The Toccoa River flows down from mountains near the town of Suches in North Georgia and continues through the Blue Ridge Mountains for about 60 miles to where it crosses the state line into Tennessee at McCaysville in Fannin County. Blue Ridge Lake is located approximately halfway between the Toccoa River’s origin and its exit point from Georgia. The section of the river above Blue Ridge Lake is known as the upper Toccoa and the remaining portion in Georgia is called the lower Toccoa. When the river crosses the state line into Tennessee, it is known as the Ocoee River.
The upper Toccoa is fed by many large streams including Coopers Creek, Rock Creek and Noontula Creek, and the system of waterways provides a productive haven for trout. During the summer, the upper Toccoa is a popular location for canoeing, kayaking and floating down the river on inflated inner tubes, otherwise known as tubing. Flowing through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in North Georgia, the Toccoa River reaches Blue Ridge Lake where boating and bass fishing are the most popular activities. The lower Toccoa is renowned for being the best tail water trout fishery in Georgia. Anglers can float the river and fish from shallow draft boats or wade because the water depth is shallow.
The Toccoa River is also known for whitewater rafting. Stretching from the Deep Hole Recreation Area to Sandy Bottoms in Georgia, a 13.5 mile long section of the river features class I-II difficulty according to American Whitewater. After the Toccoa River flows into Tennessee and becomes known as the Ocoee River, it cascades through dramatic elevation changes with waterfalls and is renowned for being of the best whitewater rafting locations in the southeastern United States.
Real estate in areas near the Toccoa River
Residential development on the Toccoa River is allowed where zoned for development by the cities and towns through which the river flows, and the majority of homes in North Georgia’s portion of the Toccoa River are in the City of Blue Ridge. In the areas where development has been allowed, property values are relatively high compared to areas that are not near the river. The cost of living index in Blue Ridge is approximately 90% of the national cost of living index and the average population density is comparatively low.
Homes with properties on the Toccoa River are available in Blue Ridge and some are also available in Suches, Mineral Bluff and Morganton from $250,000 to $500,000. Some less expensive cabins and cottages with river frontage can be found and these kinds of properties also feature mountain views and access to trout fishing streams. Undeveloped land lots that are already zoned for development are still available in some areas of the Toccoa River from $125,000 to $300,000.
Lodging is available at many private cabins and cottages along the Toccoa River. Some are rented by owner and others can be obtained through vacation rental agencies. Rentals of inner tubes, kayaks and canoes are available from marinas on the river and they are a great way to have fun and relax during the summer. Hotels and motels can be found in Blue Ridge, and public campgrounds are located at the Morganton Point Recreation Area and Deep Hole Campground.
Operated by the USDA Forestry Service, the Morganton Point Recreation Area overlooks Blue Ridge Lake and offers camping, picnicking, boating, swimming, fishing and hiking. Morganton Point Recreation Area has 37 campsites, a paved boat launch, picnic tables and a shelter. Deep Hole Campground has 8 campsites equipped with tent pads and picnic tables, a canoe launching point, and fishing areas that are stocked with smallmouth bass, rainbow trout and brown trout.
The 13.8 mile Toccoa River Canoe Trail is ideal for beginning paddlers who can traverse a few easy rapids and enjoy pastoral land containing thickets of laurel and rhododendron along the way. The Toccoa River Canoe Trail is also popular with float fishermen who seek coldwater mountain trout. The entrance to the Toccoa River Canoe Trail is located in the Blue Ridge Ranger District’s Deep Hole Recreation Area.
Horseback riding is also a popular sport in the areas around the Toccoa River. There are horseback riding and rental facilities with horse trails that wind for many miles along the banks of the river. Overnight guided excursions, moonlight horseback rides, catered dinner wagon parties, and riding classes are available for all ages, sizes and riding experience levels at the Toccoa River.
One of the most entertaining attractions in the Toccoa River area is the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway that travels along the Toccoa River between Blue Ridge and McCaysville. The train route for the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway encompasses a 26-mile, four hour round trip through historic Murphy Junction, and the train stops at the quaint sister towns of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee. McCaysville and Copperhill are really one town with two names because the town is split by the Georgia and Tennessee State Line. Passengers can debark and enjoy exploring this unique town, shopping in stores or sampling local delicacies from cafes and restaurants. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway was constructed over 100 years ago and it is the only mainline railroad excursion service based in Georgia.