Conasauga River Blue Hole


Area Status: Open

Conasauga River Blue Hole

For an unusual viewing experience, try viewing fish in the Conasauga River. Slip on a mask and snorkel and swim slowly in the still, deep pools or scan the shallows.

You’ll find a variety of fish and maybe a turtle in their natural habitat along this stretch of Conasauga State Scenic River. Always wear a personal flotation device and snorkel with a partner. Conasauga Trail #61 parallels the river.

At a Glance

Rentals & Guides: Reservations can be made by contacting Travis McDonald at travis.mcdonald@usda.gov or (843) 666-4040. Check Payments only will be made out to USDA and sent to the Ocoee Ranger District and must be received 14 days prior to the scheduled program. Mail checks to:

James Whitener

Ocoee Ranger Station

3171 Hwy 64

Benton, TN 37307-5823

  • Programs for groups of 12 to 24 snorkelers.
  • Cost is $30 per snorkeler.
  • A guide and lifeguard lead groups.
  • Wetsuits, masks, and snorkels are provided.
  • Programs run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Days: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. June through August.
  • What to bring: Extra footwear (water shoes, old sneakers, Chaco/Teva style sandals) for wading, towel, swimsuit, drinking water, lunch, and sunscreen.
  • No flip-flops will be allowed for use during snorkeling.
  • Restroom and trash cans at sight.
  • Participants need to provide their own transportation to the site - Due to unreliable cell signal for the last 8 miles of the drive-in, don’t rely on your cell phone to navigate you to the sight.
  • Trips canceled due to weather or water conditions will be rescheduled for the next available date.
Check out this list of some of the different fish species found in the Conasauga River. What we need from you: Email travis.mcdonald@usda.gov with the following info:
  1. Group contact info (name and cell number of a person that will be with the group).
  2. Transportation type (bus or passenger vehicle).
  3. Attach the completed age and sizing form.
‚ÄčWaiver forms (Bring them signed with you on the day of the event or you can scan and email them to us).
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Parking
Water: None provided
Restroom: Vault toilets
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions:

From Interstate 75:

Take I-75 to Cleveland, TN exit #20 (Cleveland by-pass).  Take the bypass 6.5 miles to US 64 east (towards Ocoee); follow US 64 8 miles to Hwy 411. Turn right (south) onto 411.  Travel 6.7 miles on US 411 and turn left onto TN 313 at the BP and Marathon gas stations (Ladd Springs Road which becomes Willis Springs Rd.). Travel 4 miles until the pavement ends, then bear right on gravel Forest Service Road 221 (Pea Vine/Sheeds Creek Rd.). Continue for 4.7 miles as the road climbs and winds until you reach the Conasauga River Trail Head (#61) parking lot. Turn right into the parking area.  Travel time from Chattanooga is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The site location can be found on Google maps by searching for Conasauga River Snorkeling Hole (Ocoee TN) or Conasauga River Trail. Once you leave Hwy 411 you will lose cell service for the rest of the trip. It is helpful to print a map of the driving directions from google before you leave. If you are unsure on how to get to the snorkeling site, please call or email the day before and we will help you. The roads in the area have been damaged by recent storms, and passenger vehicles and 12-passenger vans are preferred over low-clearance vehicles and large school buses. If your group is required to use a school bus, please contact Travis McDonald, travis.mcdonald@usda.gov, for an alternative route.


General Notes:

Overview

The Cherokee National Forest offers snorkeling programs for groups of 12 to 24 people in the Conasauga River. The Forest Service provides masks, snorkels, and wetsuits; a professional guide familiar with the local fauna and an assistant who takes care of equipment ensures safety and first aid. Programs start at 10:00 in the morning and run until about 2:00 in the afternoon taking advantage of the best sunlight conditions. Programs are scheduled Thursday, Friday & Saturday of each week, June through August. High streamflow, muddy water, lightning, or cold temperatures (water or air temperature below 55oF) may result in the cancellation of a program. Restrooms and a picnic area are available at the site.  The minimum age for participants is 12 years old as we are not equipped to handle groups with several younger/smaller children.

Each person should bring their own swimsuit, water shoes (sandals should have heel straps), towel, drinking water, and lunch. Changing tents are set up for your privacy. Instructors assist each participant with putting on their gear and getting accustomed to snorkeling. An overview of aquatic ecology and U.S. Forest Service land management is given followed by a safety talk that defines the boundaries for the event.

The streams on the Cherokee National Forest have an extraordinarily diverse assemblage of fish. In the clear waters of the snorkeling sites, it is typical to see 15 to 20 species of fish on any given day. Over 45 species of fish have been documented at or near individual sites. Freshwater drum as large as 6 pounds swim in schools in the deep pools; sporting fish, such as bass and bream, are seen in their natural habitats. Colorful darters and shiners may be seen spawning and feeding. Several thousand fish will be present on any given day. The experience is like swimming in an aquarium full of fish. Turtles, tadpoles, and salamanders are all usually present.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking

Viewing Wildlife

Visitor Programs

Picnicking

Swimming

Amenities

Interpretive Site: Freshwater Aquatics
Picnic tables:
Fee charged for some activities: Snorkeling Programs
Parking:
Toilets: Vault

Quick Links

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
34.9946067

  Longitude : 
-84.6406322