Five Southeast Rafting Classics

Ocoee River
By Tom Ress

Forty-five minutes northeast of Chattanooga and just east of Cleveland, Tennessee, near Interstate 75, sits the opening act. The Ocoee is a dam-controlled river, runnable Thursday through Monday in the summers and on weekends during the spring and fall, and the first two weeks of October. Site of the 1996 Olympic whitewater venue, the Ocoee is a good warm-up river for your week of whitewater.

This is a short run—only five miles—but the drops come quickly with little time to recover in between, so be ready for almost continuous whitewater beginning with Put In rapid, just below the low dam at the launch point. This is a long Class III rapid, a good initial baptism for your week of whitewater fun. Next comes Flipper requiring some quick maneuvering: listen to your guide for directions. The best is yet to come: Table Saw and Diamond Splitter are both Class III to IV drops separated by less than a half mile of churning water.

The Ocoee initiation takes less than half a day. Next, head your car east on Highway 64 to Bryson City, North Carolina and take a look at the se_riversNantahala River, a canoeing and kayaking hot spot for southeastern kayakers and canoeists. Check in at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), perched between Highway 19 and the Nantahala River, and grab a room and a hot meal at the Nantahala Village, part of the NOC complex.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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