Kayak the Savannah River at Thurmond Dam and Lake

Rate this Adventure South Carolina Thurmond Dam Parking

Added by Matt Van Swol

Kayaking in the Savannah River allows for gorgeous views of nature, cold water for swimming, and great exercise. 

Starting at Thurmond Dam, drop your kayak in just below the dam and travel down the Savannah River. There are a couple places to you can choose to end your adventure:

The first, and closest, is Riverside Park. Around the 7 mile mark downstream, Riverside park is a right hand turn towards a boat ramp. From there you can easily take your kayak out of the water and explore the park.

If you choose to continue down the river, about three miles from Riverside park, you will hit Stevens Creek Dam. Simply pull your kayak out of the water, transport it to the other side and keep on paddling. About a mile and a half down stream, you will run into the Augusta Canal Headgates. From here you can switch into the Augusta Canal if you choose. WARNING!!! Continuing down the river require you to paddle all the way to the left of the Headgates and pull your kayak out of the water before continuing. IF YOU DO NOT you will fall off the extremely dangerous and fast paced rapids waterfall, so heed my advice and take your boat out of the water before you reach the headgates. There will be a small shore where you can put your boat back in the water and continue. If you are too tired, take out at the Augusta Boathouse not too far from the rapids. If you choose to continue, paddle another 11 miles until you reach the Savannah River Lock and Dam. There will be a boat ramp on your right before you reach the lock and dam. 

A couple things to note: 

1) there have been alligators spotted in the Savannah River from time to time along this trip, but its very rare. If you do encounter one, just leave it alone. 

2) If you are doing the full trip, I would recommend  parking a car at the Savannah River Lock and Dam before starting, or making sure you have a phone on you to call someone to pick you up. 

3) The whole 25 mile trip will take around 5-7 hours, depending upon on how hard you paddle, so make sure you start early enough so you have enough daylight to finish it.

Pack List

  • Lots of water
  • Snacks
  • Kayak/Paddle
  • Lifevest
  • Sunscreen
  • Chacos
  • A buddy (if you choose to go the full route)
  • GoPro
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Canoeing, Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle, Swimming

Skill Level:



Year Round


Easy Parking

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Added by Matt Van Swol

Matt Van Swol is a self-taught adventure photographer, writer, and an accomplished nuclear scientist for the US Department of Energy. After personally struggling with depression for many years, he is passionate about showing others the beauty of world around them.

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