White Water Rafting Georgia

Class IV Olympic Whitewater Rafting Course near Georgia

The Ocoee River is located in Polk County Tennessee just north of Atlanta and the Georgia State line. Get off that couch and into a raft for outstanding Ocoee river rafting action.The river is entirely in only one county because the river’s name changes as it enters Tennessee from Georgia and it merges with and becomes the Hiwassee river while still in Polk County Tennessee. Upstream from the Gerogia Tennessee state line the river is called the Toccoa River. The Toccoa/Ocoee river begins its journey deep in the Chattahoochee National Forest with headwaters near Suches Georgia. Numerous small trout streams flow together to form the Upper Toccoa; including Coopers Creek, Rock Creek and Noontula creek. The creeks and river flow uninterrupted until it reaches the back waters of Lake Blue Ridge in Fannin County near Blue Ridge Georgia. The Dam which forms Blue Ridge lake is about 15 miles south of the Tennessee state line and is one of four dams and power generating facilities located on the Toccoa Ocoee river.Just below Dam number three starts the Ocoee River Rafting ten-mile section of the Ocoee River.

Why is it called White Water Rafting?

White water rafting received its name because the raft is the inflatable boat that you ride to paddle through the rough waters and rapids. ‘White’ water comes because the frothing rapids of a guzzling river make the water appear white.

What are the different classes of white water rafting?

LEVEL 1 – CLASS I RAPIDS

Moving water with small waves that tug at the boat – it’s a relaxing way to spend the day. Each of our trips have some stretches of calm class I water, creating a pleasant break between rapids.

LEVEL 2 – CLASS II RAPIDS

Easy rapids, waves up to three feet tall that are readily seen, and wide channels that can be discovered without scouting. Some maneuvering is required during this little rock and roll.

LEVEL 3 – CLASS III RAPIDS

Waves up to four feet and narrow passages that send the boat shimmying and water gushing over it’s sides. Plenty of excitement.

LEVEL 4 – CLASS IV RAPIDS

Long, difficult rapids, narrow passages, turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering and sends hearts racing.

LEVEL 5 – CLASS V RAPIDS

All of the above and then some – large, complex, gushing rapids, twisting, and spinning to deliver the consummate adrenaline rush.

LEVEL 6 – CLASS VI RAPIDS

The extreme “un-runnable” rivers or waterfalls. Only the most expert should attempt this – usually seen in extreme kayak videos, etc. Outfitter raft trips don’t go here – there’s too much other water to enjoy without risking it all!

Ocoee River and Ocoee Adventure Center serve up continuous class III and IV white water rafting experience.

Ocoee River Rafting

Ocoee River Rafting

Georgia Rafting Lover – What to wear when you come white water rafting?

For the summer shorts or a bathing suit or swim trunks and a T-shirt are best. Shoes that will stay on your feet are required, which can be river sandals, old tennis shoes, or nylon topped water shoes. No Flip Flops or other shoes that won’t stay on your feet for rafting the Ocoee River!

For the cooler weather we recommend synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene or nylon or synthetic fleece. We have some “spray gear” to keep off the splash and if it is really cold we have wet suits at the outpost –all free to our guest.

Comparison of the Upper and Middle Ocoee river sections

Both the Upper and Middle Ocoee sections are roughly five miles long and take a similar amount of time to raft (about 2 hours each). Each section has numerous class three and class four rapids. Both are fun and exhilarating and you can’t miss selecting either section. The Upper Ocoee goes back in a remote canyon well away from the highway. The first mile and a half of the Upper Ocoee starts relatively easier with mostly class two rapids and a few class three. There are a couple of nice spots to get the raft into a small hydraulic and surf the wave while staying in one spot. After that you start getting closer to the section where the Olympics were held and the rapids start to really pick up. Once you are in the Olympic Course area there are numerous back to back rapids some of which are the largest anywhere on the Ocoee River—Upper or Middle. After you leave the Olympic sections there are a couple more large class four rapids and then the last mile slows back down until you reach the lunch spot between the Upper and Middle Ocoee.

Middle Ocoee River rafting

The Middle Ocoee is the “traditional” Ocoee and has more rapids the Upper has though none quite as large as the biggest ones on the Upper section. As opposed to starting off gentler like the Upper, the Middle has a major class four rapid immediately after you put your raft in the river. The class three and four rapids come one right after the other with only one good sized break about half way down the Middle section. The Middle is one of the most continuous stretches of whitewater anywhere and you are constantly getting splashed …pure excitement!

