Whitewater rafting: Chattooga River and Deliverance movie tourism + Ocoee olympic rafting + more US rivers

The Chattooga River was in the movie Deliverance. Its lesser claim to fame was being the Chattooga was being the first river in the Southeast to be designated “Wild & Scenic” by Congress. The Chattooga is wild and beautiful – as you raft, the Sumter and Chattahoochee National Forests provide a great setting for your whitewater experience.

Cherokee National Forest has several whitewater rivers including the Nolichucky, the French Broad, the Tellico, the Conasauga, and the Hiwassee. However, the most famous is the Ocoee River, where the 1996 Olympic Canoe and Kayak Slalom events were held. Start at the Ocoee Whitewater Center.

Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River from Buena Vista, CO to Salida, CO is another nice run. Expect a full day trip with a lunch stop included. Some of the best water in the country, when the levels are right. The flows usually peak between the 1st and 3rd week of June Its a definite fun day, the most popular commercially run river in the United States.

I have some friends who are doing the Lehigh in PA for the 2nd time this summer. Last time they stopped halfway down in the mountains for a big BBQ picnic, then kept going. It was great. In the spring and fall they do a release on the Lehigh and you can get class 4 and 5 rapids. The various operations only bring out the 10 man rafts for such events. During the summer, you probably go on the 6 person rafts.

I have another friend who recommends the Nolichucky River near Erwin, Tennessee. The Nolichucky is a clean river that winds through North Carolina and Tennessee. There is a variety of whitewater rapids that cut their way through an awesome gorge.

Not far from Erwin, TN is Nantahala Gorge near Bryson City in the NC Smokies. It is good for beginners with a #3 rated difficulty. The water trip takes about 2 hours in a raft. It’s a great introduction to whitewater rafting. It’s said to be the most popular River in the Southeast – no surprise considering the beauty of Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Happy Easter everyone! If you’re looking for some conversation ideas while you spend time with the family, ask them about a rafting trip one spring or summer weekend. It could be a nice family outing.

Filed Under: Movie tourism

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  1. Kienda says:

    What about Ohiopyle near Pittsburgh? Different levels of rafting plus stunning scenery and only 45 minutes from Fallingwater (house by Frank Lloyd Wright).

  2. James Trotta says:

    Never heard of Ohiopyle – thanks for the tip.

  3. Is this a commercial trip or a private one? The commercial trip will store and secure communal gear on the rafts in watertight bags. You will be offered watertight bags for your personal gear. Private trips will do the same except members will supply the bags. Find out what is suggested for gear and clothing. Commercial trips will supply PFDs and helmets. Private trips will require you to supply your own.

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