Frequently Asked Questions about Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting
Do you need previous whitewater experience?
- One of the great things about the Ocoee River is that there is no experience necessary! There will be a trained guide in each raft, and we think we have some great guides. After the trip you will too.
Is there an age limit to raft on the Ocoee River?
- Yes. The Tennessee State Parks Department requires that to raft on the Ocoee River you must be at least 12 years of age.
How long is the whitewater rafting trip?
- Middle Ocoee River: This section is America’s most popular whitewater river. It is famous for 5 miles of continuous class III and IV rapids. The Middle Ocoee River has over 20 rapids and Grumpy’s, Double Trouble and Table Saw are just a few of them. Approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours is the time you will spend on the water. Total time with us would be ½ hour before the trip for check-in and about a 10 minute bus ride to the river put-in, the water time of about 1 ½ to 2 hours and about a 20 minute bus ride back to the outpost, this should all be around 3 to 3 ½ hours.
Upper Ocoee River: This section is known for being the 1996 Olympic site for the kayak competition. It is about a 4 mile section of class III and IV rapids and pristine whitewater wilderness. Water time on the Upper Ocoee River is about 1 ½ hours. The total trip time is about the same as the middle. This is a great section of the Ocoee River, but we have found that running the full river trip which is a trip down the Upper and the Middle Ocoee seem to compliment each other very well. The Full River Trip is becoming a favorite for many. It is a day of fun-filled, action-packed adventure.
How long is the bus ride to the Ocoee River put-in?
- Ocoee Rafting outpost is only about 5 miles to the river, which is an advantage for us because our customers only have to ride the bus a short distance to the river and back. We are on the upper end of the river rather than the far lower end, that’s why we have a shorter bus ride. We are only about 2 miles from where the Cherokee National Forest begins and from there it is only mountains and river for about 20 miles. The bus ride is just a short part of your overall trip.
What should I bring and wear?
- For warm weather: Bathing suits or quick dry shorts and a T-shirt. You will need shoes that will secure on your feet such as old tennis shoes, strap on sandals, or water shoes.
For cool weather: Wool socks and synthetic clothing such as micro fleece and old tennis shoes. Do not wear jeans, sweats or any cotton items. We have splash jackets available for rainy or cold weather. We also have newly remodeled showers and changing facilities for your convenience after the trip. You will need to bring a towel, shower items, a change of clothes and a plastic bag for wet clothes.
What happens if it rains?
- You are going to get wet anyway so you’ll never know the difference! In the outdoor adventure business it would be hard to do business according to the weather, so we do run our trips RAIN OR SHINE. Whitewater rafting is one of those sports where you are going to be wet from about the time you get on the river until the time you get off, but you’ll be having so much fun you probably won’t even notice. We do have splash jackets available for cool, rainy days.
When is the best time to go rafting?
- Anytime the river runs will be fun, but there are better times than others. The best time to go rafting is through the week in June, July and August or on weekends in the Spring and Fall. Saturdays of course are sometimes more convenient for many but Saturdays in July and August are the busiest days of the season and most of these days it is very crowded on the river. Being crowded does not mean you won’t have a good trip, it just means you will probably have a longer wait to put on the river and the guides may not get to play on the rapids as much due to heavy traffic of other rafts. If possible to raft on other days rather than the busiest days of the season, it is best, but any day you raft we will do our best to make sure you have a great whitewater rafting experience.
Is whitewater rafting safe?
- The Ocoee Rafting staff will do everything possible to provide you with a trouble free river experience. The safety of our guest is the foremost concern of our staff. The sport of whitewater rafting has inherent risks that are beyond human control and must be assumed by the participant. All participants are required to sign a waiver of liability/assumption of risk document. All participants will be provided with a lifejacket and helmet and a safety briefing will be given before the trip. We want everyone to be comfortable and to have a safe, fun experience.
Will there be photos taken?
- Yes! We have found that photos are an important part of most everyone’s whitewater rafting adventure. You’ll have so much fun we’re sure you will want to capture a memory of it. Photos are taken of each raft on each trip and are available for you to view when you get back to the outpost after your trip.
What time should I arrive for my trip?
- Our check-in time is the trip time, there is no need to be at our outpost until your trip time. We check in for 20 to 30 minutes depending on how large the trip is. If you arrive at the trip time, you will still have enough time to check-in and then get to the restrooms and changing room before the trip begins getting equipment and a saftey briefing. It usually takes another 20 to 30 minutes to get equipment and get a safety briefing. Total time before the bus takes off is usually about 45 minutes from your trip time. It is not recommended that you arrive any earlier than your scheduled trip time in order to prevent long wait periods.
How will we be seated in rafts?
- We have 6 man rafts and we fill our rafts as needed. We do not guarantee that you be seated together unless you make a reservation together under one name and pay with one credit card. If your reservation is for more than 6 people, we fill one raft and the rest will go in another raft. Due to the nature of this business we do have to fill our rafts if we can and we do not guarantee seating arrangements unless you have booked together. We will not break up a group of 6 people if they have booked together under one name. If a party of two makes a reservation and wants to be seated with another party of two that has made a separate reservation, we will not seat these parties together.