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Old 06-08-2015, 06:45 PM
 
1 posts, read 562 times
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I am moving to TN and am looking to go white water rafting for the first time! There seem to be quite a few rafting / touring companies and I want to start with something fun and easy going for the first time. Does anyone has any suggestions - your favorite company? best company to go with? general advice or warnings? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,681,088 times
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Where are you starting from? Here is an answer I provided for someone starting out of Chattanooga a while back. There are other rivers closer to other locations. I'm not saying use or avoid NOC (I've never used them, so I have no recommendation), but they operate on most rivers in the area and their website is one of the best for describing the different options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
What level of difficulty are you looking for? That's the first question to answer as it determines which river.

One of the better commercial sites for general information is the Nantahala Outdoor Center. They're technically based on the Nantahala River, but they have "outposts" on most of the major commercial rivers.

Rivers I'm familiar with:
Hiwassee, Class I/II
Dam controlled, cold water. Safe for families, no age limit (my son's been going since he was 4, a friend's 3-yr old went last year, but an 8-yr-old friend chickened out this year). PFD's required, but no helmets and no guides. Reliance, TN, is about 1:30 away from downtown. Personally, we use Hiwassee Outfitters for that river. Not really what most people consider a "whitewater" river, but a little more than your typical "float" river.

Nantahala, Class II/III
Dam controlled, VERY COLD WATER. You hit the first Class III- (Patton's Run) within the first few hundred yards. You can pull out at "Chicken Beach" to scout the final Class III+ rapid/falls, "The Nantahala Falls" (not really a waterfall). Whitewater PFD's required, no helmets, guides optional (suggested for whitewater newbies), minimum age is 7 years old. If you go on a large guided raft the experience will seem extremely tame; if you go in a 1- or 2- person "duckie" it's much more intense. We use Paddle Inn, located about 2:15 from Chattanooga (about 10 miles north-east of Topton, NC, on US-74). Pure coincidence, but we're going to raft the Nantahala this weekend. Slightly different topic, but Topton is the southern end of "The Dragon", one of the curviest roads in the US. A cool drive back would be to go north out of Topton on Hwy 129 to Robbinsonville, then cut west to the Cherohala Skyway, up and over to Tellico, then back to Chattanooga.

Ocoee, Class III/IV
Dam controled (Upper - Middle). The upper section is where they held the 1996 Olympics and is more technical, middle section is longer, still fun, and includes the rapid "Hell Hole" (search youtube for "Ocoee Hell Hole"). Fully guided, helmets and PFD's required, minimum age 12 (age limit is written into state law, but most outfitters allow parental discretion). On US 64 east of Cleveland, about 1:00-1:30 away from downtown Chattanooga depending on outfitter chosen. This is one of the most popular commercial rivers in the region, and is the closest to Chattanooga. If you start in Chattanooga, you have to drive past or cross the Ocoee to reach any of the other rivers I've listed. If you're with a group of reasonably fit adults looking for adventure, this is the one I recommend.

Chattooga, Class III/IV
Rain controlled, so flow is variable. This is the river where they filmed most of Deliverance, so lots of "I hear banjos! Paddle faster!" t-shirts available. Fully guided with chase boats; helmets and PFD's required. Don't know about minimum ages and such. NOC Outpost is near the SC/GA border on US-76, a smidge over 3:00 from Chattanooga.

Cheoah, Class IV/V
Dam controlled, limited releases each year (there will be one on Sept. 1). If you have to ask, you can't raft this river. The Cheoah River is not for beginners. You will likely die.
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,681,088 times
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And for a coincidence, this appeared in my inbox today: Ocoee Rafting Trip for One or Two People

Or maybe not a coincidence... am I being tracked?
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow in "OZ "
23,652 posts, read 21,983,868 times
Reputation: 29525
Many videos on these rivers on You Tube..

Obed Wild & Scenic River (U.S. National Park Service)

http://www.riverfacts.com/rivers/13129.html

http://www.nps.gov/biso/planyourvisi...erpaddling.htm

http://www.americanwhitewater.org/co...detail/id/1720
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,009 posts, read 15,307,070 times
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The Cheoah looks intense.
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