Ready to take on the waters that challenged Olympic athletes in 1996? Then buckle your chin strap, cinch down your life jacket, and grab a paddle! It’s time to get on the upper Ocoee, with rapids named Mikey’s, Let’s Make a Deal, Godzilla and Humongous to name a few. This magnificent adventure starts you off in a remote gorge with panoramic scenery and pure serenity, but shortly picks up with some intense class III & IV whitewater bliss. The main attraction of this section is the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Course, with spectacular rapids raging just feet away from the banks. Here you can either watch the action or BE the action! Be prepared to get soaked to the bone. (Remember: Children must be at least 12 years old to raft the Ocoee)
|May, June & September||July & August|
8 or more
The middle section of the Ocoee River is America’s favorite stretch of whitewater with some of the wettest and wildest action around! This section is great for beginners or the experienced rafter with over 20 continuous class III & IV rapids. With plenty of places to surf and play, you’ll see why thousands of folks return year after year to raft this classic 5-mile run. Starting just below the Ocoee Dam No. 2, you’ll encounter your first big rapid, Grumpy’s, then its on to Broken Nose, Roller Coaster, Table Saw, Hell’s Hole and many more. Top that all off with a great place to swim about half way down and you’ll certainly become “one” with the river. Our wonderful river guides will help make your adventure one to remember. Better bring a change of dry clothes…you WILL get wet! (Remember: Children must be at least 12 years old to raft the Ocoee)
|April, May & October||June & September||July & August|
30 or more
*Groups of 50 or more: Please call 1-800-451-7238 for custom group discounts.
Ready for a full day of adventure on the Ocoee River? This is classic Tennessee white water rafting at it’s finest, including 10 miles of raging rapids to wet your appetite. We’ll start you off in the remote gorge near Ocoee Dam No.3, then it’s on downstream to some intense class III & IV big water. About half way down, the Ocoee River narrows into the Olympic white water competition course. Your adrenaline will be pumping! Shortly after we tackle the Olympic section, we’ll take a seat by Humongous & Godzilla and watch other rafts battle the rapids as you enjoy a catered riverside lunch (included in the trip fee). You’ll feast on a wonderful variety of sandwich meats, a selection of breads, wraps and cheeses with all the trimmings, along with peel-and-eat shrimp, plus an assortment of chips, fruit, cookies and drinks. Just when you thought you’ve experienced it all, we’ll shoot down the middle Ocoee and take on over 20 more class III & IV rapids including Double Suck, Flipper, Diamond Splitter and Hell’s Hole. This combo trip takes about 5 hours to complete. This trip is only available on weekends from mid May thru September, so don’t wait to book it! This is one white water adventure that’s tough to beat. (Remember: Children must be at least 12 years old to raft the Ocoee)
|May||June & September||July & August|
8 or more
2017 RAFTING DAYS
CAP DAYS: July 15, 22, 29 & August 5, 12, 26 – These days are traditionally the busiest days on the river (usually weekends during the summer months). In order to prevent overcrowding, the State of TN restricts or “caps” the total number of guests that each outfitter can take down the river. Because of this restriction, space is limited. CAP days are booked on a first come, first serve basis and payments are MANDATORY.
- Reservations are highly recommended, especially for weekends and large groups. This will help insure availability for your preferred trip date and time. Walk-ins are also welcome when space is available.
- Have your group select a couple of dates and times and then call us for the availability of trips. Make your reservation by calling 1-800-451-RAFT (7238) or booking online. We’ll need the date, time, size of group, your name, mailing address, phone numbers, and email address.
- Establish a deadline so you can collect the required deposit or full payment from each member of your group. (remember: Children must be 12 years or older to raft the Ocoee).
- In order to confirm your reservation, deposits or full payment are required as listed below unless other arrangements have been agreed upon. It is our suggestion that you not “front” the deposit for your group. Be sure you and your party are aware of our cancellation and refund policy. We accept all major credit cards.
- For Individuals (7 people or less): we require full payment within 10 days of booking your reservation. If the reservation is made within 10 days of the trip date, the full balance is due at the time of booking.
