The Ocoee is Southeast Tennessee’s iconic whitewater river and provides recreational opportunities for paddlers of all skill levels. The river is dam controlled at 3 levels creating 3 sections – the upper, middle and lower, each offering very different paddling options. The Ocoee begins as a Class III-IV whitewater river, providing an exhilarating adrenaline rush for rafters and skilled kayakers. As it travels toward Parksville lake, the river calms and becomes the perfect venue for lazy afternoon flatwater paddling or tubing trips. There are 22 commercial rafting outfitters serving an average of 250,000 annual visitors brave enough to take on the Class III-IV rapids of the middle and upper sections of the Ocoee. Are you one of them?
The Upper Ocoee River provides 5 miles of challenging whitewater in a spectacular mountain setting. Considered by many to be the birthplace of freestyle kayaking, the Ocoee was world famous before it hosted the 1996 Olympics’ whitewater events. The Upper Ocoee includes the Class IV Olympic course, and should only be attempted by the most experienced paddlers or with a commercial rafting outfitter.
The Middle Ocoee is the most popular section of the river and run of choice for thousands of rafters and kayakers each year. This section boasts 5 miles of nearly continuous Class III-IV whitewater including several surf-worthy hydraulics and kayak play spots like Washing Machine, Double Suck, Flipper and Hell’s Hole.
After the whitewater spills into Parksville Lake, the river calms, rolling quietly through the pasturelands of the Appalachian foothills. Several Ocoee rafting outfitters provide tubes for flatwater tubing trips on this section of the river. For those with their own tubes, canoes, kayaks or paddle boards, there are several options to take out below the Sugarloaf Recreation Area (Ocoee Dam #1) at public and private launches and campgrounds.
NOTE: The Ocoee River is dam controlled. Be sure to check the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Ocoee Dam #1 recreational release schedule before scheduling your lower Ocoee tubing trip. No release = no water.
Upper and Middle Ocoee
Hours and Cost
Open Daily: Sunrise to Sunset
Cost: Free for individual/private boaters. Guiding services vary-contact companies directly for costs.
Yes, on leash
3171 Highway 64
Benton, TN 37307