Outdoor Recreation in the Ocoee Area

Rafting & River Sports    Fishing, Boating, Lakes & Rivers    Hiking & Biking  Horseback Riding   Picnic Areas   Scenic Train Rides   National Forests


Rafting and River Sports

Kayaking on the Ocoee
Rafting on the Ocoee
Tubing on the Toccoa

The Ocoee River, America's only Olympic River, begins in Copperhill/McCaysville where a simple name change at the Georgia/Tennessee state line divides it from the Toccoa River. The Ocoee River runs northwest out of the Copper Basin Area to the Tennessee River. It is one of the South's most popular whitewater rivers. Class III and IV rapids make it one of the nation's most challenging stretches of water. Anyone over the age of 12 can enjoy the rapids of the Ocoee on guided raft trips offered by professional outfitters. These guided trips are available weekends April through October and weekdays June through August. The Ocoee River is also open to individuals for tubing, kayaking, and canoeing. Please be aware of the dangerous rapids and use the buddy system.

The Ocoee river is separated into three parts. The Upper Ocoee, site of the 1996 Olympic course; the Middle Ocoee, with commercial rafting since 1976; and The Lower Ocoee (below Parksville Dam), great for lazy tube floats, swimming or boating. The Ocoee Whitewater Center, located on Highway 64 along side the Ocoee River, includes the Olympic race channel, a native plant garden, paved walkways on both sides of the river, pools of water perfect for wading and feeding fish, a visitor & information center & a gift shop. Numerous hiking & biking trails leave from the whitewater center.  Ocoee Whitewater Center  or call 423-496-5197.

Ocoee Whitewater Center - Rocks
Ocoee Whitewater Center - Building
Ocoee Whitewater Center - Bridge


Rafting Companies

Ocoee Adventure Center
Highway 64, 3 miles West of Ducktown. 888-RAFT-OAC or 423-496-4437
Ocoee Whitewater Rafting, Mountain Biking and Kayak Instruction

Rolling Thunder River Company
20 Hughes Street, McCaysville, GA 30555, (800) 408-7238
Canoe Trips and Tube Trips for younger children on the gentle Toccoa River, in addition to Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting

Toccoa River Adventures
Toccoa Avenue, McCaysville, GA. (706) 492-5280
Kayaking, Tubing, Canoe Rentals. Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Family Owned and Operated. Fun for adults and children on all ages!

Wildwater Ltd. Rafting
US 64, 3 miles West of Ducktown. 800-451-9971 or 423-496-4904

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The International Scale of River Difficulty:

  • Class I - Easy
    Fast moving water with small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious & easily missed with little training.

  • Class II - Novice
    Easy rapids with obvious wide, clear channels. Occasional maneuvering required, but rocks & waves are easily missed by trained paddlers.

  • Class III - Intermediate
    Rapids with moderate, irregular waves; may be difficult to avoid, can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current & good boat control in tight passages or around ledges required; large waves are present but easily avoided. Strong eddies & powerful current effects.

  • Class IV - Advanced
    Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. May be large, unavoidable waves & holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn needed for maneuvers. Rapids require must moves above dangerous hazards.

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    Fishing, Boating; Lakes & Rivers

    Fly-Fishing
    Lake  Ocoee
    Go Forth Creek

    If you are planning a weekend fishing excursion, the Ocoee Region has many area lakes and rivers which offer a wide variety of fish to catch including crappie, bluegill, white bass, catfish, yellow bass, yellow perch and pickerel. Fishing is excellent year round with spring and summer the most popular, but more and more fishermen are finding out how good fishing can be in the cooler months as well.

    There are numerous trout streams available for fishing in the Cherokee National Forest. The Hiwassee River is regularly stocked with trout on a put and take situation. A portion of the Hiwassee River from the L&N Bridge near Reliance, TN to the Big Bend parking area has been designated for Trophy Trout Fishing. Fightingtown Creek, thru the Chattahoochee National Forest, is a world class fishing stream.

    Fishing for both native and stocked trout is also available in a variety of local streams and rivers including Jack's River, Conasauga River, Toccoa River, Fightingtown Creek and the Mulky Recreation Area. Other spots include Lake Blue Ridge and the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery. The Hatchery is located 20 miles south of Morganton, GA; off Georgia Highway 60. The U.S. Forest Service provides boat ramps that are located at Lake Wood off old U.S. 76; at Morganton Point, off Highway 60 and at the Blue Ridge Recreation Area off Dry Branch Road.

    The U.S. Forest Service offers fishing at Deep Hole, Mulkey Creek, Coopers Creek, and Rock Creek. Handicap access is available at Deep Hole. For information contact the U.S. Forest Service at 706-632-3031 in Blue Ridge.

