Why do Alabama residents pick the Ocoee River for their whitewater rafting trips?
Alabama is a naturally beautiful state with the Appalachian Mountains offering scenic overlooks and fascinating wildlife. If you travel south, you can experience Alabama’s gorgeous white sand beaches on The Gulf Coast. While Alabama has plenty of natural beauty to offer, when it comes to true whitewater rafting, there aren’t a lot of options. Most people travel to Georgia or Tennessee to seek either the Chattahoochee River or the Ocoee River.
When people think of whitewater rafting in Alabama, their minds may go to the Chattahoochee River, which runs along the southeastern border of the state. The Chattahoochee has been called one of “Top 12 Man-Made Adventures in the World” by USA Today. This river runs primarily through Georgia.
While the Chattahoochee is a great man-made river, paddlers often prefer the Ocoee River for a few reasons. One simple reason is because the Ocoee River runs directly thru the breathtaking beauty of the Cherokee National forest. The largest tract of public land in Tennessee, the Cherokee National Forest covers 640,000-acres and lies in the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountain range. Also, the Middle Ocoee River has been named America’s most popular whitewater river, with over 5 miles of exciting class III and IV rapids. This section of the river features 20 uniquely named rapids, such as Moon Shot, Double Trouble, Diamond Splitter, and Sneaky Pete. These rapids are one of the reasons why over 250,000 rafters from across Alabama, the US and even other countries pick the Ocoee River for their whitewater rafting destination. For all the freestyle kayakers out there, the Middle Ocoee is a whitewater playground. This stretch of river has widely been considered the birthplace of freestyle whitewater kayaking. The Upper Ocoee is famous for having hosted the 1996 Olympics Whitewater Competition. The riverbed was altered to create the perfect rafting conditions for the competition. Engineers narrowed the width of the riverbed from 200 feet to 70 feet to create a faster and more powerful water flow. With continuous rapids and the chance to run an Olympic whitewater course, rafting on the Ocoee is hard to beat. Whether you are an experienced paddler or a beginner, whitewater rafting on the Ocoee is an item you want on your bucket list.
Visitors also come to the Ocoee, because of the variety of outdoor activities in the area. The Cherokee National Forest is full of things to do with hiking trails, camping, fishing, and beautiful wildlife. For a more relaxed day on the water, visitors may choose to go canoeing or rent a pontoon boat on Lake Ocoee, also known as Parksville Lake which is fed by the Ocoee River. You could even stay at Lake Ocoee Inn and Marina, to be just steps away from the water when you wake up. The good news is, depending on where you live in Alabama, the Ocoee River may be closer to you or the same drive as the Chattahoochee River. On the Ocoee, you will be sure to get a full weekend of outdoor adventure without traveling too far away from home.
Your Next Adventure
We’ve been rafting the Ocoee for over 40 years at Ocoee Inn Rafting, so you can trust us with your next whitewater adventure. We offer either half-day or full-day excursions on the river, and you get to choose what your trip will look like. Whether you have a large group of first-time paddlers or a smaller group of experienced adrenaline junkies, we have the perfect trip for you. Whatever your rafting trip looks like, it’s sure to be an unforgettable whitewater experience!