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The Ocoee River Gorge

picture of kayakerTo the Cherokee, who named the scenic Ocoee River Gorge, this was the “apricot vine place.” To the whitewater enthusiasts who flock here from all over the world, there’s only one word for the spot—fun.

TVA manages its dams to achieve a variety of purposes, including recreation, and the three Ocoee dams are no exception.

  • Power. The three Ocoee dams together generate more than 67,000 kilowatts of electricity, using an ingeniously engineered system to boost the river’s power.
  • picture rafts on riverWhitewater. The dams also make the Ocoee one of the premier sport rivers in the Southeast. Site of the 1996 Summer Olympics whitewater competitions, the Ocoee boasts the mile-long Olympic whitewater course and a four-and-a-half-mile rafting area.
  • Schedules. Both the whitewater course and the rafting area are fed by regular releases of water from TVA’s dams. The schedules are published here.
  • Attractions. Recreation in the area is not limited to the river itself. The beautiful wooded peaks of Cherokee National Forest rise above the river and lovely Parksville Reservoir, behind Ocoee Dam No. 1. Opportunities abound for swimming, picnicking, and boating. The shore of the reservoir features U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, as well as a commercially run inn.

Whether you like your water white and fast or deep and peaceful, whether you’re looking for a thrill a minute or a quiet drift through a summer afternoon, the Ocoee has it all.

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