Deep South

/ routes / north america / Alabama + Georgia

route overview


7Mi / 11.26Km

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Contributed by
Trip Smith

Not one for suffering winter? Deep South Eufaula harbors a thinly veiled winter kayakpacking refuge for those of us not lucky enough to live in the warmer climes of Alabama and South Georgia. If the weather is not enough to tempt, then maybe an oak lined island of your own from which to string a hammock and a honey of a fishing hole will be.


Long, narrow and fingered like most man-made lake/reservoirs, Eufaula (officially Walter F. George Lake) covers a sprawling 46,000-acres that borders Georgia and Alabama by effectively damming up the Chattahoochee River (in and of itself a great paddle) on its southern end near Fort Gaines. There are a couple of options for your put in.

Prefer a Alabama start?  Your best option may be Thomas Mill Creek Boat Ramp off of Henry County 97.  From there its a 2 mile (3.2Km) paddle east and north around the point then a mile and a quarter (2Km) across the lake to your camp. You'll cross the Alabama/Georgia state line about a football fields length from shore as you start your run from the point.

Prefer not to set foot or paddle in Alabama?  then put in at the lake's southern most reaches near the George Lock and Dam at East Bank Public Use Area. and makes your way about 11 clicks (7 miles) north along willowed banks, bass fishing holes and cattail marshes to a camp at Gopher Island (31.7143, -85.10353). Despite its northern track you'll not be greatly effected by the current unless the George is in heavy production or the rains have been especially heavy.

Rabbit Island has about everything you would really love about a lake island hideaway.  Hanging a hammock?  Sturdy oaks and willows are abundant in the center and on the eastern shores.  Aardvarks and a resident gaggle of geese are likely pay a visit and bass fishing in the grass beds on the south side of Gopher was productive just off shore, even in the chilly waters of the Eufaula. 

weather and water notes

Even as the air temperatures hovered around 75 on this January escape the average water temperatures are in the mid 60's. Best to check the forecast and prepare as needed.  Generally we follow the 120 degree rule which says that if the combination of air and water are less than 120F (49C) then opt for a dry suit.

  • The beauty and clarity of the water in the pass and around the jetties
  • Paddling and snorkeling with dolphins
  • The bountiful waters where can easily catch fresh dinner
  • Mosquitoes won't bother you on the water and you'll be free from them if you take this trip in January. Come prepared if you plan this trip in the summer months. They will present less of a problem In the fall and winter.
  • Gopher Island is what you'd call 'primitive'. If you stay the night follow follow LeaveNoTrace procedures so it remains open for all.
  • Alternate State Camping Sites are available throughout the Eufaula region and its 640 miles of shoreline so there is opportunity here to have an extended adventure.
  • Markets – There are not much in the way of full on markets near the southern end of the lake so you'd be better off loading up before you head out.
  • Would not advise filtration. If your thoughts are to filter your own water from the lake be advised that it is fairly heavily trafficked in the warmer months. Pack in your own if possible.
  • Alligators – Yup. You read that right. There are alligators, but I wouldn't worry about them much around the island. If you get into the grassy sloughs you should watch out though.
trip smith

TRIP SMITH hails from South Alabama and adventures all over the Southeast United States. He enjoys everything that has to do with outdoors. When he's not on or planning an adventure he is a full-time fireman, husband and father.

He is the host of Out There, a popular outdoor channel on Youtube.


Terms of Use: All water sports are inherently risky.  Always wear a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) while in a water craft of any kind. Kayakpacking should be considered dangerous and participating in this or any water sport can cause serious injury or death. As with each kayakpacking route guide published on, should you choose to paddle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check on this or any adventure consult current local weather, water conditions, local laws and restrictions. While paddling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety, personal floatation, and navigational equipment. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated maps and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author/contributor is not guaranteed. LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, loss of life or any other such situation that might happen to individual paddlers kayaking or following this route.