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About the River

The Cartecay River is a 19 mile river that runs right through the heart Ellijay, Georgia.  Ellijay is the seat of Gilmer county, which is located high in the North Georgia Mountains.

The Cartecay and Ellijay rivers meet in Ellijay to form what is known as the Coosawattee River. Much like our music, the waters blend together form to something special, both to us and to the surrounding area.

The Cartecay and much of its watershed are located within the southeast corner of Gilmer County, in North Georgia. However, there are small sections of the watershed in Fannin, Pickens, and Dawson counties.

Much of the river runs east to west near the scenic Georgia State Route 52. The major tributaries are Clear Creek, Licklog Creek, Owltown Creek, Anderson Creek and Tickanetley Creek.

The land is mostly rural, but in the last several years it has exploded with development, and her banks have become inundated with homes. We like to remember it the way it was, and the way it should be. A strong, clean running river that brought water and beauty to our North Georgia mountains.

The headwaters of the Cartecay River begin in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Prior to the creation of Carter’s Lake, the combination of the Ellijay, Cartecay and Coosawattee offered whitewater enthusiasts one of the most thrilling rides in the southeastern US. These rapids, now forever buried beneath Carter’s Lake, nearly proved too dangerous for a novice canoeist named James Dickey, who was inspired by the incident to write the book (and later movie) Deliverance.

We hope you will enjoy our look back at how the Cartecay River, and our area used to be. Music is a semblance of history, and we try to keep a little piece of that for you to enjoy!


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