Tallapoosa River

Land Area: 4,680 acres
River Length: 235 miles

Tallapoosa River

River Course

The Tallapoosa River originates in Paulding County, Georgia, 40 miles west of Atlanta, at an elevation of about 1,145 feet. It flows southwesterly 195 miles into Alabama and then takes a westward turn at Uphapee Creek. The Tallapoosa continues for 40 miles to join the Coosa River near Wetumpka.

From its source, the river falls at a rate of 12 feet per mile for the first 15 miles, then descends at 3.4 feet per mile. In the lower reach from Thurlow Dam to its mouth, the river falls at a rate of 1.6 feet per mile. (Corps) The river’s width varies from 250 feet to 700 feet and has banks 20 feet high along the flood plain. (GA DNR)

Channel Facts

The Upper Tallapoosa has one primary tributary, the Little Tallapoosa River, originating slightly to the south, in Carroll County, Georgia. The two merge into Lake Wedowee. (GA DNR) Other principal tributaries include Sougahatchee Creek, South Sandy Creek, Uphapee, and Hillabee Creeks in Alabama. (GA DNR)

Riverflows in the watershed measure approximately 2,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the upper reaches of the river near Heflin, Alabama. At about the middle of the basin flows average 22,000 cfs at Wadley, Alabama, and near the mouth, below Thurlow Dam, flows measure approximately 60,000 cfs at Tallassee. (GA DNR) Its total length of 235 miles drains a watershed area of 4,680 square miles, 3,960 of which lie in Alabama. (GA DNR)

Tallapoosa River Dam Statistics

Length of Dam (feet)1,8461,2602,000
Height of Dam (feet)6287168
Maximum Depth at Dam (feet)5446.5155
Power Installation (KW)58,00037,00055,200
Year Power On Line193019281926
Length of Lake (miles)37.931
Area of Lake (acres)5742,00041,150
Length of Shoreline (miles)640880