Ocoee Whitewater Center
Swimming holes, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and a 330 foot suspension bridge ... a natural water park!
One of the legacies of the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Ocoee Whitewater Center was the location of the Canoe, Kayak and Slalom events. Located on Hwy. 64 north of McCaysville, the center was built by the U.S. Forest Service. Normally, whitewater adventure runs from June to September, when releases from Lake Blue Ridge dam increase the flow of the water on the Toccoa/Ocoee River(the Toccoa River becomes the Ocoee River at the Tennessee State Line). Rafters, canoers and kayakers all journey to the center located in the Ocoee River Gorge to enjoy the whitewater.
Even if you don't want to go whitewater rafting, scenic U. S. Highway 64 through the gorge offers many photographic opportunities and there are swimming holes, picnic areas, a native garden, gift shop and much more. The Whitewater Center has great hiking and biking trails for families, including a one-mile hiking trail which crosses a 330 foot suspension bridge and circles the center. The trail is entirely accessible for those who are physically challenged.
There are an additional 20 miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers, including the Bear Paw Trail and the Chestnut Mountain Trail, both of which are loops. A recent addition, the Thunder Rock Express, has received a lot of positive comments from bikers. The Old Copper Road Historic Trail allows hikers and bikers an easier paced adventure along the restored path that was used to transport copper by wagon from Ducktown to Cleveland before the arrival of the railroad from Blue Ridge.
Directions to The Ocoee Whitewater Center: From Atlanta, take Interstate 75 north to I-575. Continue north on I-575 to GA 515, the Georgia Mountain Parkway. In Blue Ridge, take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. In Ducktown, take U. S. 64 west to the Ocoee Whitewater Center on the left. For more information, call (423) 496-5197.