The Full ocoee river rafting trip
The great thing about the Full River trip is that you don’t miss a thing plus you get a nice break for a delicious river side lunch. The entire trip takes around six hours for this trip and out on the water/lunch for about four and a half hours. The lunch stop takes about 45-minute break which makes for a more relaxing trip.

Rapids of White Water Rafting on the Ocoee River near Georgia

Middle Ocoee River Rafting

The start of the Middle Ocoee is spectacular! The water from the lake falls over the top of the 30-foot dam that is Ocoee Dam number 2 making for a giant river wide waterfall. There is a wide walkway on the right side of the Dam which you carry your raft down to put on the river at the base of the dam. The Middle starts right off with a bang! Grumpy’s rapid is only 100 yards downstream from the put in and it is a major class four rapid. It is formed by a ledge that is almost river wide with a narrow slot to shoot your raft through for a clean run. Below Grumpy’s is several hundred yards of continuous rapids ending in large eddy on river right call “Staging Eddy”. Your trip collects here before continuing downstream. Leaving Staging Eddy the next rapid up is called Gonzo Shoals rapid. The river widens out here and there are shallow ledges that are a bit tricky to run and not get the raft stuck. After Gonzo we head for one of the Middle Ocoee’s most difficult rapids, Broken Nose. Not to hard to figure out how this one got its name. The river channels along the right river bank and falls over a series of three drops in succession. The water is “pushy” and requires precise control to prevent bouncing off the river right bank and into any one of the three drops. After Broken Nose you move to the left side of the river for some fun playful class two rapids with nice waves that lead into a rapid called Second Helping. Second Helping is a good sized ledge shallow on the right and middle but with a good drip on river left. It is followed in quick succession by another good wave drop and fun play place. Downstream from Second Helping the river splits into two channels and the right channel is a lot more fun. The right channel contains the rapid Moonshoot and is a fun place for some good spin moves with the raft. Smaller fun rapids continue for a couple of hundred yards before you come to probably the single largest drop on the Ocoee; Double Suck rapid. It is named for two large holes at the bottom which are powerful. If you fall in one of these, hope you swim trunks are cinched up tight. The river continues with some nice waves and rocks to avoid for the next half mile through a section called Hell’s Half Mile because a long swim through here would not be fun. Leaving Hell’s half mile, the river narrows down and channels into a series of large standing waves in the rapid called Double Trouble. On Commercial trips the professional photographers stage here because they can get some good shots of the rafts being tossed about. Next up is Left Right Left rapid which is pretty easy, you start on the left then move right and you guessed it …move back right again. Continuing on down are two rapids, Flipper and Hollywood with nice places to play and surf the raft and show off your moves. At Hollywood you are approximately half way down the Middle Ocoee.

The second half of the Middle begins with the longest “flat stretch” of the Ocoee with moving water but no rapids. This is called The Doldrums and is a great place to hop out of the raft for a cool swim in the river. After the Doldrums the river contains some smaller shallow rapids where the objective is primarily not getting the raft stuck but watch out because there is one somewhat hidden ledge in this stretch called Surprise. We can’t tell you about that one because it’s a ….surprise! Down around the bend however is one of the largest rapids on the entire river, Tablesaw. Tablesaw is a hundred yards of large waves holes and splash with a boulder at the bottom on the right which must be avoided. Closely following is another big Drop called Diamond Splitter. This rapid has a really large rock in the center which sends the water left and right around it. The right channel is pretty smooth, but the left channel has a large hole called Witches Hole. A large eddy on river left allows you to surf Witches hole from below. After Diamond Splitter the river slows down a little although there are some fun rapids that have two names depending on your preference or how long you have been around the river. Slingshot is also called Accelerator where the river really speeds up and is a great place for spin moves in a raft. The second rapid is called both Cats Pajamas and Juicer depending on how long you have been around. For some reason it an easy place to end up out of the raft and in the water. After Cats, the river gets eerily quiet for a hundred yards. Downstream you see the Ocoee number two powerhouse and a bridge across the river and a horizon line but not the rest of the river. As you get close you can see a long sloping big wave rapid with a whole lot of white at the bottom. You have arrived at Hell Hole and it is a boat stopping and if you are not careful boat flipping obstacle. Enter with power and the correct boat angle and you will have a great ride. Hell Hole is followed by the last rapid on the Middle Ocoee, Power House rapid, just stay right through a nice couple of waves and then float down to the Middle take out.

