There’s much more to the Ocoee area than just river rafting
What does it mean to be the most popular river in the world? It means that more than 250,000 people visit the Ocoee River annually, rafting, kayaking and engaging in other aquatic activities.
Rafting is what has made the Ocoee famous. I’m talking about over five miles of whitewater rafting on the class III to IV river. The class III – IV classification simply means that in order to guide a boat, your whitewater rafting skills must be either intermediate or advanced. This is why every commercial raft on the Ocoee is required to have a trained guide.
But Ocoee outfitters provide a variety of other activities besides rafting that will thrill any outdoor enthusiast. Many offer zipline/canopy tours, paintball, and guided hiking or mountain biking tours, just to name a few. There’s a handy chart that lays out most of the activities available at each, though the list does lack special offerings from some companies, such as:
• High Country Adventures: Caving, rock climbing;
• Outdoor Adventure Rafting: Rock climbing, ropes courses, tubing, rappelling, Alpine Tower, team-building activities;
• Ocoee Inn: SUP rental, boat rentals at the adjoining marina;
• Outland Expeditions: Funyak rental (guided or not);
• Rolling Thunder: Tube, canoe and kayak rentals;
• Whitewater Express: Ropes courses, disc golf, giant swing, lake on site, horseback riding
Visit each outfitter’s website for more information on how to make reservations for each outdoor activity.
The Ocoee Adventure Company and Ocoee Retreat Center also partner with rafting companies to offer more than whitewater rafting. Through the Ocoee Adventure Company, you can book an adventure trip to Costa Rica, find out how to take an eco-tour right here in town, and get great group deals with Big Frog Expeditions.
The Ocoee Retreat Center works with Nantahala Outdoor Center to focus on providing groups with all the amenities they might need while visiting the Ocoee region (food, lodging, meeting spaces), as well as all the fun activities they might enjoy. There’s a water park, paintball arena, high- and low-ropes challenge courses, an adventure race, on-site hiking trails, ziplines, and a “crazy lake.”
If you’re simply looking for a relaxing getaway in the mountains, the Ocoee region is ideal. There are numerous camping and lodging options in the area, as well as many hiking trails and swimming holes to take a dip in, all without a guide or anyone to hold back your adventurous side.
Unfortunately, rafting on the Ocoee River may end after the 2018 rafting season due to expiring contracts and financial conflicts with the Tennessee Valley Authority. If that scenario plays out, $43 million in tourism spending will go with it. If whitewater rafting comes to an end in the area, all the other fun activities will dry up, too.
For more information, please visit savetheocoee.org