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DO IT: Hiking - First Level Water Trail

First Level Water Trail -

Paddle some or all 7 miles of the canal’s first level, beginning at the headgates at Savannah Rapids Park on the canal’s gentle current, with some swifter areas near mill intakes and other man-made structures. The final take-out is downtown at Old Turning Basin/13th Street.

Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).


NO swimming, tubing, or gasoline-boats of any kind are allowed. Be aware that canal banks can be steep and slippery and that the current is deceptively violent and can increase suddenly when dams are released upstream.

Be alert and aware of tour boats, especially at the Lake Olmstead bulkhead access point. Always listen for warning horn and yield.

Steer clear of mill intakes as they create strong current.

Do not use the second and third level sections of the canal. They are hazardous to boaters with unpredictable water flow, man-made obstructions and the dangers of possible debris. Canoe and kayak rentals as well as escorted kayak tours are available through several vendors. Visit the August Canal website for a list.

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