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Directions from Atlanta to Copperhill and the Ocoee White Water River Rafting:

From Atlanta to our outpost, take I-75 North out of Atlanta and about 20 miles north of the city take the exit for I-575 (Exit 268). Stay on this highway – it will change to Hwy 515 or 5, but it is the same highway. You will pass by small towns – Jasper, Ellijay, Cherry Log and enter Blue Ridge. Turn left at the traffic light in Blue Ridge onto Highway 5 north at the McDonald’s Restaurant.

Stay on highway 5 for about 10 miles to McCaysville, GA. In McCaysville, you will cross the river bridge (this is the Ocoee!), you and enter Tennessee and the town of Copperhill. The road ends at a three way stop, and you turn left. You are now on Hwy 68 north in Tennessee.

You will go about three miles on Hwy 68, past a big historic copper-smelting factory, up to Highway 64. (Watch for the sign to the Ocoee River on the right) After taking the exit ramp for Hwy 64, turn left on 64 west. You will see a Piggly Wiggly grocery, and a couple of motels. This is Ducktown! Continue on Hwy 64 about 2 1/2 miles and our Outpost will be on the right in the log cabin with a big blue sign out front saying Ocoee Adventure Center.

Whitewater Rafting Trips

Middle Ocoee

Looking for real adventure this summer? Come for an amazing whitewater rafting on the Middle Ocoee River with OAR!

With all equipment and transportation to-and-from river provided, this 3.5 hour trip is convenient for all group ages 12 and up! Never been rafting before? No problem! Our highly trained guides will teach you and your crew all the whitewater rafting techniques and safety skills you need for your adventure. With five miles of class III and IV rapids, the Middle Ocoee River provides excitement and challenge for any group. Whether you’re feeling nervous or daring, whether you just want to stay in the boat or you want a wild ride, our guides can customize your whitewater rafting trip to fit your needs. Either way, you will need your whole crew to make it down the river. Book your Middle Ocoee Trip now for summer adventure, true camaraderie, and enduring stories!

River Class refers to how powerful the rapids are on a given river. Class IV rapids are difficult with constricted passages that often require complex maneuvering in turbulent water.

*a 10% River Management and Access Fee will be added to the price

The trip lasts 3 hours start to finish, with the travel time to and from the outpost included. Trips are typically about 2 hours on the water.

Pricing starts at $41* per person for a middle trip. We do offer a 10% discount for groups of 10 and larger. Sundays and Mondays are only $35 per person!

*a 10% River Management and Access Fee will be added to the price

The minimum age is 12 years old. This is a requirement directly from Tennessee state law. Fortunately, we have plenty of activities for younger kids, such as tubing and low ropes courses.

Whitewater Rafting the Middle Ocoee with OAR

Absolute best time. Great guide, amazing company. We had the best time with Outdoor Adventure Rafting company. A friend had recommended them to me saying they were the best and he was definitely right. We recommended a wild guide and they accommodated us with a very experienced guide, Brett, who gave us an awesome time and still . read more ensured our safety. I can’t say enough how absolutely great they were to us. It was an unforgettable trip, and I will always use O.A.R. anytime I go back. If you’re looking for a great guide, I highly recommend Brett. Thanks again to the guys and gals at O.A.R. 10/10 read less

Fantastic! This was my first time going white water rafting and it was so much fun! The river is great but what sets this place apart was the Tour Guides. These guys are hilarious but still fantastic professionals. If you want to have a blast, ask for David.

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Ryan

What a fabulous experience! I’m an overweight, out-of-shape, middle-aged woman, and I was nervous about whether I could handle white water rafting, or whether they would even have gear to fit me. I shouldn’t have worried! Our guide, Isaiah, was so reassuring and made me feel comfortable and safe at every moment, and never . read more judged for what my body can or can’t do. And he gently encouraged me to challenge myself a bit – I’m so glad I did! OAR guides are knowledgeable, cheerful, fun and courteous (cheesy jokes notwithstanding!). Some of the other companies have a macho vibe, but OAR guides are kind to each other as well as the customers. I can’t wait to go back! read less

My favorite. My third year rafting with these awesome people! My raft guide Ben was fantastic! I love white water rafting. 10/10

Full River

Having trouble deciding between rafting the Upper Ocoee River or the Middle Ocoee River? No worries!

