10 Things You Should Know About the Ocoee River

Whitewater Rafting Ocoee River Ocoee TN

1. The Ocoee River has Two Names

The Toccoa River and Ocoee River are the names in use for a single 93-mile-long (150 km) river that flows north westward through the southern Appalachian Mountains of the southeastern United States. The river is called the Toccoa for its 56 miles (90 km) through Georgia, until it reaches the twin cities of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee, at the truss bridge which connects Georgia 5 (Blue Ridge Street) with Tennessee 68 and Georgia 60 (Ocoee Street and Toccoa Street). The remainder is called the Ocoee through Tennessee.


2. The Ocoee’s Cherokee Roots

The name Ocoee originates from the Cherokee name for Passiflora incarnata, ocoee. Toccoa comes from the Cherokee term for “where the Catawbas lived”.


3. An Olympians River

Olympic kayaker Joe Jacobi led a successful effort to bring the Atlanta Olympic white-water event to the Ocoee River in 1996. This was the first time the event was performed on a natural river.

Ocoee River 1996 Olympics Ocoee TN

4. A Small Portion that Packs a Punch

For the 93 miles that the Ocoee River flows the sections below Ocoee Dam #3 and Ocoee Dam #2 are the only parts of the river that have substantial whitewater rapids. There are most likely more rapids that were submerged by the creations of the lakes behind these dams.


5. A Quick Diversion

The water on the middle section of the Ocoee River was diverted down a five-mile wooden flume to a powerhouse downstream to make hydroelectric power. In September of 1976, a rock slide heavily damaged the flume line allowing water to consistently flow down the river bed for the first time since the Dam was constructed in 1913.


6. And the Winner Is…

Consistently the middle section of the Ocoee River is floated by more people than any other whitewater river in the country. With over 200,000 commercial guests rafting and 10,000 privately boating, the middle Ocoee provides a lot of enjoyment to a lot of people.


7. I’m Just a Bill

In 1983, the completion of the repaired flume line was getting ready to come back online and water was set to disappear from the riverbed once again. Congress acted to save the whitewater recreation that rose while the flume was being fixed. An agreement was negotiated to provide 116 days of water release for the next 35 years, with the outfitters paying a total cost recovery for all power lost to TVA.


8. Look Out Below

For the 93 miles that the Ocoee/Toccoa River flows from the confluence of Canada and Mauldin creeks to the Hiwassee River it drops from 2,120 ft of elevation to 750 feet. The upper Ocoee section has an average of 50 feet per mile drop for its five miles.


9. It’s All About Tradition

We here at Ocoee Outdoors were apart of the founding crew for whitewater rafting on the Ocoee! We have helped create memories and experiences for a lifetime since 1776.


Ocoee Outdoors Transportation Whitewater Rafting Ocoee TN

10. What’s Next?

Being one of the best whitewater rivers in the country has only been possible because of our rafters. There’s only one more thing you need to know about the Ocoee River; it’s ready for you! Get your crew together and come rafting on a river known for its world-class rafting. You do not want to miss this!

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