Questions And Answers About Ocoee River And River Features
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Questions And Answers About Ocoee River And Features

Fast Fred Rafts

Questions And Answers About The Ocoee River and River Features

Where is the Ocoee River Located?

The Ocoee River is located in Southeastern Tennessee near the Georgia state-line. Copper Hill Tennessee

Where does the Ocoee River begin?

State line bridge crossing Toccoa/Ocoee River

Which parts of the Ocoee River have commercially run whitewater rapids?

The Middle and Upper sections of the Ocoee River are run commercially. The Middle Ocoee is class III in nature. While the Upper Ocoee is class IV in nature. The Upper Ocoee also contains a re-engineered channel used for the 1996 Olympic whitewater slalom events.

Is the Ocoee River man made?

The Ocoee River is ancient. While the Ocoee River was harnessed for electric power production over a century ago it is a naturally formed river. Only a quarter mile section was channelized and engineered for the 1996 Olympics. TVA narrowed the channel and added and enhanced some features for the games. This section is largely devoid of foot entrapment hazards as rocks were removed and concrete was used to fill sieves and undercuts. However the the remaining 9.75 miles are natural and do have natural hazards.

Is there a good Ocoee River guidebook for future guides and private boaters?

Yes, check out the Ocoee River Guidebook & Rapids Guide if you want the most detailed guidebook with video clips showing the lines and features in detail. This guidebook covers the Middle and Upper Ocoee sections. Best of all this guidebook is free. However donations for future improvements are greatly appreciated.

Which is better the Upper or Middle Ocoee?

The Upper Ocoee has big class IV rapids while Middle Ocoee is class III with more rapids. The best choice is the Full River trip that includes both. Just be sure you are prepared and fit enough for the demanding class IV.

How does the river grading system work?

The classes designate the difficulty and danger of the rivers rated.

Class I – Moving water with little or no obstructions. An example of this would be Town Tuck in Bryson City.

Class II - Easy rapids with clear routes obvious without scouting. Some maneuvering might be required. The Hiawassee River is a good example of a nearby class II river.

Class III - Rapids with high, irregular waves. Narrow passages that often require technical and precise maneuvering. The Middle section of the Ocoee River is prime example of a class III river and normal levels.

Class IV - Long difficult rapids with constricted passages that over require technical maneuvering in turbulent water. Route may be difficult too determine. Scouting is often required. The Upper section of the Ocoee River is an example of a class IV river.

Class V – Extremely difficult, long, and violent rapids with highly congested routes. Class V rapids should be scouted. Rescue conditions are difficult. There is a significant hazard to life when incidents occur. The Narrows section of the Green River is a classic class V creek that run on average over 200 days/year.

Class VI – Exploratory only ran but a few experts. Experts are constant seeking first descents around the world and challenging the limits of the sport. These new rivers will receive rating if they become popular and get a few thousand runs.

Does the Ocoee River have Class 5 rapids?

No the Ocoee does not have class V rapids! The Upper Ocoee has a few class IV rapids names Mikey's, Blue Hole, The Olympic Channel, and Roach Motel. The Middle Ocoee is a class III river with two benchmark class III+ rapids named Broken Nose and Table Saw.

Can you swim in the Ocoee River?

Yes, there are designated areas to swim on commercial trips. Your guide will let your know where it is okay to swim. Private boaters also enjoy swimming at the base of Cat's Pajamas. Where they perform human mystery moves.

What's an eddy line?

The eddy line is the dividing line or point between upstream and downstream currents.

What's a pour over?

A large rock that creates a powerful hydraulic as water flows over it. Similar to a ledge hole but generally smaller but really sticky.

What's a wave train?

The strong current often seen with rolling waves. Wave trains are often seen at the bottom of rapids where most of the current is located.

What's a tongue?

Is where there is green water and more flow. Often seen by downward pointing V.

What's a ledge hole?

A ledge in the riverbed can create a powerful hydraulic. A famous one on the Ocoee River is Humongous in the Olympic Course. This one does give rafts problems at times.

Why is it important to paddle into waves or holes?

The mass of the raft and all it occupants times the rafts velocity must exceed the mass and velocity of the way the raft is meeting. Otherwise surfs, flips, and dump trucks may occur.

M x V = M x V

Why do rafts flip?

