologic unit code for the water shed is 03060102-120. The watershed covers 70,768 acres (28,639 ha). The average terrain slope is 22.3%. About 93% of the watershed is forested and 5% is agricultural land.[3] A map of the watershed is available.[4]

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control considers that, except for Jerry Creek, the Chauga River watershed upstream of about 1 mile (1.6 km) above US Highway 76 to be an "Outstanding Water Resource (ORW)." The lower part of the river is classified as "freshwaters suitable for primary and secondary contact recreation and as a source for drinking water supply after conventional treatment (FW)."

There is one small permitted wastewater discharge at the Oconee State Park on Jerry Creek. The city of Westminster has a water supply intake on the Chauga River and another one on Ramsey Creek.[3]


The Chauga River is a popular fishing area for rainbow trout, brown trout, chubs, and redeye bass. The Cassidy Bridge area offers parking and access. The warmer reaches of the river have largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish.[5]

Sections of the Chauga River are popular for whitewater kayaking. The most adventurous section starts at Cassidy Bridge which is a 9.8-mile (15.8 km) section that is rated up to Class IV at high water.[6]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed April 26, 2011
  2. ^ "Chauga River". Geographic Names Information Service. U.S. Geological Survey. 13 July 1980. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  3. ^ a b "03060102-120 (Chauga River)" (PDF). Watersheds and TMDLS. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Chauga River Watershed" (pdf). Watersheds and TMDLS. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Gateways". Jocassee Gorges. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  6. ^ "Chauga - 3: Route 290 /Cassidy Bridge Rd. to Cobbs Bridge Rd". National Whitewater Inventory. American Whitewater. Retrieved 20 December 2009.