It can be hard to decide which white water river to go rafting on?
So, we put together this infographic comparing three of the south’s most popular dam released rivers to help you decide.
Which river do you think is best for you?
Atlanta summers can be brutal with temperatures sometimes exceeding 100 degrees. This leaves most quickly darting between air-conditioned environments to maintain cool.
Life in the city has a lot of perks: plenty of restaurants, museums, and activity. But with it comes congestion, stress, and anxiety.
The cure for the heat and craziness of Atlanta can be found in the rivers just a few hours north in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Whitewater rafting on the Nantahala and Ocoee Rivers will cool the body and refresh the soul.
The Nantahala River and Ocoee River are awesome whitewater experiences with adventures for all ages and skill levels. Both are located in National Forests, which insure a slow paced natural experience. These mountain rivers are exactly what’s needed to cool down, relax, and have fun.
The Ocoee River is located only two hours north of Atlanta in the southeastern part of Tennessee. Atlanta and the Ocoee River will forever be linked because of its part in the 1996 Olympic Games, as the home of the whitewater canoe and kayak events.
An Ocoee River rafting trip is an experience like no other with over 30 named class III-IV rapids in a 10 mile stretch. The Ocoee River in broken up into two sections, the Upper Ocoee and the Middle Ocoee. The Middle section is the classic Ocoee run with non stop action that keeps your heart pounding and your face soaked.
To experience the Middle Ocoee and the Upper Ocoee River, where the Olympics were held, get a seat on the Ocoee Combo trip. The Ocoee Combo trip is a full day trip where you get the full 10 miles of the river with a riverside lunch in between. This trip runs on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day and spaces do fill up so you will want to reserve it as soon as practical.
The Nantahala River is located just three hours from northern Atlanta in the Nantahala National Forest of western North Carolina. Sitting at the bottom of the Nantahala Gorge, the Nantahala River is as beautiful as it is fun.
With eight miles of exciting class I-II whitewater and one class III at the end, Nantahala Falls, the Nantahala River is a great river for beginners river. There are 3 different options for trips on the Nantahala River, each providing you with more freedom on the river to seek your own adventure.
The Guided Nantahala Trip puts a guide in the back of your boat to steer and show you the best the river has to offer. Non-Guided Nantahala Trips give you and your group the ability to tackle the river on your own, working as a team to navigate through the rapids and around the rocks. The Ducky Trip is for the adventurer looking to experience the river on their own, creating their own adventure.
From Atlanta both the Ocoee River and Nantahala River are great day trips. You can easily get to the mountains, go whitewater rafting, and get back home for a awesome day adventure. Being so close to Atlanta makes it great for groups to get together for a day of fun, making the Nantahala and Ocoee Rivers popular with churches, scouts and universities.
The best way to go white water rafting near Atlanta is to get out of the city and make a weekend of it by rafting two rivers in two days. On Saturday raft the Nantahala River, it will relax you with its beauty and get you primed with a taste of white water. On Sunday go Ocoee River rafting and finish up your weekend with big waves and fast water.
We hope this was helpful and look forward to seeing you on the river this summer.
If you have any questions about white water rafting near Atlanta please give us a call 423.496.5050
Here are a few presidential quotes on rivers and our environment to celebrate this Presidents Day. In searching for these quotes is seemed that our waters, lands, and wild places have always been a love of our leaders (although some more than others).
Hope you enjoyed this, on this Presidents Day. Please feel free to add in the comments your favorite presidential quote on the greatness of our country.
Winter time can be an bit depressing. The shorter days and the freezing temperatures keep us inside and away from good old outdoor therapy.
So here are some pictures of summer in the southern Appalachian mountains to get you out of the winter blues.
Hope this brightens your day. It won’t be long till summer is back and the mountains will be calling you for the next adventure.
Bryson City is a small outdoor town located in Western North Carolina on the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). For the adventure and outdoor lover, Bryson City has been one of the best kept secrets in the mountains.
Here is what makes this place so awesome, the best of Bryson City.
Located in the GSMNP, a short drive from town, in a area referred to as the “Road to Nowhere” lays the Goldmine Loop trail. This 3.1 mile trail wanders through the mountain forests opening up to views of Fontana Lake and sites of homesteads long forgotten. The loop is highlighted by the long dark tunnel that starts the hike and is the reason the area is called the “Road to Nowhere.” This area is a passionate topic with the locals who see it as a broken promise. Had it been finished the road would have allowed access to family cemeteries that were made inaccessible with the creation of Fontana Lake. The trail is a moderate hike with little elevation change and a one mile alternate if the trail seems like too much for you.
An awesome little cafe right in town. Bryson City has plenty of coffee shop options but Mountain Perks is by far the best. The coffee is always great and the food never fails. Their slogan of “life’s to short for bad coffee” is hard to argue with. My personal favorite meal is the Kerby sandwich w/ a Milky Way to wash it down. The owner Pam can usually be found behind the bar providing a little bit of spice that only comes from a family run coffee house.
Camping in the park is an experience everyone should try. Deep Creek camping puts you in the middle of what the mountains are all about, with streams, trail, and waterfalls. Sites are cheap but there are no bells and whistles (like showers) but you can’t beat the location. At Deep Creek you can choose between backcountry, group camping and horse camps but for the beginner, go for frontcountry (it is a good primer for national park camping).
