Ocoee river Rafting trips
We’ve been offering the best whitewater rafting adventures on the Ocoee River for the last 40 years, and we’re just getting started!
It doesn’t matter if you are new to whitewater rafting or a seasoned pro, we have just the adventure for you! Paddle down the Ocoee River with your friends in one of our Group Rafting trips, learn the ropes on a half-day rafting trip, make memories on our popular full-day rafting trip or test your chops in our adrenaline pounding, skill-testing Adrenaline Junky challenge – no matter which adventure you select, we know that you’ll leave with incredible new memories of your rafting trip down the Ocoee River.
Looking to add some adventure to your stay in the Chattanooga area? We are nearby and just a 40 minute drive from Hamilton Place Shopping and less than an hour from Downtown Chattanooga.
At Ocoee Inn Rafting, we take safety seriously. Our rafting guides are some of the most experienced in the industry, with many having over 15 years of experience guiding adventurers down the river. Not only that, but we were the first outfitter on the Ocoee River to feature self-bailing rafts, and are constantly improving our techniques and protocols to ensure that you and your group have the best trip possible. All of these reasons make Ocoee Inn Rafting the best rafting company on the Ocoee River!
It’s time to live the adventure you’ve always dreamed of. It’s time to go rafting with Ocoee Inn Rafting.
Add some adventure to your life!
Book a trip today on America’s favorite whitewater rafting destination!
Ocoee WhiteWater Rafting
What first began as a practical necessity for early explorers traveling across new lands, white water or whitewater rafting has come a long way in becoming one of the most popular adventure sports in recreation today. Rivers across the U.S make up a playground water system for adventure seekers of all skill and experience levels. Making its first real debut into the world of water sports as an event in the 1970s Olympics, white water rafting soon rose to international popularity as interest in the exciting new sport took root in adventure seekers.
The Ocoee River in Tennessee stands as one of the most well-known and well-traveled whitewater rivers in the U.S, carrying over 300,000 rafters down its waters each season. Home to the 1996 Whitewater Olympic events, the Ocoee River holds a national reputation for thrilling rapids that offer endless fun to adventure seekers both near and far. Even if you have never tried the sport before, whitewater rafting offers a fun and exciting opportunity to experience a new adventure with your friends or family.
When you book your trip with Ocoee Inn Rafting, your rafting trip will be led by an experienced rafting guide. Often referred to as “river rats” our river guides are experienced white water rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, commonly trained in first-response safety techniques such as CPR and white water rescue.
Your guide will give you some basic training information before you hit the water, including different paddling techniques and safety information to best prepare you for your rafting experience. Once you’re ready to set out on the river, your guide will take their place in the boat to expertly navigate you down the river. Depending on your desired level of participation in the rafting experience, there are typically a couple different types of raft boats to choose from for group trips. Oar boats and paddle rafts both offer unique experiences on the water.
The most common raft in commercial rafting, the paddle raft makes a great choice for those looking to have a hands-on experience maneuvering through the water’s rapids and riptides. This is the type of raft that Ocoee Inn Rafting uses. In this style of raft, the guide takes their place in the back of the boat to shout instructions and steer the raft, while each passenger is equipped with their own paddle to help in powering the raft through the rapids.
In this type of boat, the guide is seated in the middle of the boat with a large set of oars and has full control of navigating the boat through the water. As mentioned above, Ocoee Inn Rafting uses Paddle Rafts. Oar boats are less commonly found in commercial whitewater rafting and you won’t find any of these type of boats on the Ocoee River.
Any raft on the water today is typically crafted from tough, plastic inflatable tubes that connect to a solid bottom. Each boat has foot holdings and rope handles to hold onto to help secure you in your seat. Most modern rafts fall into a category called a self-bailer. In this style of raft, the bottom and sides of the boat are connected by a lacing that allows for the river water to flow in and drain out during your trip, so don’t be alarmed when you feel water over your feet. Before your trip, your guide will be sure each passenger is suited with a life vest and a helmet in the case of being are tipped into the water.
If you are new to whitewater rafting, it is very important to take your trips with an experienced guide who knows how to what is called scouting the river and reading the water. Your guide will make certain that you will be best prepared and informed for your trip. Your guide will also be very familiar with the rapids on the river you chose and will know what to expect.
Determining beforehand what elements and conditions make a river safe to raft is a process called scouting. While scouting, our river guides will study the status of the river from the shore, looking for any potentially dangerous obstacles, new developments in the waterway and places to pull off of the water if needed. Among the several different factors to consider in the scouting process, water level is a very important one to take note of. Things such as rainfall and dam regulation can make a big difference in the safety of taking a rafting trip on a river.