- For Groups (8 people or more): we require a deposit ($15.00/person for middle trips or $30.00/person for full river trips) due within 10 days of booking your reservation with the balance due two weeks prior to your trip date. For a group of 8 or more booking a trip less than 10 days before your trip date, full payment is required to confirm your reservation. BONUS: A group leader who pays for 25 or more people gets to go for free! (only 1 free trip per party) In order to receive the group leader free trip, you MUST pay with one check/transaction and present completed release forms at check-in.
- Mark your calendar for when the deposit/final balance payments are due. Call us to confirm the size of your group as time nears your trip date, and then pay your deposit/full payment or mail your check. In case of cancellations, call our office as soon as possible to change your reservation. Be sure you and your party are aware of our cancellation and refund policy. (copy below)
- Plan to arrive 30 minutes before the trip time, and come prepared to have a great time!
When you make a reservation with Cherokee Rafting, it is our commitment to hold spaces available for you which might mean turning others away from that particular date and time. With this in mind, please understand that we must be firm in adhering to our cancellation/refund policy. Please notify us as soon as possible if you find it necessary to cancel your trip.
To receive a full refund or to reschedule, changes must be made to the scheduled trip no later than 10 days before your trip date. Trips cancelled less than 10 days to 24 hours prior are subject to a cancellation/processing fee of $10.00 per person. This fee will be applied from any full payment or deposits you have made. Absolutely, no refunds will be given for any changes or cancellations made less than 24 hours to your scheduled trip time. We regret that we can’t make exceptions for illness, personal emergencies, or bad weather. Remember, we go rafting rain or shine.
TIPS FOR GROUPS
- Have everyone pay you in full when they sign up. For Group Discounts to apply, you will need to make one group payment or two if you paid a deposit. Anyone paying individually will be charged the individual rate.
- Do not make a reservation for anyone who doesn’t give you his or her money. This takes the financial commitment off of you as the group leader.
- Call Cherokee Rafting even if 1 person wants to cancel prior to the cancellation deadline.
- If the cancellation deadline has passed to receive a refund, the person wanting to cancel should find a replacement. This should not be the group leader’s responsibility. Remember, all reserved spots will be charged.
- If your group number changes, you will be charged the rate per person in that discount bracket. This rate may be different than what you were originally quoted.
FROM CHATTANOOGA, TN (43 miles, 50 minutes) – Take I-75 north towards Knoxville to exit #20, turn right and merge onto the 64 bypass. Travel 6.5 miles to Highway 64 east (Ocoee exit). Take the Ocoee exit and merge onto Highway 64 east and travel 9 miles. Cherokee Rafting is on the left.
FROM KNOXVILLE, TN (93 miles, 1 ½ hours) – Take I-75 south to exit #25, turn right at the end of ramp onto Highway 60 south. Travel 4 miles to the Ocoee exit for Highway 64 east. Turn right for the Ocoee exit and merge onto Highway 64 east and travel 9 miles. Cherokee Rafting is on the left.
FROM NASHVILLE, TN (170 miles, 3 hours) – Take I-24 east to Chattanooga. At the junction for I-75 in Chattanooga take I-75 north towards Knoxville. Follow directions above From Chattanooga.
FROM ATLANTA, GA (112 miles, 2 – 2 ½ hours) – Take I-75 north to exit #293. Turn right at the end of the ramp and take Highway 411 north for 65 miles to the junction of Highway 64. Make a left turn onto the entrance ramp for Highway 64 East. At the end of the ramp turn right onto Highway 64 and travel 1.5 miles. Cherokee Rafting is on the left.
FROM BIRMINGHAM, AL (185 miles, 3 hours) – Take I-59 north towards Chattanooga. At the I-24 junction, take I-24 east to Chattanooga. At the junction for I-75 in Chattanooga, take I-75 north towards Knoxville. Follow directions above From Chattanooga.