This place is a little different. Inside there is corn-hole and giant jinga to play. But at the bar you will find plenty to wet your whistle, from their flagship beers to seasonal and specialty brews. Must try’s are the Dirty Girl Blond, Bryson City Brown and Noon Day IPA. After a hike or paddle there is no greater reward than sitting down at the bar at Nantahala Brewing Company.
The highly acclaimed Tsali Mountain Bike Trails are a series of four trails that climb and fall along Fontana Lake. Two trails are open to biking each day with the others open for horseback riding. Along with bike trails there is also a campground as a part of the Tsali recreational area. So if riding is what you love, camp a few nights and ride till your legs go numb. For the beginner, Thompson and Right loop are best. For the more experienced, Left loop is the way to go. If in need of some bike repairs look up the guys at Tsali Cycles, there you can have some local brew while your bike gets worked on.
This historic inn first opened its doors in Bryson City in 1923. The Fryemont Inn feels like you have gone back in time and has a authentic mountain lodge feel. The lodge is not all old, with a modern pool, bar, and dinning on the grounds. Located in town you are in the middle of it all and can always take a walk around town. From rooms to suites they can accommodate the romantic getaway or the small family.
A short drive from town is the Nantahala River with class II and III rapids that are perfect for the beginner paddler. From the first splashes of the rapid Patton’s Run to the final drop of Lesser Wesser the Nantahala river excites. Chose between rafting with a guide, non guided, or fun one or two person funyaks. Floating through the Nantahala gorge is one of the most beautiful ways to experience the area. For the best ride on the river reserve with Carolina Outfitters. They offer a wide variety of boats and times so you can raft when you want the way you want.
No frills, just good food. Everett Street Diner is locate at what most would consider the direct middle of town. This is where the locals eat. The reason why, because it is good hardy go get something done food. If you happen in at typical working folks breakfast or lunch time, good luck getting a seat. When you come in for breakfast you are likely to be eating across from the fire squad or EMT’s. My favorite by far is the biscuits and gravy, but there has never been anything I didn’t tear through.
Located right in the heart of town, Bryson City Outdoors is part gear shop and part adventure hub. They know the local area well and have what you need to get the most out of it. Aside from their store they also offer stand up paddle board rentals on the Finger lake. Check these guys out, they are new and make an awesome addition to the Bryson City area.
The summer is crowded and the winter is dead but the fall is perfect. In mid October the leaves start to changed turning the mountains into a colorful landscape. The temperature is perfect for enjoying everything the mountains have to offer, from rafting to hiking. Fall festivals are happening everywhere with local artisans and Appalachian music abundant.
Hope this helps you make the most of your next trip to the Bryson City area.
For the 93 miles that the Ocoee River flows the sections below Ocoee Dam #3 and Ocoee Dam #2 are the only parts of the river that have substantial whitewater rapids. There are most likely more rapids that where submerged by the creations of the lakes behind these dams.
The the water on the middle section of the Ocoee River was diverted down a five mile wooden flume to a powerhouse down stream to make hydroelectric power. In September of 1976 a rock slide heavily damaged the flume line allowing water to consistently flow down the river bed for the first time since the Dam was constructed in 1913.
For the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, GA the Ocoee River was used to hold the whitewater canoe and kayak events. To make this possible a 1,640 foot section of the upper Ocoee was narrowed by two-thirds to increase the current and create eddies and drops. This section of the river offers one of the most exciting rides on the Ocoee River, highlighted by the last two rapids “Godzilla” and “Humongous” which are back to back.
Consistently the middle section of the Ocoee River is floated by more people than any other whitewater river in the country. With over 200,000 commercial guests rafting, and 10,000 privately boating, the middle Ocoee provides a lot of enjoyment to a lot of people.
In 1983, the completion of the repaired flume line was getting ready to come back on line and water was set to disappear from the river bed once again. Congress acted to save the whitewater recreation that rose while the flume was being fixed. An agreement was negotiated to provide 116 days of water release for the next 35 years, with the outfitters paying a total cost recovery for all power lost to TVA.
The word Ocoee is Cherokee for Passiflora incarnata which is commonly known as wild apricot or maypop. The Cherokee people knew the Ocoee River gorge as the “apricot place” for all the beautiful wild apricot vines that once grew there.
The Ocoee River is only known as the Ocoee for the 37 miles that it runs in Tennessee. The 56 miles of river in Georgia are named the Toccoa River. The Toccoa section of the river is quite calm giving way to activities like tubing and fishing.
For the 93 miles that the Ocoee/Toccoa River flows from the confluence of Canada and Mauldin creeks to the Hiwassee River it drops from 2,120 ft of elevation to 750 feet. The upper Ocoee section has a average of 50 feet per mile drop for its five miles.
The current scale for rating rapids was created by a non-profit group called American Whitewater. According To their website the middle section of the Ocoee does not have any class IV rapids under normal water levels. They have “Broken Nose”,”Double Suck”and “Table Saw” rapids classified as class III+ and 15 other rapids rated as solid class III.
The agreement between the outfitters and TVA is set to run out after the 2018 season. As of now an agreement is trying to be made so that there is a future past this point, it may take another act of congress. Please help us procure the Ocoee River past 2018 by visiting Save the Ocoee to see how you can help.