You can do both with OAR’s Full River Trip! Get the full Ocoee whitewater rafting experience with this epic all-day adventure. Our highly trained guides will prep you and your crew about whitewater rafting technique and safety. Start off your adventure with a bang, navigating five miles of class III and IV whitewater at the site of the 1996 Olympic Games. Catch your breath at our scenic lunch stop and enjoy chips, sandwiches, pasta salad, oatmeal cookies, and homemade southern ice tea and lemonade – all included with your full river trip. After lunch we’ll begin the second half of our journey on the Middle Ocoee River, the most classic stretch of whitewater in the South East. You and your crew will brave five more miles of class III and IV rapids before returning to our Ocoee Rafting Outpost. Book your whitewater rafting trip today for the full Ocoee experience!

River Class refers to how powerful the rapids are on a given river. Class IV rapids are difficult with constricted passages that often require complex maneuvering in turbulent water

*10% River Management and Access Fee will be added to the price

*The Upper trip is only available on limited days throughout the rafting season. Make sure to verify availability with our receptionist.

The trip lasts 6 – 6 & 1/2 hours start to finish, with the travel time to and from the outpost included. Lunch is included between the Upper and Middle sections.

Pricing starts at $91* per person for a full river trip. We offer a 10% discount for groups of 10 and larger. The upper section only runs on Saturdays and Sundays!

*10% River Management and Access Fee will be added to the price

*The Upper trip is only available on limited days throughout the rafting season. Make sure to verify availability with our receptionist.

The minimum age is 12 years old. This is a requirement directly from Tennessee state law. Fortunately, we have plenty of activities for younger kids, such as tubing and low ropes courses.

Whitewater Rafting the Full Ocoee River with OAR

Once again it was an amazing time. Great place!I would recommend this company to anyone. Very accommodating even with last minute changes. Jerry is an amazing raft guide and the ladies handling the counter are great.Always a great experience.

OAR is the best rafting company on the Ocoee! This was our second time rafting with OAR and they are hands down the best rafting company on the river. They are so laidback and not stuffy like all of the other caompnies out there. Rodney was an amazing raft guide and we had a blast! He really knew what . read more he was doing out there and he made it super easy for us. We will always choose OAR! read less

Rafting Trip with OAR Had an excellent trip rafting with our church group! Loads of fun and excitement. We had 36 in our group and everyone had so much fun. All of the guides were exceptional and lunch was great. Darby was our guide and we adored him. He made the trip fun, exciting . read more and everyone had a blast! Can’t wait to go back! Thanks again Darby! read less

So very awesome! Great experience! We had a wonderful time on the river. Brett was our guide and was both informative and fun. We took our teenage sons who said it was their favorite of the four river trips we had done before. My husband’s parents rafted for the first time at age 75 and . read more could not have enjoyed it more! Friendly, safe, and exciting! read less

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downhillsledder

Class V Ocoee

Are you looking for the most intense, most challenging whitewater rafting experience on the Ocoee River? Look no further!

Ocoee Class V rafting with Outdoor Adventures is absolutely the most extreme whitewater rafting trip out there. This trip is not for first time rafters. To be eligible for an Ocoee Class V trip, you must qualify during a regular OAR Ocoee Full River, Upper Ocoee, or Middle Ocoee rafting trip. Qualifications include ability to swim, self rescue into a raft, experience with whitewater, and experience surfing inside a hydraulic. During your regular Ocoee whitewater rafting trip, your guide has the option include Ocoee Class V training. If you make the cut, you will receive an Ocoee Class V certification card. Want to take the most challenging lines, surf the biggest hydraulics, and brave the most daring stunts possible on the Ocoee River? Use your Ocoee Class V certification card to book your trip now!

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River Class refers to how powerful the rapids are on a given river. While not technically Class V, our guides pick the most gnarly routes you can take down the Ocoee rapids.