FROM HUNTSVILLE, AL (142 miles, 3 hours) – Travel east on Highway 72 to I-24 and take I-24 east to Chattanooga. At the junction for I-75 in Chattanooga, take I-75 north towards Knoxville. Follow directions above From Chattanooga.
FROM ASHEVILLE, NC (160 miles, 3 ½ hours) – Take I-40 west to exit #27. Take exit #27 and follow Highway 74 west to Murphy, N.C. (88 miles). In Murphy, take Highway 64/74 west and travel straight ahead for 49.5 miles. Cherokee Rafting is on the right.(approx. 34 miles from the TN/NC state tline)
FROM THE KNOXVILLE AIRPORT AREA – Take Highway 129 to Maryville. Then take Highway 411 south to the junction for Highway 64 (62 miles). Make a right turn onto the entrance ramp for Highway 64 east. At the end of the ramp turn right onto Highway 64 and travel 1.5 miles. Cherokee Rafting is on the left.
FROM GATLINBURG, PIGEON FORGE, TOWNSEND AREA (2 to 2 ½ hours) – Take Highway 321 west from Pigeon Forge to Townsend. In Townsend, continue on Hwy. 321 to Maryville then take Highway 411 south to the junction for Highway 64. Make a right turn onto the entrance ramp for Highway 64 east. At the end of the ramp turn right onto Highway 64 and travel 1.5 miles.Cherokee Rafting is on the left.
FROM BLUE RIDGE, GA (39 miles, 1 hour) – Take Highway 5 north to Highway 68 in Copperhill/McCaysville. Turn left and travel on Highway 68 north to Highway 64. Take the ramp to go west on Highway 64 and travel 24.5 miles. Cherokee Rafting is on the right.
LODGING / ACCOMMODATIONS
While Cherokee Rafting doesn’t have any lodging on-site at our rafting facility on Hwy 64 in Ocoee, TN, there are still plenty of nearby options for you and your such as campgrounds, cabins, hotels, and bunk houses.
Nearby in Cherokee National Forest – Chilhowee Recreation Area & Campground (lake, beach and 60 ft. waterfall), Parksville Lake Campground (lake, RV hookups, waterfalls nearby) and Thunder Rock Campground (riverside camping alongside the Upper Ocoee). Call the Ocoee Ranger Station at 423-338-5201 for more information or visit www.Recreation.gov
Gee Creek Campground – Located in the Hiwassee State Park near Delano, TN. Call 423-263-0050 for more information.
Persimmon Creek Campground – Located 12 west of Murphy, NC and 7 miles east of the TN/NC state line on Hwy 64. Call 828-644-5800 or visitwww.persimmoncreekcampground.com
KOA Campground – Located in Cleveland, TN at exit 20 off I-75. Call 423-472-8928
Interstate 75 at exit 27 in Cleveland, TN – Hampton Inn 423-458-1222, Clarion Inn 423-559-1001, Baymont Inn & Suites 423-614-5583, Holiday Inn Express & Suites 423-790-1199
Interstate 75 at exit 25 in Cleveland, TN – Fairfield Inn & Suites 423-664-2501, Douglas Inn & Suites 423-559-5579, Wingate by Wyndham 888-595-2350, Comfort Inn & Suites 423-339-1000
Whitewater Inn located 1 mile from our outpost on Hwy 64 in Ocoee, TN 423-338-1201 or 855-716-2630
Downtown Chattanooga – Springhill Suites Marriott 423-834-9300, The Chattanoogan 800-619-0018, Courtyard Chattanooga 423-755-0871, The Chattanooga Choo Choo 423-266-5000
CABINS, BUNK HOUSES, B&B’S & APARTMENTS
Camp Agape – Benton, TN 423-338-4153 or visit www.campagape.net
Hall Cabin – Ocoee, TN (closet cabin to our outpost). 423-338-8465 or visit www.hallscabinrentals.com
Mountain Escapes Cabin Rentals 877-537-2273 or visit www.mecabins.com
Ocoee Riverside Lodge – Group lodging for 12-102 guests. 423-338-2221 or visit www.ocoeeriversidelodge.com
Welcome Valley Village – Benton, TN. 800-452-8567 or visit www.welcomevalleyvillage.com
Mountain Stream Lodging – Reliance, TN. 423-338-1070 or visit www.mountainstreamlodging.com
Lost Creek Cabins – Reliance, TN. 423-338-0757 or visit www.lostcreekcabins.com
Mountain River Cabins – Blue Ridge, GA. 770-977-5391 or visit www.mountainrivercabins.com
Blanche Manor Resort and Lodge – Copperhill, TN. Stay in a yurt or a lodge. 706-633-7574 or visit www.blanchemanoryurts.com
