The Satilla is billed as Georgia's most scenic river. The Fellow Travelers leave that to individual tastes. It is a scenic river, with one section disgustingly littered. It is also a challenging stream. The Fellow Travelers have paddled it three times--twice at high levels and once at low level. At high water, the Satilla is difficult to canoe because of the many downed trees and the fast current make it a task stay out of the trees and keep the canoe upright. Low water means lifting loaded canoes over countless downed trees and forcing the canoes under others.
The river can be accessed at SR 4 in the Jamestown area north of Waycross. The eight miles to the US 84 bridge is a nice trip on a small winding river running through planted pines and by the country club. The bridge at US 84 is the more common put-in. This section sees a pretty river but appears to be a trash dump. Within a mile, serious obstructions appear. There are numerous pull-overs and float-unders. The river itself is pretty. The banks are high, and there are several nice sandbars. The next bridge is at SR 15-121 north of Hoboken, sixteen miles downstream.. The trash problem has subsided long before reaching this point, and the river continues to have nice banks and sandbars. At low water campsites are plentiful, but high water requires carrying the gear up high banks.
After reaching the SR 15-121 bridge, the obstructions continue until the confluence of the Alabaha a few miles downstream. The Alabaha enters from the left, and there is a possible campsite there. The river becomes wider and less obstructed, and the paddling is easy from that point. Sandbars continue to be plentiful.
Herring's Landing is a possible take-out. It is a nice and popular boat landing on the right about fourteen miles below the bridge. The Fellow Travelers opted to use this landing on the September, 2002, trip because it was still twelve miles to the US 301 bridge and making that destination in daylight was questionable. From Herring's Landing to US 301 is about twelve miles. The Little Satilla River enters from the left. The take-out area is a beautiful beach area, but the access road is in terrible repair.
The river from Atkinson to Burnt Fort is somewhat easier canoeing, and there are lots of campsties. Depending on which map you choose to believe, it is either 28 or 35 miles. It seems like at least 35 at low water. Deadfalls are not unseen, but they are rare. There are several river lakes on this section, and several boat landings. The best one is the 3R Fish Camp about six miles upstream from Burnt Fort. There are no facilities along this section, and although it can be done in three days, it might be more fun if given four.