The RiverWalk

The Chattahoochee RiverWalk is a charming and timeless promenade along the banks of the Chattahoochee River.

Starting in Columbus, Georgia, this experience actually begins at Lake Oliver with a formal red-brick path that morphs into a more natural setting as it approaches Fort Benning 22 miles to the south.

The entire journey can be broken out into three areas:

  • – The 1st runs from the Lake Oliver Dam to the North Highlands Dam.
  • – The 2nd begins just south of the Dam and ends at the 14th St. Pedestrian Bridge.
  • – The 3rd runs from the Eagle & Phenix Dam to Fort Benning.

The Chattahoochee River runs through Columbus and forms the southern half of the Alabama and Georgia border, as well as a portion of the Florida border.

For centuries, this fickle waterway has flowed from the mountains of North Georgia to the oyster beds of the Florida Panhandle. Sometimes a trickle. Sometimes angrily slapping against the rocks, but always telling the rich stories of Georgia; particularly Columbus. Steamboats unloaded cotton and other products at her busy Columbus pier. Romantic ballads were written by passengers who sailed from Columbus on her lazy paddle-wheelers.

More recently though, the Chattahoochee has become a mecca for recreation. Lakes created from its lineup of dams attract anglers who road trip for great fishing in Columbus Georgia. On weekends the waterway is filled with recreational boaters and water skiers.

So, it was a no-brainer for Columbus to build The Chattahoochee RiverWalk in 1992. Just four years later, that first stretch of riverfront trail was extended to Fort Benning; giving those who travel on two feet or two wheels an intoxicating blend of cityscapes and untouched wildlife.

Peter Bowden is President of the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau; he told FunRoads that because Columbus is centrally located, just a half hour from the I 85 along US-280 E and less than two hours from the I75 via Georgia 96, it’s a natural gathering point with a twist.

“We’re an adventure destination, adjacent to an urban core. In the part of the city we call Uptown, the Chattahoochee River actually forms the western border of the city, separating Columbus and Phenix City, Alabama,” says Bowden.

This part of the river is home to Whitewater River Park…. the longest urban whitewater course in the world. Depending on the river flow, rapids can quickly turn into class IV or V, particularly if your river guide takes you to the Alabama side of the course, where the water boils over to form the infamous Cut Bait Rapid.

Just a few hundred yards from the rapids is a zip line that goes over The Chattahoochee River and connects Georgia and Alabama. The zip line ride takes you from Columbus over the river to an aerial treetop canopy in Phenix City before the return zip to the Columbus riverbank.

So, where’s the urban connection? Bowden says its just a couple blocks from the river. “Columbus’s entertainment district is teaming with local restaurants, live music venues, nightlife, craft beer, and microbreweries. There’s also seven stages where Broadway-type shows take place throughout the season.”

You can continue your exploration of the Chattahoochee River along the Chattahoochee Valley Railroad Trail, just over the border in Alabama. A connection to the Columbus Fall Line Trace also offers the opportunity to travel 11 miles through Columbus with access to many of the city’s amenities.

Because Columbus is a planned city, there’s plenty of Chattahoochee RiverWalk access points and parking available in numerous places throughout the trail.

There’s also many hotels near The Riverwalk in Columbus, GA that’ll fit your style and budget along with lots of campgrounds near Columbus Georgia as well.

Columbus to Atlanta is an easy 1 hour and 40-minute drive on I-185 N and I-95N while Montgomery, Alabama to Columbus, GA is an hour and a half drive along US-80 and I-85S.

Visit Columbus
900 Front Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

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