Scenic USA - Tennessee

Ocoee Whitewater

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Ocoee Whitewater - Ducktown, Tennessee

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   As the northern running Toccoa River crosses the Georgia-Tennessee border and passes through the side-by-side towns of McCaysville and Copperhill, it continues on as the Ocoee River. Here the river turns westward and begins to pick up speed. Ocoee Whitewater Center Nearby Benton, Tennessee, U.S. Route 64 follows this dramatic section of the river. Site of the 1996 Olympic Canoe and Kayak Competition, the Upper and Middle Ocoee Rapids thrill whitewater enthusiasts with Class III and IV rapids. Water releases guarantee whitewater excitement during the weekends from May through September. Coupled together, the Upper and Middle river runs will provide four to five hours of heart-pounding adventure on a raging river.
   Although U. S. Route 64 turns into a tight two lane highway, pullouts are spaced out along the riverside, offering spectators plenty of viewpoints. The Ocoee Whitewater Center, with its rustic architecture, winding pathways, suspended footbridge and river views, make for an excellent sightseeing stop. Here the Olympic athletes are honored with a highway of flags. Ocoee Whitewater Rafters For those that enjoy the terra-firma, the 30 mile the Tanasi Trail System offers hikers and bikers some of the best that the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer.
   Prior to the Olympic competition, two years of extensive planning enhanced this section of Ocoee River. The river was cleaned of debris down to the bedrock. Over 45,000 tons of boulders were placed in the channel, blending in with the existing river bed. Normally most of the water is diverted into a tunnel to provide hydroelectric power, creating the perfect opportunity to set up the whitewater center and a supreme challenge for some of the world's best paddlers.

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