*10% River Management and Access Fee will be added to the price

The trip lasts 5 hours start to finish, with the travel time to and from the outpost included. While this river trip is on the middle section, you experience the full extent of what the river has to offer.

Pricing starts at $54* per person for a full river trip. We do not typically offer any discounts for larger groups. If you have more than 10 qualified individuals on your trip, give us a call.

*(a 10% River Management and Access Fee will be add to the price)

The minimum age is 16 years old. While this isn’t a state mandated law, we enforce it because of the intensity of this type of trip. Take some time on trips down the middle and upper if you don’t qualify.

FAMILY FUN FOR ALL AGES! JON HALL WAS AWESOME! First let me say we had 5 people. Ages ranged from 18 to 42 and everyone had a blast! Jon Hall was an awesome and experienced rafter who really seemed to know his stuff. He was there to make sure we had a great time and believe me we all did. We rode the middle part of the river and it was the last ride of the season. Hopefully, we can return someday and ride the complete river. Thank you OAR for such an amazing ride!

Fun Packed Rafting We were a group of friends and each of us enjoyed the ride. The company believes in the complete satisfaction of the customer. We had Phil as our guide and he was amazing. He gave us a really wonderful time with lot of excitement. Enjoyed it and to be must be tried at this place. We had seen many other companies on the river but the fun these guys made for us was different. I loved the service.

Jon Hall makes the experience. My husband and I went white water rafting on the Ocoee for the first time and had an absolute blast! This was in part due to the nature of the activity but also because Jon made it such an experience! I would highly recommend this operation for white water rafting as the guides will ask you what type of experience you want and ensure that you have that. Whether you want a calm white water rafting experience down the river or you want a more vigorous rafting experience they will make sure it is perfect for you!! It was my first time rafting so I was a little nervous but Jon made sure he put me at ease and allowed us to have an absolutely wonderful rafting experience!! He gave us a a very detailed briefing before hitting the water and continue to give us information as we were on the river and historical facts about the area. Of all the operations available in this area this is definitely the one I would recommend! They are professional from the time you book the trip until the time you leave and there is even a gentleman out taking pictures that you have the option to buy if you choose to.

Upper Ocoee*

Ever wonder what it’s like to experience Olympic-quality whitewater rafting? Join Outdoor Adventures Rafting for the Upper Ocoee River Trip and find out!

The Upper Ocoee River begins with class II rapids and gradually builds to the infamous Olympic Section, specially designed for the 1996 Olympic Games. The Olympic section houses two of the largest rapids on the entire Ocoee, Humongous and Godzilla. This section of river has a walkway feet away from the action so all your friends and family can watch you run the biggest rapids! OAR provides all equipment, to-and-from river transportation, and instruction for this 3.5 hour trip, so it’s convenient for all adventurers ages 12 and up! Our experienced guides will help your crew navigate the class III and IV whitewater. Book your whitewater rafting trip now and become a part of the Ocoee Olympics legend!

River Class refers to how powerful the rapids are on a given river. Class IV rapids are difficult with constricted passages that often require complex maneuvering in turbulent water.

*10% River Management and Access Fee will be added to the price

*The Upper trip is only available on limited days throughout the rafting season. Make sure to verify availability with our receptionist.

The trip lasts 3 hours start to finish, with the travel time to and from the outpost included. Trips are typically about 2 hours on the water.

Pricing starts at $45* per person for a middle trip. We do offer a 10% discount for groups of 10 and larger. Upper section only runs on Saturdays and Sundays!

*a 10% River Management and Access Fee will be added to the price

The minimum age is 12 years old. This is a requirement directly from Tennessee state law. Fortunately, we have plenty of activities for younger kids, such as tubing and low ropes courses.

Whitewater Rafting on the Upper Ocoee with OAR

Awesome rafting experience! Tito was awesome! This is my third trip with OAR and it’s always been a great experience! Highly recommend them

Trenton rafting guide Trent was hands down the best guide Putnam of all of the other guides. He was willing to get in trouble to just to make sure we had a blast and fun time. 100000% request Trent on this trip

The most fun from the best crew This was our 4th time to use OAR for a trip. We have never had a bad experience. These guys and gals have got the rafting experience down pat. Every one is super friendly, highly knowledgeable and safety conscience. Jon is the best. . read more I call him “our” guide, because he makes you feel welcome, calls you by name and works hard to give you a great experience. He has been doing this for 11 years so he is pro. You can request him and I would recommend doing so. We have used other places, but OAR is tops! read less

TREEENNTTT Trent was our guide and he was the best! He constantly kept us laughing and made sure that we had a safe BUT super fun ride!! Super great.

