The Ocoee Whitewater Center serves as the official visitation site for folks travelling to the Ocoee River Gorge. The Ocoee Whitewater Center is a multi purpose facility that commemorates the 1996 Olympic Canoe and Kayak Slalom events that were held at the center. Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting enthusiasts and and curious travellers alike will enjoy the brief respite that a visit to the Ocoee Whitewater Center affords. One of the neat things a group can do (that is also very inexpensive) is visit the Ocoee Whitewater Center and enjoy the natural swimming holes that are created when the water is being diverted from the riverbed and the current is gone. Caution should always be used as this is far different than swimming in a pool and the rocks are naturally slippery. Many people have never had a “swimming hole” experience and tend to enjoy it greatly. Further information can be found by visiting the Ocoee Whitewater Centers web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/ocoee/recreation.shtml
This is an excellent web site that covers the recreational opportunities that the Ocoee Whitewater Center offers. Sunburst Adventures highly reccomends that you include a visit to the Ocoee Whitewater Center in your trip to the Ocoee River area. The following quotes are from the Ocoee Whitewater Center’s official website.
“Fun Things To Do….
•Hike or bike historic or forest trails
•Play in the water
•Picnic along the river
•Native Garden and geology tours
•Nature-oriented gift shop
•Relax and rock a while
Relaxing..Stroll along the walkways, view native and medicinal plants and the Olympic spirit garden. Slip into clear, calm pools of water formed by the rocks in the channel. Spread a picnic on a table under the cool shade trees on the river, or just enjoy the view from the rocking chairs on our back deck.
Water-Based Recreation..The Ocoee Whitewater Center offers a variety of water-based recreational opportunites. There are also 24 commercial rafting companies who use the Ocoee River for their adventure raft trips. Because the Ocoee is a dam-controlled river, unscheduled water releases cause swift-moving, extremely high water with dangerous currents and rapids. Visitors should always be on the alert for possible water releases and vacate the river should they occur.
Mountain Biking or Hiking..The Tanasi Trail System is part of the Ocoee Whitewater Center (OWC) in the Cherokee National Forest, offering approximately 30 miles of hiking and biking opportunities and is open seven days each week year-round. Fifteen trails, ranging from easy to difficult, are marked to correlate with the color coded map that may be picked up at the visitor desk. Or if you choose, you can take a hike with history; hike or bike the easy 2.4 mile restored segment of the Old Copper Road Trail, once used to haul ore from Copper Basin to Cleveland, TN.
Developed Campgrounds..Thunder Rock Campground – open year-round, is located one mile west of the Ocoee Whitewater Center at Ocoee Powerhouse #3. Facilities include showers, flush toilets, picnic tables, and 42 campsites. An easy one-mile bike path, situated between double guardrails along U.S. Hwy 64 links the campground area to the OWC site. Below you will find a link to information about Thunder Rock and other campground’s closest to the Ocoee Whitewater Center. “
The Ocoee Whitewater Center (OWC) site was constructed for the purpose of holding the 1996 Olympic Canoe and Kayak Slalom competitions. This was the first time these events were held on a natural river and it was appropriate the Ocoee should be chosen as the site as it was already one of the most popular whitewater rivers in the world. Constructed using 60,000 tons of native rock, individually placed and cemented into position along the banks of the river, the riverbed itself was narrowed to create the spectacular rapids necessary for the competition. Those same rapids are the draw for the thousands of people who come each year to raft or to test their kayaking skills on the Olympic course.
Since the Olympic events, the Ocoee Whitewater Center has evolved into a highly visible and much used venue. Touted by athletes as having the best whitewater course in the world, the OWC hosts both national and international whitewater competitions on the 500-meter course. As part of the National Forest system, the Ocoee Whitewater Center is managed by the Forest Service as a multiple use recreational and educational complex. “