Reading the Water
During your time on the water, your guide will utilize the skill of water reading. This is a skill developed after lots of experience rafting through rapids, where the guide is able to interpret the conditions of the water in the raft and as they go to know the best and safest way to utilize power from paddling in order to navigate each rapid.
Whitewater rapids are categorized by difficulty in a Class System, ranging from Class I rapids to Class VI. Rapids may be classified based on how fast the water is moving, how much water is flowing in the limited space of the riverbed, and obstructions in the water path such as rocks or turns. When planning your white water rafting trip, it’s a good idea to look into the specifics of the river that you are looking to raft and also what routes and classifications of rapids a rafting company offers for their trips. This will ensure that you are well informed for your trip and it will be the fun day you are looking for, whatever your adventure level.
The majority of the Ocoee River’s rapids fall under Class I, Class II, and Class III, with a few additional opportunities to reach class IV. This variety makes the river perfect for new or first time rafters as well as those looking for a challenge. Continue reading to learn more about the Whitewater Class System.
Class I rapids are considered mild or beginner rapids, with few obstructions and a low speed that offers a safe and pleasant day on the water. If you end up overboard in these rapids, there is not a huge safety risk. This class is great for your first time on the water, where you are looking to ease into the sport.
A little bit faster than Class I and with more obstacles, Class II rapids are great for anyone who has rafted before or is looking for a more thrilling first experience. Trickier water patterns or more rocks combine to create a river run that is manageable but slightly more challenging for first time or beginner rafters.
Class III rapids hold the intermediate title, tighter channels, larger waves, and stronger currents. Class III rapids require experienced rafting guides with technical knowledge to successfully navigate.
Depending on the thrill level you are looking for class I, II and III are all great classes to consider for your first whitewater rafting trip.
Class IV are an advanced class of rapids: waves become much larger in this class, and different obstacles in the river are much harder to avoid due to more powerful and fast-moving water. Ocoee Inn Rafting employs only the most experienced rafting guides and are very familiar with all the areas of the Ocoee River and how to safely navigate any class of rapids.
Class V is considered a class only fitted for experts in whitewater and presents a high level of challenge for even the most experienced rafters. Complicated current patterns and extremely turbulent waters around extensive obstacles create rapids that are extremely difficult to navigate. There are no Class V rapids on the Ocoee River.
This final class is the highest level of rapid classification and is considered nearly or completely impossible to navigate by raft. Only masters of the sport should even consider attempting these rapids and even then, many are not advised for travel at all. There are no Class VI rapids on the Ocoee River.
Solo Rafting & Kayaking
For more experienced white water rafters, solo kayaking can be a thrilling way to challenge your skill level and reach new heights of adventure. Several types of kayaks are available on the market to perfectly suit your preferences and river runs. One type of kayak for this is called a duck and is an inflatable kayak for one rider. It is meant for more moderate rapids only. For rapids of higher intensity, a hard-sided kayak or canoe made from plastic or fiber-glass is needed. This should only be attempted once you have reached an appropriate level of knowledge and experience and are equipped to scout, read the water well and able to master safe bailing techniques.
What should I bring on a whitewater rafting trip?
One of the great things about Ocoee Inn Rafting is that you don’t have to worry about purchasing any gear: we provide the boat, paddles, helmet, life preserver/vest, and most importantly an experienced whitewater rafting guide. The only thing you need to bring is appropriate clothing, footwear and possibly some sunscreen.
A good rule of thumb to follow when planning your rafting trip is to dress for the temperature of the water rather than the outside air, as you’ll be wet for most of your outing. Packing an extra set of clothes to change into at the end of your trip is a great idea, and especially extra layers to put on after leaving the water in the colder months. Though you may keep cool from the water, thoroughly applying sunscreen is a good idea as you will most likely be in the direct sunlight for several hours. If you plan to bring any belongings with you on the raft, placing them securely inside of a small dry bag attached to your body is essential. Wearing shoes that firmly secure onto your feet is important in not losing them into the water and also because you will be using your feet to help brace yourself into the raft.
Anyone who has been through the rapids of a river will tell you there is nothing quite like whitewater rafting. The thrill of being carried through wild and beautiful waters can take your breath away and put a huge smile on your face at the same time. With so many wonderful opportunities for exploration, your whitewater adventure waits for you just within grasp. Book a trip to the beautiful Ocoee River today and be on your way toward an exciting new adventure!