While Tennessee whitewater rafting along the Ocoee River is exciting, its surrounding environment is more rewarding when explored out of the water. The Ocoee River is surrounded by an abundance of breathtaking National forestlands making the area a hikers paradise. There are more than five National Parks and Forests within a short distance of the Ocoee River.
Cherokee National Forest, located in Eastern Tennessee, stretches from Chattanooga to Bristol, making up most of the North Carolina boarder. The Cherokee National Forest, 640,000 acres of forestland, features 150 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Ocoee River, Citico Creek Wilderness, and Big Frog Mountain. This woodland is home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animals. Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest is visited by millions of outdoor enthusiasts each year.
Northeast of the Ocoee River is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers numerous hiking trails of varying difficulty. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in the United States. Made up of more than 800 square miles, the park is considered to be one of the largest protected areas in the southeast. The park features a powerful 80-foot waterfall that can be viewed along the Laurel Falls Trail. There are about 850 miles of trails located throughout the park offering varying challenges to hikers.
The Nantahala National Forest to the east also makes for spectacular scenic hiking. This National Forest is located among the mountains and valleys of southwestern North Carolina. Visitors to the Nantahala National Forest enjoy many outdoor recreational activities including mountain biking and hiking among the 600 miles of trail. The Nantahala National Forest features three long-distance trails: The Appalachian, Bartram, and Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
The Appalachian Trail also makes a lingering appearance in the southeast as it follows the crest of the Appalachian Mountains that extends from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The Appalachian Trail runs just east of the Ocoee River, and is a one-of-a-kind hiking experience.
While Tennessee whitewater rafting is the main attraction, many families enjoy spending a few extra days in the area exploring the woodlands firsthand. Sunburst Adventures offers Tennessee lodging on the property for visitors interested in a weekend stay on the Ocoee River.