The best tour group on the nation’s most popular river.
– review of the attraction in Ocoee (Tennessee).
There are few experiences in your life that are so incredible, so stimulating and so far beyond your expectations that they stay with you forever. Well, Cascade Outdoors is simply unforgettable! They are the leaders in whitewater rafting tours down the Ocoee River. The Ocoee is the most popular whitewater rafting river in America and for good reason. It has three different dam controlled pumping stations keeping the water flowing while being filled with fun class 3, 4 and 5 rapids, gorgeous views and the best location to boot, close to Chattanooga Tennessee and even Atlanta Georgia. Cascade Outdoors not only thrives on safety, but their staff and guides absolutely love what they do, which creates the most positive and enjoyable environment. Cascade owner and local resident Kip knows the Ocoee better than anyone so if you’re going to trust someone with your safety on this wildly roaring river, then he’s your man.
Cascade Outdoors offers two tours, a three hour tour down the Middle Ocoee and a full day five and a half hour 10-mile tour, which includes the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Slalom Competition Course. These tours on the Ocoee River flow through the beautiful Cherokee National Forest so you get a level of peace compounded with all the excitement of the river.
We chose the full day tour with another couple Adam and Melissa Casebolt from Central Florida and our guide Ryan from Texas, whose been with Cascade Outdoors since 2007. Ryan showed us some commands and techniques, warnings and safety measures and we were ready.
The tour started with smaller class 2 and 3 rapids so we could practice what we learned and feel confident. Ryan was such a great and informative guide and by the time we got to the bigger rapids we had all the commands down pat and were rowing in perfect unison. The thrills really began as we tackled the Best Ledge and Callahan’s Ledge and increased to a hold-on-for-dear-life as we hit the back-to-back monster rapids of Godzilla and Humongous. We saw others fall out of their rafts here, but with throw lines and help on shore they were quickly rescued and pulled out.
The full day tour was split in half by a delicious all-you-can-eat lunch of fresh deli meats and all the fixings for sandwiches, snacks and drinks. We sat along the shore enjoying our food while watching others try to conquer the Ocoee’s rapids. When our lunch was done, there was no rest for the weary. Right away we plunged into my favorite part of the Ocoee River and the most white knuckle, hold onto your oars and pray that your butts stay in the raft parts. We hit the raging rapids of Edge of the World with its surprising drop into the hard-hitting Roach Motel.
The full day trip was just nonstop fun with rapid after rapid and so much to offer. There was a calm section where we got out of the raft and just floated awhile in the cool water gaping at our surroundings. Ryan circled us into the famous Double Suck twice letting our entire raft be completed submerged under the water then we were out. Ryan, showing us all his amazing tricks (that only we were doing) had each side of the raft paddle in opposite directions as hard as they could down a double rapid of Tablesaw and Diamond Splitter. We went down it spinning like a cyclone and completely lost our bearing. At the bottom, we hit a hidden rock with a bang which sprawled all of us completely flat inside of the raft. Other rafts saw nobody and thought we all fell out, but we got back up laughing hysterically. Finally, looking forward we saw the end, but not before being thrown around by one final rapid called Hell’s Hole.
Everyone boarded the bus for a short trip back to Cascade Outdoors each with their own huge smile and stories of what they just experienced. This trip and tour was so good and affordable that no one should pass it up. It is the perfect balance of family fun, thrills, the beauty of nature, and exhilaration. They also have professional photographers stationed around the rapids to take your photos so you can hold onto these special memories and keepsakes forever. Cascade Outdoors will make their tours the highlight of any of your vacations.