Chestnut Inn Bed & Breakfast – Conasauga, TN. 423-338-0108 or visit www.chestnutinnbedandbreakfast.com
Ocoee Mist Farm Bed & Breakfast – Benton, TN. 423-299-4054 or visit www.ocoee-mist.com
The Loft @ Five Points (Luxury Apts) – downtown Cleveland, TN. 423-779-8243 or visit www.TheLoftAtFivePoints.com
Ocoee River Dog Daycare and Boarding – Ocoee, TN. 423-299-9620 or visit www.ocoeedogs.com
Do you need previous whitewater experience? Who can participate?
No experience is necessary! Just about everyone can go whitewater rafting. Every raft is accompanied by a trained guide who will be with you all the way down river. Participants must be in good health and have a chest size no larger than 60 inches. Please note we cannot allow pregnant women to raft. The most important skill you can have is the ability to listen to your guide and follow your guide’s instructions. Please listen to and obey your guide. They want you to have great fun, but they also want everyone to be safe. Cherokee Rafting reserves the right to remove any individual from a white water rafting trip if their behavior in any way interferes with safety. Don’t forget…PADDLE HARD!
Is there a minimum age?
Yes. You must be at least 12 years old to raft the Ocoee River. This rule is set by the State of Tennessee.
Can a person with a medical condition or disability still go rafting?
Please remember that outdoor recreation activites can be strenuous and dangerous. You must be in good physical health. However, depending on your condition or disability, we may still be able to accommodate you. We always recommend notifying your physician if there are any questions about participating. Please call us to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Insulin, medications, inhalers, epi-pins, etc. can be carried in our medical kits in case you need them on the trip. We ask that you clear any special medical needs with the front office staff and Trip Leader prior to departure. We do not allow pregnant women to raft.
Do people fall out of the raft?
Due to the inherent risk of whitewater rafting, yes it is possible to fall out of the raft. In the event you do fall out of the raft, you should be comfortable in swift moving water and be able to assist with your own rescue. However we do strive to keep everyone in the raft. Each participant is required to sign a release of liability waiver.
Is whitewater rafting safe?
Cherokee Rafting has been providing whitewater rafting trips since 1978 with an excellent safety record. All of our guides go through an extensive training program and are also certified in CPR and First Aid. Several of our guides and all trip leaders have advanced certifications such as a Wilderness First Responder or Emergency Medical Technician certifications. We take every reasonable precaution to keep you safe but there are inherent risks when participating in an outdoor activity such as whitewater rafting which include rocks, uneven terrain, waves, holes, ledges, trees, etc. All participants are required to sign a release of liability waiver before their trip.
What size are your rafts and how many people fit in each one?
We use self-bailing rafts that are 13 to 14 feet in length and specifically designed for whitewater use. The rafts are designed for 7 to 8 rafters, but we generally fill them up with six rafting participants plus the guide. We cannot guarantee that you will be seated together unless you make your reservations together under one name. If your reservation is for more than 6 people, we will fill one raft and the rest will go into another raft unless space is available to split you differently.
What do I do with my personal belongings and keys while on the trip?
You will lock all personal belongings in your vehicle. You can check your car keys in the office while on your trip.
What to bring and wear?
