EAST TENNESSEE: THERE'S A RIVER FOR EVERYONE
Aug 9 2004
Easing their way through wide valleys and across rich farmland, the rivers of East Tennessee can appear soothing, calm, and even tranquil. Appearances are deceiving. The mountains of East Tennessee are, in fact, home to some of the best whitewater rafting opportunities on the East Coast. From family-friendly Class I floats to gut-wrenching Class IV rapids, the rivers here offer something for everyone.
The Ocoee, near the Tennessee-Georgia border, is, perhaps, East Tennessee's best-known river. Home to the 1996 Olympics, the Ocoee includes two, five-mile rafting options. The Middle Ocoee is fast moving and continuous, while the Upper Ocoee starts slowly and then roars into Class III and IV rapids.
Further east is the Pigeon River, conveniently located near top tourist attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Rafting on the Pigeon is decidedly tamer than a trip on the Ocoee, and, as a result, even children as young as 4 can get in on the fun.
Finally, the Nolichucky River beckons adventure-seekers to the far Northeast corner of the state. A true wilderness river, the Nolichucky carries rafters through remote backcountry inaccessible except by water. A trip on the Nolichucky's 3,000-foot upper gorge will yield heart-pounding Class III and IV rapids, while an afternoon on the lower Nolichucky will result in a calmer ride past some of the state's most beautiful scenery.
Rafting excursions on East Tennessee's rivers begin at prices as low as $26 per person with all equipment provided. Half-day and full-day trips are available, as are overnight and weekend excursions. For a complete list of rafting outfitters, please contact the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.