Ocoee Recreational Attractions
The main attraction of the Ocoee River Gorge is the whitewater course below Ocoee Dam No. 3, which drew thousands to the Olympic competitions in 1996. But if youre not a world-class kayaker (and even if you are), there are plenty of other things to see and do on the Ocoee.
Whitewater Course Model
Near Ocoee Dam No. 1 stands a 1:10-scale concrete-and-wood model of the Olympic whitewater course, built by TVA in 1993 to help guide the U.S. Forest Service in constructing the course. The 30- by 300-foot model, one of the largest and most detailed ever built by TVA, comes complete with running water, stones, churning rapids, souse holes, and standing waves.
The four-and-a-half-mile Ocoee whitewater rafting area, located below Ocoee Dam No. 2, attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year. A number of commercial outfitters organize and supply rafting trips down the floatway.
Copper Basin Restoration
Until recently much of the Copper Basin, a few miles upstream from Ocoee Dam No. 3, was barren and bleak, the effect of years of copper mining and smelting. The practice of burning the ore to get rid of sulfur produced acid rain, which denuded an area of more than 50 square miles. Astronauts could once see the red scar on the earth from outer space. Today, thanks to restoration efforts by TVA and other organizations, the Copper Basins recovery is almost complete and the area has been returned to its former beauty.
The U.S. Forest Service manages a number of recreation areas in the Ocoee River region. Swimming, picnicking, and camping facilities are available, as well as boat launching ramps.
Parksville Lake, also known as Lake Ocoee, is located behind Ocoee Dam No. 1 and is easily accessible from Interstate 75. Lake levels fluctuate very little during the year, and the lake offers scenic vistas of Cherokee National Forest. Visitors can stay at the Forest Service campgrounds or at a commercially operated inn on the lakeshore.