Towaliga River

David Dugan, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Towaliga River is a 52.3mi long tributary river that feeds into the Ocmulgee River in Central Georgia. It rises near the town of Hampton in southern Henry County and flows southeast through Henry County, Spalding County, Butts County and Monroe County. In Monroe County, the river joins the west side of the Ocmulgee River near Juliette, GA. The Ocmulgee River merges with the Oconee River to form the Altamaha River and flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The upper areas of the Ocmulgee River, which includes the Towaliga River, have been impacted by pollutants from urbanization.

Where the name “Towaliga” comes from is quite contested. An earlier spelling of the name was Towelagee. Some suggest that it comes from the Creek words, “Tawa laigi”, meaning “Sumac Place”. Others believe it means “About Trees” or “An Old Place”. It also has been suggested to come from the Muskogean word, “Towlaggie”, meaning “Roasted Scalps” or the place that war was stopped in order to dry warrior’s scalps. There was also an early settlement which was seven miles west of Jackson, GA that was called Towaliga.

Along the river, there are multiple notable landmarks. Firstly, there are two reservoirs in Henry County that were created through damming the Towaliga River. Both are owned and operated by Henry County Water Authority. The first is Cole Reservoir (Upper Towaliga Reservoir) which is 1,100 acres and can hold 6.0 billion gallons of water. Exclusive recreational use rights are given to the gated community, Heron Bay, which lies east of the Reservoir. The second is Robert W. Strickland Reservoir (Lower Towaliga Reservoir) which is 121 acres and can hold 135 million gallons of water. Further down the river is High Falls Lake, High Falls State Park, and High Falls. The park is 1,050 acres and within the park, there are trails, campsites, yurts, and picnic areas. Before High Falls Lake, the river is more of an alluvial channel but after the lake, the river become a bedrock channel and wider.


High Falls State Park. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Krakow, K. K. (1994). Georgia place-names: Their history and origins. Winship Press.

Meyer, J.L., Loeffler, G. 2009. River Basins. Retrieved from

Reservoirs. (2021). Retrieved from

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