Frequently asked questions about Ocoee River whitewater rafting
These questions and answers are intended to help inform our clients regarding rafting the Ocoee River. If you cannot find the answer to your question or concern please call our office 888-723-8622.
Is there an age limit for rafting the Ocoee River?
Tennessee State law requires that all rafters on the Ocoee be at least 12 years of age.
When is the Ocoee River rafting season?
Typically the commercial rafting season on the Ocoee River begins in April and runs through October. During April only the Middle Ocoee River section is available for rafting. Learn more about the Ocoee River rafting season and Upper Ocoee releases in our article: When can you raft the Ocoee River?
How long does it take to raft the Ocoee River?
We currently offer Middle Ocoee River Rafting Trips and Full River Rafting Trips. The Middle Ocoee River Rafting Trip Length is approximately 3.5 hours long with 2 hours on the river. The Full Ocoee River Rafting Trip Length is approximately 6 hours long with 4.5 hours on the river. Lunch is included with Full Ocoee River trips. We spend more time on the river than the others guys. We take more time for river play and surfing to provide a more memorable experience. Learn more about trip lenghts and river play in our article: How long does it take to raft the Ocoee?
The Ocoee River rapids are rated class III and IV. What does this mean?
This is the International Scale of River Difficulty:
Class I– Easy few or no obstructions; fast moving water with riffles; risk to swimmers is slight.
Class II– Novice wide clear channels; occasional maneuvering; rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers; swimmers are seldom injured; assistance is helpful but rarely needed.
Class III– Intermediate rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and capable of swamping a boat; complex maneuvers in fast current and narrow passages require good boat control; large waves, holes and strainers may be present but are easily avoided; powerful current; scouting advisable; swimmers are unlikely to be injured but assistance may be needed to avoid a long swim.
Class IV– Advanced intense, powerful rapids; turbulent water; may involve long, unavoidable wave trains, holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure; may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards; risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high; group assistance to swimmers requires practiced skills.
Class V– Expert long, obstructed, turbulent rapids; drops may contain very large unavoidable waves, holes or steep congested chutes with complex demanding routes; several of these factors may be combined at the upper level of this class; rescue is extremely difficult; above average rescue skills are essential. Risk of injury is real.
Class VI– Almost impossible difficulties of Class V are carried to the limits of navigability; very dangerous; risks are high and rescue may be impossible; for teams of experts only under favorable conditions. Risk of injury is high.
Do I need whitewater rafting experience to go on the Ocoee?
No experience is necessary. Our highly trained guides in each boat will instruct you and give commands for you to follow. Just follow instructions, relax and have fun.
What should I wear rafting?
For the summer shorts or a bathing suit or swim trunks and a T-shirt are best. Shoes that will stay on your feet are required, which can be river sandals, old tennis shoes, or nylon topped water shoes. No Flip Flops or other shoes that won’t stay on your feet! For the cooler weather we recommend synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene or nylon or synthetic fleece. We have some “spray gear” to keep off the splash and if it is really cold we have wet suits at the outpost –all free to our guests.
What else should I bring?
A dry change of clothes for after rafting, a towel, sunscreen and shower items are recommended.
What about the weather?
We do go rafting rain or shine. You are going to get wet anyway and why not have a bunch of fun in the rain? A baseball cap under your helmet will help keep the rain out of your eyes. Lightning – Usually thunder storms are intermittent and brief, passing through the area quickly. Exposure on the river is minimal due to the surrounding mountains and trees. We may delay our trips at the Outpost or at the river put-in if a storm is occurring at those trip times.
High water — If the river reaches a level that exceeds safety, the Ocoee River managers will close the river to rafting.
What time should I arrive?
We recommend arriving about 15 to 20 minutes prior to your trip time to allow for restroom visits and completing your waivers. Be aware if you are coming from the Central Time Zone you will lose an hour as we are located in the Eastern Time Zone.
How many people to a raft?
Our Ocoee rafts are the highest quality 8 person NRS rafts available. Our normal seating is six customers and one guide per raft. Our goal is to fill every raft to six customers. If you have fewer than six people you will probably be combined with other customers to fill the seats. If you have more than six you group will be broken down to fit in additional rafts. We always strive to make the most logical seating with consideration to our customer groups.