Rafael was the best guide! Our guide Rafael was the best! He encouraged us and made our trip so fun! OAR has the most fun guides!

Amazing rafting experience We just returned to OAR for our second year and had another great rafting experience. Jon Hal was our guide, and we cannot say enough good things about him. He is professional, friendly, and an expert on the Ocoee. He went out of his way to cater to our wishes . read more on the trip and gave us an amazing rafting trip. We knew we were in excellent hands and felt extremely comfortable with him leading us. Not only did we trust him completely, but we really enjoyed his company. He’s a great guy! We look forward to returning! read less

Five Star Rated on

FAMILY FUN FOR ALL AGES! JON HALL WAS AWESOME! First let me say we had 5 people. Ages ranged from 18 to 42 and everyone had a blast! Jon Hall was an awesome and experienced rafter who really seemed to know his stuff. He was there to make sure . read more we had a great time and believe me we all did. We rode the middle part of the river and it was the last ride of the season. Hopefully, we can return someday and ride the complete river. Thank you OAR for such an amazing ride! read less

Fun Packed Rafting We were a group of friends and each of us enjoyed the ride. The company believes in the complete satisfaction of the customer. We had Phil as our guide and he was amazing. He gave us a really wonderful time . read more with lot of excitement. Enjoyed it and to be must be tried at this place. We had seen many other companies on the river but the fun these guys made for us was different. I loved the service. read less

Jon Hall makes the experience. My husband and I went white water rafting on the Ocoee for the first time and had an absolute blast! This was in part due to the nature of the activity but also because Jon made it such an experience! . read more I would highly recommend this operation for white water rafting as the guides will ask you what type of experience you want and ensure that you have that. Whether you want a calm white water rafting experience down the river or you want a more vigorous rafting experience they will make sure it is perfect for you!! It was my first time rafting so I was a little nervous but Jon made sure he put me at ease and allowed us to have an absolutely wonderful rafting experience!! He gave us a a very detailed briefing before hitting the water and continue to give us information as we were on the river and historical facts about the area. Of all the operations available in this area this is definitely the one I would recommend! They are professional from the time you book the trip until the time you leave and there is even a gentleman out taking pictures that you have the option to buy if you choose to. read less

Request Jon Hall Man, this trip was awesome. We did a half day in late September, so the water was still warm but it wasn’t insanely hot outside. We were a more adventurous group, and our tour guide, Jon Hall, did his best . read more to make sure we were having a blast and staying safe. We had great conversations and a wonderful experience. I’ve never gone with any other companies, but I probably won’t. These guys are #1 for a reason. I highly recommend this company and tour guide! read less

Fantastic company, fantastic experience! There are a lot of choices in this area for white water rafting. I’m glad we chose this one! The proprietor made us feel welcome and is clearly committed to creating an unforgettable experience for his customers that lives through . read more all the guides. They all seemed great. Our guide, John Cleveland was amazing. He was funny, passionate about the river, and also our safety. My entire family had an absolute blast and the pictures are proof of that. Would recommend a thousand times over. ~Jennifer, Jack, Patrick, Sunny, Lisa, and London read less

Awesome Experience I have nothing but great things to say about OAR. I would recommend anyone looking for an Ocoee rafting adventure to use OAR. The guides are great at what they do and it is easy to see they love doing it.

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Team trip It was great! We did paintball, white water rafting and rock climbing and repelling. John was our instructor for the white water rafting, and for a party of 20 it was the smoothest trip I had ever been on.

Best bang for the buck! If you want to float down the river and watch people actually hit rapids repeatedly go somewhere else. If you want to get in the stink, go to OAR. Our guide Jon was the trip leader and he definitely set . read more the example for the other guides who seemed great as well. Jon repeatedly put us in surf sessions and made sure we hit every rapid dead center. Highly recommend these guys. Just a tip: Don’t forgot to tip your guides. Something I fortunately learned before it was too late. read less

Awesome experience – better than other companies we saw The OAR team did an awesome job to provide an action packed yet safe adventure. John started us off with the most entertaining (yet informative) safety session I have ever seen. All the guides were super knowledgeable and . read more extremely enthusiastic which really made the experience memorable. Darby was our amazing guide who was just AWESOME! We felt fortunate we chose OAR because we saw other companies on the river with less enthusiastic guides and not doing as many fun extra things like surfing the rapids. really hope we get to come back next year with OAR and that Darby is our guide again. read less

The Ultimate Ocoee River Rafting Guide

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Located in Southeast Tennessee, the Ocoee River is a 93-mile river that flows northwest through the southern Appalachian Mountains .

