How Deep Is the South’s Iconic Chattahoochee River?

Written by Kaylee Keech
Published: November 29, 2023
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Have you ever wondered, “How deep is the Chattahoochee River?” Unfortunately, if you have, you still won’t get your answer. There doesn’t seem to be any information on the deepest parts of the river.

Instead, the government measures how fast the water flows. These measurements help them know how much water is in the river. They use the measurement of cubic feet per second (cfs).

For example, the average water flow of the Chattahoochee River in November was 24,407 cfs. But, as of November 27, 2023, the water flow was at 10,747 cfs, showing that the river is likely going through a drought.

Despite the lack of information on the river’s depth, there is much interesting information about the Chattahoochee River. Its name comes from a Native American language and means “painted rock.”

The Size of the Chattahoochee River

a gorgeous summer landscape along the Chattahoochee river with flowing water surrounded by lush green trees, grass and plants with powerful clouds at sunset in Atlanta Georgia USA

The Chattahoochee River is 434 miles long.

©Marcus E Jones/

The Chattahoochee River flows for a total of about 434 miles. It begins in the southern part of the Appalachian Mountains in Union County, GA. It flows southwest until it ends at Lake Seminole, creating a border between Florida and Georgia.

At the states’ borders, the Chattahoochee River joins the Flint River. Together, they become the Apalachicola River. It flows through the Florida-Georgia border and continues to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Importance of the Chattahoochee River

The Chattahoochee River’s surface water is one of the most used resources in Georgia.

There are 13 dams built along the length of the Chattahoochee River. These dams control the rate and amount of water flow. The dams are responsible for creating electricity and hydropower for the surrounding areas.

The Chattahoochee River is essential to life in Georgia. 70% of Atlanta gets its drinking water from the river. It also supplies water to the state’s farmers, who primarily grow timber, peanuts, soybeans, corn, and cotton.

The most important use of the Chattahoochee River’s water is energy creation—twenty-two power-generating plants along the Chattahoochee River supply power to the surrounding regions.

The History of the Chattahoochee River

Chattahoochee river at the Jones bridge park in Georgia with some geese in the middle and a few people fishing in the background near the rusted exempt railroad bridge on a sunny day in springtime

The Chattahoochee River is the perfect spot for settlements and industry.

©Sandra Burm/

The Chattahoochee River was vital for travel and trade among the Native Americans. Historians know of at least 16 settlements along the Chattahoochee River from 800 to 1600 AD.

The river was also an essential route for explorers traveling from the Gulf of Mexico to the inner portions of the United States.

The Fall Line

In geography, the “fall line” marks a spot where elevated land meets a coastal plain. When a river crosses a fall line, it creates waterfalls or rapids.

The fall line of the Chattahoochee River is significant to its history. It marks where the river stops flowing from the mountains and begins racing to the sea.

After reaching the fall line, the Chattahoochee River fell over 300 feet and flowed more than 38 miles to the sea. As the river flowed, it created shoals and waterfalls. This rapidly flowing water offered the perfect setting for industry. 

Throughout history, people set up factories and textile mills along the river past the point of the fall line. The roughness of the waters after the fall line proved helpful for these industries.

Wildlife and Plants in the Chattahoochee River

American Alligator along Myakka River in Myakka River State Park in Sarasota Florida USA

American alligators live in the Chattahoochee River, so be careful when entering the waters.

©Jim Schwabel/

The Chattahoochee River is home to much wildlife, big and small. It is also the site of nine native threatened and endangered plants. 

The largest and most dangerous inhabitant of the river is the American alligator.

The river has over 20 species of freshwater turtles. There are over 30 species of sirens and salamanders. It also contains about 30 kinds of toads and frogs and is one of the top spots for trout.

Things to Do on the Chattahoochee River

There are 16 parks along the river’s length for visitors to enjoy. Some of the most popular activities in and around the river include the following:

  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing

Those who wish to learn about the nature and wildlife of the Chattahoochee River can visit the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Check out the Elachee Nature Science Center or the Lanier Museum of Natural History.

Comparison of Georgia Rivers

Rivers in GeorgiaLength
Chattahoochee 434 miles 
Altamaha137 miles
Coosa 280 miles 
Flint349 miles 
Ochlockonee206 miles 
Oconee220 miles 
Ocmulgee255 miles 
Ogeechee290 miles 
Satilla235 miles 
Savannah301 miles 
St. Mary’s 126 miles 
Suwannee246 miles 
Tallapoosa 265 miles
Tennessee652 miles 

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

I am a content writer who focuses on pets, wildlife, sustainability, and the environment. I specialize in blogs and love showing my readers how fascinating everything can be! I graduated from Millersville University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Concentration in Marine Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Science Writing. I volunteered at Raven Ridge Wildlife Center for five years, where I helped care for injured and orphaned Pennsylvania wildlife. I love all animals, wild and domestic. I've had all kinds of pets, including dogs, cats, birds, fish, a lizard, a snake, and a guinea pig. I may be curled up with a good book or my crochet when I'm not writing. I also enjoy exploring new places, especially by hiking or kayaking.

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