    • License required for those 13 and older
    • Trout stamp required for trout fishing
    • Special regulations in some areas
    • Area has both stocked and wild lakes, rivers and streams

    Lake Blue Ridge Hosts a variety of recreational, educational and scenic opportunities. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest, this 3,290 acre lake extends up the Toccoa River providing power,flood control, navigation and recreation for thousands of people. Some of the activities surrounding the lake are boating; fishing; water skiing; sailing; swimming; camping, and spectacular scenic views. Both warm and cold water fish are found in Lake Blue Ridge. Bass, crappie, sunfish, walleye, trout, and catfish are abundant. Take old U.S. 76 east for 1.5 miles to Dry Branch Road. Turn right, go three miles to entrance sign. 706-632-3031.

    Toccoa/Ocoee River The whitewater rapids of this world famous river have formed a beautiful passage through Fannin County, Georgia and Polk County, Tennessee forming the Copper Basin region. The name changes at the state line, but the river remains beautiful, enchanting, and exciting in both states and under both names. For less adventurous families, or those with children under age 12, a trip down the Toccoa River in an inner tube is the suggested mode of travel. Various outfitters along the river will provide inner tubes for individuals and groups. Further downstream, the river becomes a bit more exciting with the Class Three & Four rapids of the Ocoee River. Contact the U.S. Forest Service at 706-632-3031 or the Chamber of Commerce at 706-632-5680 or 800-899-MTNS.

    The Conasauga River is Located in the Cohutta National Wilderness and can only be accessed by foot. This river is known to be one of the best trout fishing rivers in Georgia.

    The Jacks River is also Located in the Cohutta National Wilderness. It too can only accessed by foot and is well known for its excellent trout fishing. Contact the U.S. Forest Service at 706-632-3031

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    National Forest and Wilderness Areas

    Cherokee National Forest

    With 652,000 acres of unspoiled natural beauty, the Cherokee National Forest offers dozens of exciting and relaxing recreational opportunities. Among the many activities enjoyed by thousands each year are camping, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, picnicking, hunting, fishing, swimming and boating on Parksville Lake.

    The Cherokee National Forest's Scenic Byway, Route 64, was the first scenic byway designated in the nation. It's 26 mile length winds along Parksville Lake and the Ocoee River, up to the Chilhowee Campground on Forest Service Road #77. The highway passes though scenic areas dominated by rock bluffs, mountain peaks and historic sites such as the Ocoee Flume Line and Powerhouses, Confederate Camp and Old Copper Road. The panoramic views from the Chilhowee Overlooks and Boyd Gap are favorites of photographers. Picnic areas can be found at several spots along the drive. For more information contact the Ocoee Ranger District at 423-338-5201.

    The Chilowee Recreation Area, in the Ocoee Ranger District, offers nature lovers & photographers good birding during spring and fall migration and summer breeding season. Raccoon, opossum, fox, wild hog, deer, wild turkey, bear, rabbit, squirrel, and mice all make their homes here & can often be spotted while hiking.

    The Cherokee National Forest - Ocoee Ranger Station is located on Highway 64 just east of Ocoee, TN. Maps of the Forest and trail information are available.

    Mac Point Swimming Area Ocoee ranger station

    Cohutta National Wilderness Area

    Die-hard nature lovers will enjoy the 34,100 acres of national forest in the Cohutta Wilderness Area. Located in northwest Georgia and southeast Tennessee, the area contains the rugged southern end of the Appalachian Mountain Chain. Two of the best wild trout streams in Georgia, the Conasauga and Jacks River, are within the wilderness boundary. Bear, feral hogs and white-tailed deer are a few of the wildlife species occupying the isolated mountain coves and forested ridge tops. To preserve the wilderness isolation, access to the interior is by footpath only. It is an ideal place for backpackers and outdoorsmen

    Chattahoochee National Forest

    The Chattahoochee National Forest contains 750,000 acres of public land. Of this, 113, 000 acres are designated as wilderness. Primitive camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting are permitted in the wilderness, but mountain bikes are not. The forest offers several hundred developed campsites, picnic areas, hiking trails, scenic rivers, and swimming beaches. The Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hachery is open from 7:30 am to 4 pm daily.

    Rock Creek LakeThis 6 acres public lake is located 1.5 miles above the Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery. It offers trout fishing and primative camping. (Please note that fisherman are not required to have an "A" stamp to fish on Rock Creek Lake.)

    Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area consists of 42,000 acres of National Forest timberland located on the Blue Ridge Mountain Divide in parts of Fannin, Lumbkin, Dawson, and Union Counties. Deer and turkey are present and the area offers small game hunting for grouse and squirrel.

    Rich Mountain Wildlife Management Area Portions of this 45,000-acre area lie in Fannin County; hunting is regulated by the state of Georgia.

