Ocoee Whitewater Center
On April 26, 2022, the Ocoee Whitewater Center caught fire and was destroyed. No one was injured in the fire.
The Cherokee National Forest, along with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), are working on reopening portions of the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Recreation areas, including all trails, and the lower lot will be opened to the public on Friday, May 27. However, the fenced in area around the visitor center will remain closed to the public and vehicles will not be permitted in parking areas when the gates are shut.
Tennessee Valley Authority’s strobe and siren warning system were damaged during the fire and is no longer functional. TVA is working on restoring the warning system, but it could take several more weeks to complete. TVA has installed signage in the area alerting users of the potential for rapidly rising water. In the absence of the warning system, visitors to the area should exercise extreme caution if entering the river channel. Large amounts of water could be discharged at any time and without any warning.
In 1996 the world's eyes were on the Ocoee Whitewater Center (OWC) as it hosted the world’s first Olympic whitewater event on a natural river.
Today the Ocoee Whitewater Center offers something for everyone.
The OWC marries the best of the natural and artificial worlds. A sleepy river set in a lush, rocky river gorge, this section of the Ocoee was carefully modified into a channel to enhance its rapids. During the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Ocoee Whitewater Center opened its doors as a premier whitewater venue for athletes from all over the world.
Now you can enjoy a wide variety of activities at the Center such as: hike or bike historic or forest trails, play in the water, picnic along the river, stroll through the native gardens and walkways.
Click on the following links for information about
- Water release schedules - TVA also has a Lake Info App for the iPhone and Android devices
- Local outfitter and guides
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||03/28/2023 - The upper parking lot and footprint of the Ocoee Whitewater Vistor Center remains closed, but the rest of the day use site and adjoining trails are open.|
|Operational Hours:||The recreation area and lower parking lot is open during daylight hours year-round. The fenced-in area around the visitor center will remain closed to the public and vehicles will not be permitted in parking areas when the gates are shut.|
|Area Amenities:||Interpretive Site, Accessible, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water, Parking|
|Fees:||User fee is $3.00 (lower lot).|
|Restrictions:||The fenced-in area around the visitor center will remain closed to the public and vehicles will not be permitted in parking areas when the gates are shut.|
|Closest Towns:||Ducktown, TN|
|Passes:||Holders of the Cherokee National Forest Annual Pass or any interagency America the Beautiful pass (Annual, Senior, Access, Military, or 4th Grade) can use the site for free.|
|Operated By:||US Forest Service|
From Knoxville - Distance to OWC = 116 miles
I-75 South to Exit 25 and go right for 5 miles (through city) and exit onto Hwy. 64 East. Travel 26 miles and OWC will be on the right.
From Chattanooga - Distance to OWC = 52 miles
I-75 North to Exit 20 (1st Cleveland exit) and go right for about 6 miles and exit right onto Hwy 64 East. Travel 26 miles and OWC will be on the right.
From Atlanta - Distance to OWC = 167 miles
I-75 North - Exit onto Hwy 411 North. Exit onto Hwy 64 East. Travel 18.5 miles and OWC will be on the right.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
The OWC is the primary trailhead for the Tanasi Trail System.
Looking for a short walk or an easy hike? At the OWC, you can hike with history along the 2.4 mile restored segment of the Old Copper Road Trail, or take an easy 1 mile stroll around the Olympic course at the Ocoee Whitewater Center on the Rhododendron Trail.
The pavilion at the OWC is first-come first-serve, or for a fee, can be reserved for group gatherings. For more infomation, or to make a reservation, please call the Ocoee Ranger Station.
Boating - Non-Motorized
For more information regarding whitewater, please visit the Ocoee River page.
|Fee charged for some activities:|
Alerts & Warnings
- FIRE RESTRICTIONS ON THE FOREST
- Road to Beauty Spot Scenic Overlook (aka Indian Grave Gap) closed
- Watauga Ranger District Office closed for renovations
- Closure Map for Bald River Falls Bridge replacement project
- Food and Refuse Food Requirements to Protect Bears
- Closures for Black Bear Fire are now open
- Tweed Springs Fire Roads and Trails Reopen
- Fireworks illegal on Cherokee National Forest
- Temporary road closure of Flatwoods Road