It’s known as the Toccoa River in the state of Georgia , where it passes through the towns of Blue Ridge and McCaysville.

The river is world-renowned for its Class III-V rapids, which served as the dramatic setting for the 1996 Olympics Whitewater Slalom events.

The Ocoee is a dam-controlled river, and it’s one of the best places to find whitewater near Atlanta.

Thanks to the water released from the Ocoee dams, the Ocoee River offers some of the most exhilarating whitewater rafting in Georgia.

Rafting the Ocoee River makes for an exciting day trip from Atlanta (109 miles) or Chattanooga (65 miles), and is incredibly popular with residents of both areas.

Despite the fact that I’ve lived in Chattanooga for years, I’d never taken the time to experience Ocoee River rafting until the recent Memorial Day weekend.

Read on for an overview of my experience with Outdoor Adventure Rafting (OAR), as well as a look at other attractions, activities, and rafting tour operators in the area.

Check-In Counter at OAR - rafting the Ocoee River

OAR Check-In, photo by Amy Lewis

The Ultimate Ocoee River Rafting Guide

  1. General O coee Rafting Info
  2. Rafting the Middle Section of the Ocoee River
  3. Camping and Rappelling at Outdoor Adventure Rafting
  4. Other Ocoee Rafting Companies

Ocoee white water rafting with OAR

Ocoee White Water Rafting, photo courtesy of Ocoee Adventure Rafting

General Ocoee River Info

The Ocoee River is a 93-mile-long tributary of the Hiwassee River that runs through the Cherokee National Forest between Cleveland and Copperhill, Tennessee.

The river is split into three recreational sections: the Upper, Middle, and Lower sections.

The Upper Ocoee, which includes large Class II-IV rapids, is famous for hosting the whitewater slalom in the 1996 Summer Olympics. It was the world’s first Olympic whitewater event ever hosted on a natural river.

The Upper Ocoee has a limited water release schedule, and is only available for rafting and kayaking on weekends from May to early September.

The Ocoee Whitewater Center, which was opened as the Olympic center, was completely destroyed by fire in April 2022.

The recreation areas (including all hiking trails ) have since reopened, but visitors should note that their strobe and siren warning system is down. This means that the Ocoee River water levels could rise quickly, with no notice!

The Middle Ocoee River, the most popular recreational section, is open every Thursday through Monday. With smaller (but still exciting) rapids, this section is an obvious choice for first-time rafters.

The Lower section is the calmest, with options for short river tubing trips. Outdoor Adventure Rafting is the only company that offers a Lower Ocoee tubing trip.

U.S. Forest Service rules state that all rafters must be at least 12 years of age. But for these guided tubing trips, kids of any age are allowed.

OAR also offers Ocoee whitewater rafting trips on all three sections of the river, as well as camping , rappelling, a ropes course, and an alpine tower.

Middle Ocoee River Rafting map of rapids

Middle Ocoee River Rafting Map, photo by Amy Lewis

Rafting the Middle Section of the Ocoee River

I chose OAR for my solo Ocoee River whitewater rafting trip. It was my first time rafting in class III+ rapids, so I booked a 3-hour trip down the Middle section.

Lower, Middle, and Full-River Ocoee rafting trips with OAR cost $20, $39.50, and $95.

Lower Ocoee River tubing trips are available all week, while Middle Ocoee tours are available Thursday through Monday, and Full-River tours are only offered on weekends.

The trip started off with a safety briefing. Our guide, Cleveland, went over all of the pertinent safety information we would need rafting the Ocoee. He kept it brief, but made sure we all felt completely comfortable before we departed.

We each grabbed our gear– a life vest, paddle, and helmet– then took a 15-minute shuttle to Ocoee Dam #2. From there, Cleveland and his fellow guides Lily and Hayden taught us how to paddle in unison before launching our rafts into the river .

