Regional white water rafting, kayaking and slalom canoeing are available along the wild and scenic Ocoee River Gorge in nearby Cherokee National Forest. Union County is located in a region known as the Tri-State Area where the states of Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina connect.
The Ocoee River Gorge is legendary for white water recreation. White water rafting is available from licensed rafting companies only. Kayaking and slalom watercraft are open to the experienced public. For those folks that are a little less white water adventurous, yet desire to witness this exciting white water recreation, the Blue Ridge Highlander recommends a visit to the impressive, mountain rustic designed, Ocoee Whitewater Center and Park. The Whitewater Center and parklands along the riverbanks were constructed to host the 1996 Olympic Kayak and Slalom Competition.
The Whitewater Center and river gorge are located a couple of miles below the Boyd Gap Overlook along Highway US/64, which follows the entire length of the river gorge. It is designated as a Scenic Byway from which auto tours can experience the beauty of the river gorge, and access conveniently located roadway pullouts to watch rafters making their way down the river. White water rafting ends just pass the river’s lower gorge historic powerhouse.
Past the powerhouse site is the white water raft takeout point along the Ocoee River. From here the river loses its wild river reputation and flows smoothly along and into the gentle waters of Lake Ocoee. This smooth section of the river is idea for casual canoe trips. The drive back up the Ocoee River Gorge is equally as beautiful for scenic tour enthusiasts as they make their way back to the majestic awe-inspiring high mountain country of Union County.