Middle Ocoee River Rafting Trip
The start of the Middle Ocoee is spectacular! The water from the lake falls over the top of the 30-foot dam that is Ocoee Dam number 2 making for a giant river wide waterfall. There is a wide walkway on the right side of the Dam which you carry your raft down to put on the river at the base of the dam. The Middle starts right off with a bang! Grumpy’s rapid is only 100 yards downstream from the put in and it is a major class four rapid. It is formed by a ledge that is almost river wide with a narrow slot to shoot your raft through for a clean run. Below Grumpy’s is several hundred yards of continuous rapids ending in large eddy on river right call “Staging Eddy”. Your trip collects here before continuing downstream. Leaving Staging Eddy the next rapid up is called Gonzo Shoals rapid. The river widens out here and there are shallow ledges that are a bit tricky to run and not get the raft stuck. After Gonzo we head for one of the Middle Ocoee’s most difficult rapids, Broken Nose. Not to hard to figure out how this one got its name. The river channels along the right river bank and falls over a series of three drops in succession. The water is “pushy” and requires precise control to prevent bouncing off the river right bank and into any one of the three drops. After Broken Nose you move to the left side of the river for some fun playful class two rapids with nice waves that lead into a rapid called Second Helping. Second Helping is a good sized ledge shallow on the right and middle but with a good drip on river left. It is followed in quick succession by another good wave drop and fun play place. Downstream from Second Helping the river splits into two channels and the right channel is a lot more fun. The right channel contains the rapid Moonshoot and is a fun place for some good spin moves with the raft. Smaller fun rapids continue for a couple of hundred yards before you come to probably the single largest drop on the Ocoee; Double Suck rapid. It is named for two large holes at the bottom which are powerful. If you fall in one of these, hope you swim trunks are cinched up tight. The river continues with some nice waves and rocks to avoid for the next half mile through a section called Hell’s Half Mile because a long swim through here would not be fun. Leaving Hell’s half mile, the river narrows down and channels into a series of large standing waves in the rapid called Double Trouble. On Commercial trips the professional photographers stage here because they can get some good shots of the rafts being tossed about. Next up is Left Right Left rapid which is pretty easy, you start on the left then move right and you guessed it …move back right again. Continuing on down are two rapids, Flipper and Hollywood with nice places to play and surf the raft and show off your moves. At Hollywood you are approximately half way down the Middle Ocoee.
The second half of the Middle begins with the longest “flat stretch” of the Ocoee with moving water but no rapids. This is called The Doldrums and is a great place to hop out of the raft for a cool swim in the river. After the Doldrums the river contains some smaller shallow rapids where the objective is primarily not getting the raft stuck but watch out because there is one somewhat hidden ledge in this stretch called Surprise. We can’t tell you about that one because it’s a ….surprise! Down around the bend however is one of the largest rapids on the entire river, Tablesaw. Tablesaw is a hundred yards of large waves holes and splash with a boulder at the bottom on the right which must be avoided. Closely following is another big Drop called Diamond Splitter. This rapid has a really large rock in the center which sends the water left and right around it. The right channel is pretty smooth, but the left channel has a large hole called Witches Hole. A large eddy on river left allows you to surf Witches hole from below. After Diamond Splitter the river slows down a little although there are some fun rapids that have two names depending on your preference or how long you have been around the river. Slingshot is also called Accelerator where the river really speeds up and is a great place for spin moves in a raft. The second rapid is called both Cats Pajamas and Juicer depending on how long you have been around. For some reason it an easy place to end up out of the raft and in the water. After Cats, the river gets eerily quiet for a hundred yards. Downstream you see the Ocoee number two powerhouse and a bridge across the river and a horizon line but not the rest of the river. As you get close you can see a long sloping big wave rapid with a whole lot of white at the bottom. You have arrived at Hell Hole and it is a boat stopping and if you are not careful boat flipping obstacle. Enter with power and the correct boat angle and you will have a great ride. Hell Hole is followed by the last rapid on the Middle Ocoee, Power House rapid, just stay right through a nice couple of waves and then float down to the Middle take out.