My favorite rapid of the day was Table Saw, where we saw instructors from Raft One training new guides to swim the huge rapid.

Another highlight was Hell’s Hole, where Hayden let us “Superman” the rapid, laying on our stomachs on the front of the raft instead of paddling. We breathed in a lot of water, but the huge smiles on our faces afterward said it all!

I also loved it when Hayden jumped out of the boat, ran up a boulder beside the river , and front flipped back into the water right next to our boat.

Later our guides took us to the Mystery Move for an unplanned jump into one of the rapid’s hydraulics. It was incredible to watch as rafters jumped in the water and popped back up some 20 feet down the river.

Despite being a little nervous at the beginning of the trip, I ended up having an awful lot of fun white water rafting with OAR. I would absolutely return to take the full-day Ocoee River rafting tour in the future.

Rapeller at Ocoee Adventure Rafting near Ocoee River

Rappelling at OAC, photo by Amy Lewis

Camping and Rappelling at Outdoor Adventure Rafting

In addition to their whitewater rafting and tubing tours, OAR also offers camping , climbing, and rappelling adventures.

Their property in Benton TN (less than 13 miles from the border with North Georgia ) has three different campground areas, including bunkhouses, open group camping, and a section of riverside camping.

I stayed in an open group camping spot for $8, bit it was near the river campground (which costs $10 per night). The space was clean and shaded, and all the other groups were far enough away to make it quiet and peaceful.

Four bunkhouses on the property make a perfect camping opportunity for large groups. They sleep anywhere from 16 to 32 people, and cost between $186-$340 a night, depending on the size of the cabin rental .

In the morning before my rafting trip, I walked up the path to the shop’s deck to meet my guide for a $19 rappelling course. My guide, Rob, was fun and informative, explaining the rappelling system thoroughly to make sure we felt safe.

I connected my harness to the two points of contact– the rappelling system and a regular belay– and went over the wall first.

I’ll admit that the first couple of tentative steps were absolutely nerve-wracking. But with Rob’s guidance, the rest of the wall descent was surprisingly easy.

OAR also offers a low ropes course for $19, and an alpine tower for $35 at the bottom of the property, near the first section of their campground .

The ropes, rappelling, and/or alpine tour adventures are a perfect addition to an adventure-filled weekend getaway .

Other Ocoee Rafting Companies

If you’re looking for a place to go white water rafting in Chattanooga, or river rafting in Georgia, the Ocoee is home to some of the best places to whitewater raft in the Blue Ridge Mountains .

In addition to OAR, there are many other Ocoee River rafting companies located between Cleveland and Ducktown TN.

All the guides we’ve met in the area are fun and friendly, using their southern charm and immense knowledge of the National Forest to make your trip down the river more exciting and informative.

All of the Ocoee River rafting companies offer a Middle Ocoee rafting tour and a Full Ocoee rafting tour. Most of the Middle Ocoee trips range from $36-$51 per person for a 3.5-hour trip from Ocoee Dam #2.

Upper Ocoee trips range from $75-$120, with most including a lunch halfway through the trip. Less than half of the Ocoee rafting companies offer Upper Ocoee tours, including OAR, Cherokee Rafting, Bigfoot Outfitters, and Ace Ocoee Adventures.

Whatever company you ultimately choose for your whitewater rafting adventure, you’ll be sure to have a thrilling trip on the Class III+ rapids! –by Amy Lewis

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Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship.

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore.

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you’re exploring the wilderness, it’s better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Amy Lewis

Currently residing in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Amy is an English teacher and soccer coach who grew up in the Appalachian Mountains. After moving to Knoxville in middle school, her mom slowly introduced her to all things outdoors, including backpacking, hiking, camping, and biking. She spent her weekends in high school swimming at the Sinks or camping at Cade’s Cove. After attending college at ETSU and UTC, Amy moved to Nashville, where she lived and travelled in a Dodge Sprinter van for a year, before moving back to Chattanooga. Amy is excited to share her passion for the outdoors through her writing!

Source https://www.ocoeeadventurecenter.com/white-water-rafting-georgia-ga/

Source https://ocoee.com/whitewater-rafting/

Source https://blueridgemountainstravelguide.com/ocoee-river-rafting/

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