A Visit to the Augusta Canal Headgates and Savannah Rapids Park; 17 November 2019

Augusta, GA – After a rainout on Saturday, I visited the Augusta Canal Headgates this past Sunday morning. After the cold rain of Saturday, Sunday was a beautiful Autumn morning and a great day for visiting the Headgates and walking part of the Augusta Canal Trail system. The Headgates and part of the trail are in Martinez, GA at the Savannah Rapids Park, a 33-acre park along the Savannah River that features the Savannah River, falls on Reed Creek, trails, historic structures, and a multipurpose pavilion/conference center. It’s a great place to see some History and nature and get some exercise on the trails.

The park is situated where the Augusta Canal branches off of the Savannah River at some rapids. The view on this Autumn morning was spectacular. It’s definitely not something you see on the Savannah River in the Savannah area.

The Headgates of the Augusta Canal are on the Savannah River alongside the rapids. Next to the Headgates is a lock for canal boats. The Headgates and lock were built in 1875 when the canal was enlarged. Just down from the Headgates and lock are a group of historic structures that date from the 1880s after the canal was enlarged: a dance pavilion, dining hall, and BBQ pit. Just down from those is the Lock Keeper’s Cottage, which is now used as the park’s Visitor’s Center.

Just down the canal from the Lock Keeper’s Cottage are the falls on Reed Creek, which empties out into the canal. The Savannah Rapids Trail runs right along the falls and provides a terrific outlook for photos. It’s quite a sight and once again, not something one sees near the Savannah River here in Savannah.

The trails along the Augusta Canal around the Headgates and Savannah Rapids park provide an excellent spot for nature and wildlife photography. The Savannah Rapids Trail goes around the Savannah Rapids Park and the Augusta Canal trail system runs along the canal’s towpath and other parts of the canal, providing miles of trail for walking, running, and bicycling. Along the Augusta Canal Trail, I saw a number of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons along the canal and the river and a huge group of Cormorants on the river (I didn’t expect to see them in that large a number or that far up the Savannah River).

The Savannah Rapids Park and the trail system is a wonderful asset to the Augusta area. It’s a terrific place for sightseeing or for getting some exercise. If you go to Augusta to visit the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, it’s definitely worth your time to go a bit farther upriver from Augusta and visit the Headgates and Savannah Rapids Park.

Categories: Augusta, Augusta Canal, History, Nature, Photos, Wildlife

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