Physics is the short answer. See the above equation. Other issues could result from bad angles or vectors. Sideways rafts flip easier than lengthwise.

What is foot entrapment?

Foot entrapment occurs when some foolishly attempts to stand in swift moving current. Foot entrapment is very dangerous and can result in injuries or death by drowning.

How does a raft surf?

Holes and hydraulics cause upstream currents.... link to video about double suck

Where should I stay when rafting the Ocoee River?

Cabin rentals - Blue Ridge Georgia and the surrounding area has many cabin rentals to fit anyone's needs.

Hotels - Ducktown Copper Inn has a great location just upstream to the sections of the Ocoee River that are rafted. Book early this hotel often sells out.

Campgrounds - Thunder Rock Campground and Persimmon Creek Campground. If you plan to drink a private campground like Persimmon Creek Campground is recommended. Alcohol is prohibited in our State Park Campgrounds.

Where can I eat near the Ocoee River?

  • Kat's Deli
  • Mexico Loco
  • El Rio Mexican Restaurant
  • Kenny's Pizza & Subs
  • Rum Cake Lady Cuban Cafe

Are there craft beer breweries near the Ocoee River?

  • Buck Bald Brewing
  • Copperhill Brewery
  • Angry Hops Brewing

How long does it take to raft the Ocoee River?

The Middle Ocoee River can easily be rafted in under one hour. Many of the discount outfitters or groupon trips are fast with no frills, river play, or surfing. You get what you pay for so choose wisely. Typical trips with my outfitter last longer as we stop to play and surf trying to give you the best experience.

How long does it take to kayak the Ocoee River?

A sprint down the river can be completed in about 30 minutes if you are really good and fit. However a playboat run could take all day if you desire to play and surf a lot.

Who named the rapids? And/or How did they get their names?

According to Judy Norton many of the Ocoee Middle rapids were named by Gary Harper. He was one of the very first guides on the Ocoee river.

Rick Covington names Mikey's and Roach Motel on the Upper Ocoee.

Kayakers and squirt boaters have named many more features on the river beyond rapids. You will here these features named in some of my rafting videos.

What caused the fire at the Ocoee Whitewater Center?

As recently as December 2022 nearly 8 months of the fire the ATF says a cause has not yet been determined. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, is leading the investigation. The investigation continues.

The first was discovered in the early morning hours of April 26, 2022. "A passerby called in and saw the Ocoee Whitewater Center was on fire and of course units responded immediately," said Sheriff Ross. The fire caused the total loss of the Whitewater Center.

What movie was filmed on the Ocoee River?

The river scenes of Blood Money were filmed on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. However much of the movie was also shot at Deception Pass Bridge, Whidbey Island, Washingtonand Savannah, Georgia, USA. Currently the movie is available on Amazon Prime Video for those interested. Blood Money 2017 R 1h 40m.

Fast Fred Ruddock in Ecuador overlooking Otavalo

Got Questions About Ocoee River Rafting Or This Blog Article?

I am Fast Fred Ruddock and I would be happy to give you honest answers to your questions about rafting or the Ocoee River. You may email me directly with your questions for concerns at fastfredruddock@gmail.com and if you would like to come rafting with me be sure to check out Fast Fred Rafts for the latest details.


I began rafting when I was young during the 1970 with my family. We had several of our own rafts between my parents, grand parents, aunts, and uncles. My family loved playing in the water; I grew up rafting, sailing, and surfing. As I grew older and technology improved I began to get serious about kayaking and creek boating as well. I became an ACA certified kayak instructor and have shared the sport with countless others over the years. Living along the banks of the Green River in North Carolina I have access to some of the best world class rapids to hone my skills.

During my long off-season from rafting I primarily travel solo through Latin America. Ecuador is likely my favorite country to visit but I also enjoy Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. Working as a river guide in the southeast during summers in North America I don't earn a lot of money and live close to the federal poverty level. In spite of this I live a rich life on a frugal budget. If you would like to learn more about traveling in Latin America or maybe some frugal travel tips visit Fast Fred Travels.



Curious about how I can travel so light or what I use on the river? Want to know more about the gear I carry abroad on my extend trips in Latin America or while rafting and kayaking? Here's your chance to dig into my Amazon shop for an inside look. If you make purchases via this shop I will get a very small commission but it will not increase your price what so ever.