Ocoee Whitewater Center


Area Status: Open

View of Ocoee Whitewater Center in Cherokee National Forest

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

Ocoee Whitewater Center Guide

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 5/25/22 - 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.  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.
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).
Usage: Heavy
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
Water: Available
Restroom: Vault Toilets
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. Digital Pass Icon
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions:

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.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Mountain Biking

The OWC is the primary trailhead for the Tanasi Trail System.

Day Hiking

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. 

Visitor Programs

Interpretive Areas

Visitor Centers

Picnicking

Group Picnicking

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. 

Swimming

Amenities

Interpretive Site:
Picnic tables:
Fee charged for some activities:
Parking:
Toilets:
Accessible:
Drinking water:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
35.066564

  Longitude : 
-84.461177

  Elevation : 
1,853 ft