Wear secure shoes for rafting (old sneakers, river sandals, water shoes (no flip flops), etc.) and bring swim suits, tee shirt and shorts, or other comfortable clothes to get wet in. Bring a towel, dry shoes and clothing for the trip home. A plastic bag is a good idea for wet clothes. For cooler months (April, May, Sept. & Oct.), we recommend that you don’t wear cotton. Synthetic fibers or clothing works best that time of the year.
Where do we change?
Our facilities include restrooms with hot showers and changing areas.
What gear does Cherokee Rafting supply?
We supply each guest with a helmet, paddle, and type V PFD (personal floatation device). Splash jackets are also available free of charge on cool days.
What happens if it rains?
You get wet! LOL…Just a little earlier than you thought. Keep in mind that we raft rain or shine. Whitewater rafting is one sport in which you can expect to get wet from start to finish. Typically, we won’t cancel your trip because of weather. Rainy days are actually quite beautiful in the Ocoee River gorge. We have been known to delay trips because of lightning or extremely severe weather, but very rarely do we ever have to cancel a trip because of bad weather.
Is it Ok to bring a cooler?
Nothing goes in the raft but you and your gear. Our rafts do not have enough space for guests plus drybags or personal items. However, whitewater rafting is a hungry kind of sport. You are welcome to bring some snacks or a picnic lunch. We have a multi-purpose building/pavilion available for dining, meetings, and social gatherings that you can use before or after your trip. FOR YOUR SAFETY AND OURS – No alcoholic beverages are allowed to be consumed before or during the trip.
How long is the trip?
The Middle and Upper Ocoee sections are both approximately five miles long and take about 1.5 to 2 hours to run. The Full River trip is approximately 10 miles long and takes about 4.5 to 5 hours to run, including your lunch time. You will receive instructions and river information during our trip talk and have some time to practice with your guide before you begin your trip. There is also a short ride to and from the river on our bus. For Middle and Upper river trips, plan to spend 3 to 3.5 hours total with us. For Full River trips, plan to spend 6 to 6.5 hours with us.
Should I tip my guide?
Our guides are paid by the trip. You are not required to tip your guide, however, if you thoroughly enjoyed your experience and want to express you appreciation to your guide, gratuities are genuinely appreciated. You may want to consider bringing a little extra cash just in case. For Middle Ocoee trips, typical amounts are $5 per person or $20 to $30 per boat. On Full River combos, typical amounts are $10 per person or $40 to $60 per boat. The amount you are comfortable with giving is certainly up to you.
How are the rapids rated?
Rapids are rated on difficulty scale between I & VI. Class I rapids are the easiest, and class VI rapids are the most difficult. The ratings scale indicates the difficulty and danger level. We hope you will rate your river trip a perfect 10 on the fun and excitement scale. The Ocoee River is rated as a class III & IV whitewater river and remains one of the most exciting and fun trips available in the United States.
Here’s an example of the National Whitewater Rapid Rating System:
- CLASS I – easy float, flat water
- CLASS II – novice; wide, clear passages
- CLASS III – intermediate; difficult waves, narrow technical passages
- CLASS IV – challenging, with intense, powerful rapids
- CLASS V – expert; complex and demanding, large drops
- CLASS VI – rarely run, dangerous and hazardous to life
What is a cap day?
On certain days during the summer, usually in July and August, the State of Tennessee limits the number of guests an outfitter can take on the Ocoee River. This helps prevent overcrowding. When this number has been reached the outfitter has reached “capacity”. Advanced reservations are advised if your group has chosen a cap day.
Can I request a guide?
Of course! Some folks return year after year to ride with their favorite guide. If you have been with us before and enjoyed your guide…just ask for them. We will do our best to honor your request.
Do you all take photos during the trip?
Yes. Photos are taken by a separate company called Digital Ocoee. Photos for all trips will be available at the outpost immediately after your trip. You can purchase individual 4×6 or 8×10 prints or all of the pics of your raft on CD. The copyright is released on CD purchases only.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?
Here are some helpful links and documents you can check out or print to help you prepare for your trip. If you have any questions at all, feel free to email or call us. We’re here to ensure you have the best trip possible.