    The Chattahoochee National Forest Ranger Office is located on the Appalachian Highway in Blue Ridge, GA. Maps of the forest are available and specific trail information can be provided.

    Nantahala National Forest

    This beautiful, pristine forest comprises a third of the total land mass within Cherokee County. Portions of the national forest are set aside for camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, and various other recreational purposes. For further information contact the local U.S. Forest Service district office (Tusquitee) in Murphy 704-837-5152.

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    Horseback Riding

    Horseback Riding

    Picture yourself atop a magnificent animal as you take in an amazing view of the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Trotting down a shaded forest trail lined with mountain laurel in bloom. Many local outfitters offer scenic trail rides with experienced guides and gentle well mannered horses.

    Blanche Manor
    181 Deal Hollow Road, Copperhill, TN - 423-496-1060
    Mountain Horseback Riding. Whether you're young and inexperienced or a seasoned rider, you'll find just the horse for you. Also available are evening group hayrides followed by a fireside dinner. Coming soon - Catered lunches on our new terrace over-looking 3 states.

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    Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

    Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Train

    Ride in an air-conditioned coach or open-air car! The trip is diesel powered, and will include a concession car where snacks, drinks and souvenirs may be purchased. Restrooms are available on closed coach cars. This 26 mile trip parallels the beautiful Toccoa River and passes through historic Murphy Junction. The Trip Schedule varies throughout the year and can be viewed by clicking here. The train originates in Blue Ridge, GA at 241 Depot Street and stops in McCaysville, GA /Copperhill,TN for 2 hours, allowing you time to explore, shop or enjoy lunch before the return leg of the trip. The round trip takes approximately 4 hours. Reservations recommended. Visit Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to order tickets. Or Call: 1-800-934-1898 or 1-706-632-9833


    Hiawassee River Rail Adventure
    423-894-8028
    The Tennessee Valley Railroad operates the Hiawassee River Rail Adventure, with trips embarking from the Etowah Station in Tennessee. Book a trip today to ride through the Lower Hiawassee River Gorge and transit the famous "Hiawassee Loop." Copperhill Special trains feature a layover in the Copper Basin. Reservations recommended. Call or click on the link above for schedule information.


    Hiking and Mountain Biking

    Mountain Biking Hiking

    Aska Trails Area  - The 17-mile blazed mountain bike trail can be used by beginners and also offers sections for the expert rider. A brochure is available from the U.S. Forest Service at 706-632-3031. Additionally, all weather dirt gravel forest service roads are available for mountain bike riders. These trails are not blazed or designated, so a forest service map would be helpful. Contact the U.S. Forest Service at 706-632-3031 for maps.

    There are a number of mountain biking trails which leave from the Ocoee Whitewater Center located on Highway 64 in the Cherokee National Forest. Information on these trails can be obtained at the Ocoee Whitewater Center  or by calling (423) 496-5197.

    A number of rafting companies now offer mountain bike rentals and escorted mountain biking adventures. Check with the individual outfitters listed on our rafting section for details.

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    Picnic Areas

    McCaysville City Park Parksville Picnic Area Horseshoe Bend Park

    Blue Ridge City Park - Located near downtown Blue Ridge, the park is open daily from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. The park is equipped with tennis courts, softball and baseball fields, a swimming pool and a basketball court. To reserve the ball fields ot for information call 706-632-2815 or 706-632-2091.

    Blue Ridge Downtown Park - This park has a grandstand for dancing groups and bands, a gazebo, a new playground, park benches, picnic sites and grills. The park is open from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m., Sunday through Saturday and is operated by the city of Blue Ridge. For more information, call the Blue Ridge City Hall at 706-632-2091.

    McCaysville City Park - Located in downtown McCaysville along the banks of the Toccoa River. The park is operated by the city of McCaysville and is open daily from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. The park is equipped with restroom facilities, a playground, a fishing dock, a covered pavilion with grills, and a boat ramp. The pavilions are available free of charge, reservations can be made by calling 706-492-4921.

    Horseshoe Bend River Park - Located on Horseshoe Bend Road just north of McCaysville. Nestled in a wooded setting along a beautiful bend in the Toccoa River, Horseshoe Bend Park is equipped with playground areas, benches along the river, two picnic shelters for large gatherings, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, grills, hiking areas, fishing, and adequate restroom facilities. The park is designed to accommodate group gatherings, family reunions, church groups, birthday parties, company get-togethers, and much more. For reservations or other information call 706-632-7696.

    Curtis Switch Canoe - Four acres with picnicking and gravel parking. For more information, call the U.S. Forest Service Office at 706-632-3031.

    Epworth Park - Semi - Public park with three picnic tables and a fenced ball field on school property.


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    This Page Last Updated - September 4th,2014
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