CONASAUGA RIVER SNORKELING: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AMAZING FUN

When you think about visiting the Cohutta Mountains, you may not think about donning a mask and snorkel…but you should!

Going on a Conasauga River snorkeling trip should be on your Georgia bucket list. The clear mountain waters found here are home to over 70 different species of fish, making it one of the most biodiverse river basins in the world! Can you believe that?! A small pool of water — smaller than the size of a football field — instantly becomes a living underwater classroom.

Home to native fish, turtles, tadpoles, and salamanders, heading out for a Conasauga River snorkeling trip is a must-do.

Ready to learn more? Pack your swim suit and wading shoes — here’s everything you need to know for your next Conasauga River snorkeling adventure.

CONASAUGA RIVER SNORKELING: HOW TO GET THERE

CONASAUGA RIVER SNORKELING: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AMAZING FUN

Okay, so to get to the Conasauga snorkel parking area can be a little tricky. Keep in mind that you’ll be driving down gravel and forest service roads through a national forest, so drive carefully (and slowly)!

  • Use your GPS to get to Cisco, Ga.  It’s here that my cell service stopped, so you’ll want to print out these directions and use the odometer.
  • Once in Cisco, turn right onto Old Hwy 2. If you are heading North on 411, you’ll see the turn almost immediately upon entering the small town. A gas station will be on your left (it has a red awning), and a stone church is on your right. The street immediately before the red church is Old Hwy 2.
  • Follow the road for 7.8 miles.  It will change from paved to gravel during this time.  During this 7.8 miles you will pass a church and a bridge. At the bridge over the river, you are about a half-mile from your next junction.
  • At 7.8 miles the forest service road splits. There is a sign directing you to four different landmarks. All the arrows point right. Nothing points straight ahead. Do not turn right; just keep going straight. I promise it’s correct. Just trust me.
  • Go .7 miles to a steel bridge where the road ends. Take a left. You’ll be driving through a camping area.
  • At .5 miles the parking area is down a slope to the left.

Park in the lot here. There are a few picnic tables if you want to enjoy lunch, but you can’t really see the river from here. To the left is a small muddy path that leads to the deep pool for snorkeling. It’s only about 1/10 of a mile walk.

CONASAUGA RIVER SNORKELING

CONASAUGA RIVER SNORKELING: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AMAZING FUN

For our Conasauga River snorkeling adventure, we brought swim suits, masks and snorkels, water shoes, towels, snacks, and drinks along with us. There is a port-o-potty onsite.

At the snorkel hole area, there is plenty of space to spread out. You’ll want to move slowly, as some of the fish in the Conasauga River can be timid. Others are no stranger to people, and may try to nibble your feet! It is so amazing to see the fish in their natural habitats. Some of the species here are found nowhere else on Earth!

There is a sign at the shore with photos of dozens of fish. It’s fun to try to identify the ones you see in the water.

A few hundred yards downstream there are rapids, and you may see people putting in their kayaks while you’re there. It’s far enough downstream to not be an issue, but just be aware.

CONASAUGA RIVER SNORKELING: WHEN SHOULD YOU VISIT?

CONASAUGA RIVER SNORKELING: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AMAZING FUN

When is a good time to visit the Conasauga River for snorkeling? We visited just after a hard rain spell, which I advise against. We still saw plenty of fish and had a great time, but the water was a little more hazy than normal. It was also rougher than normal, making it difficult to keep our balance out in the center of the stream. We strapped our oldest in a life vest even though we kept him close, and our youngest only went up to his knees.  

According to all accounts we have read, it isn’t normally like this, so plan your trip accordingly based on the ages of your kiddos.

Another note is the water temp. It can be dangerous to do this in spring, fall or winter. The water temps are just too cold. Opt for late July or August. If you have a wetsuit, it doesn’t hurt to bring it, although you don’t need one to enjoy Conasauga River snorkeling.

GEORGIA CONSERVANCY TRIPS

CONASAUGA RIVER SNORKELING: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AMAZING FUN

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Georgia Conservancy here. They offer directions, a video and other information on their site about Conasauga River snorkeling.

They also sometimes host snorkeling day trips here in the summer, which would be a great way to experience it with a group.

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