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Ocoee River

Class III-IV

The Ocoee River is the Southeast’s iconic whitewater stream, providing 10 miles of seriously challenging whitewater in a spectacular mountain setting.

Tablesaw Rapid – Photo: Brad Sisco – American Whitewater

Considered by many to be the birthplace of freestyle whitewater kayaking, the Ocoee was world famous before it hosted the 1996 Olympics’ whitewater events. 

Mikey’s Ledge – Photo: Rob Murphy – American Whitewater

The Class IV Upper Ocoee section includes the Olympic whitewater course, and should only be attempted by the most experienced paddlers. Some rapids even thrashed Olympians.

American Whitewater Upper Ocoee Page

(Ocoee Dam #3 to Dam #2)

Hell’s Hole – Photo: Daniele George – American Whitewater

The Class III-IV Middle Ocoee section is the run of choice for many paddlers, offering several challenging practice and play spots, including the wildly popular Hell’s Hole.

American Whitewater Middle Ocoee Page

(Dam #2 to #2 Powerhouse)

Middle Ocoee – Photo: Christopher Neglia – American Whitewater


The Ocoee River is dam controlled. Be sure to check recreational release schedules.

Upper Ocoee Recreational Release Schedule

Middle Ocoee Recreational Release Schedule

Related Activities

Class III-IV whitewater rafting, flat water paddling (Ocoee and Parksville Lakes, Lower Ocoee), hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing, hunting (in season)

Activity Type

Class III-IV whitewater paddling


Polk County, TN

Distance from Outdoor Chattanooga to Middle Ocoee Launch

48 miles | 55 minutes

GPS Coordinates

(Ocoee Dam #1)
35.096316, -84.651167

Google Map


Recreational releases April – October


Yes. Forest Service pit toilets.

Overnight Camping


Cherokee National Forest (Ocoee River Zone) and private campgrounds

Contact Information

Cherokee National Forest
Ocoee Ranger District
3171 Highway 64
Benton TN 37307-5823
(423) 338-3300

Cherokee National Forest South

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