The Secret Ocoee

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - by TVA Newsroom

Everyone knows that the Ocoee River is one of the most popular whitewater rafting adventures in America. But the little-known secret is that the southeast Tennessee destination is also an epicenter for many other forms of world-class recreation.

We caught up with Ryan Cooke, prominent river guide and manager of the Ocoee Inn & Marina, to learn more about what the Ocoee River and Parksville Lake have to offer.  

“The Ocoee has everything to offer,” says Cooke, “from a relaxing family adventures to adrenaline-soaked mountain biking, backwoods hiking and hardcore rafting that will satisfy thrill seekers.”

Situated less within a four hour drive for about 8 million people, the Ocoee is near five major metropolitan areas—Atlanta, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C; Huntsville, Ala.; and Knoxville and Chattanooga Tenn. Just turn east off of I-75 at Cleveland Tennessee, and 20 minutes later you’re in one of the most beautiful and remote areas of the Cherokee National Forest.

Looking at what the Ocoee region has to offer, it’s easy to see why the Ocoee is one big factor in the value of the Tennessee River system being worth about a million dollars per shoreline mile. The rafting industry alone is worth millions.

But if rafting isn’t your thing—or if you just want to add other notes to your Ocoee vacay—then Cooke recommends the following family friendly activities:

Easy Pontoon Boat Floats

With 1,930 acres of water surface, Parksville Lake (the reservoir formed behind Ocoee Dam No. 1) provides endless options for outdoor fun. Cooke says there are two islands to explore on the lake and plenty of areas to anchor the boat to swim and relax the day away. There are three public boat ramps to launch from. If you don’t have your own boat, the Ocoee Inn rents pontoons for as little as $135 for four hours and pets are welcome.

Hiking Benton Falls

The 3.2 mile smooth, sandy trail leads to a 65-foot waterfall, which is a sight to behold, especially after a heavy rainfall. Families can sit at the bottom of the waterfall and relax to the sound of the roaring water while kids and pets explore. The falls are also accessible from the from a path made of easy-to-navigate stone steps. For safety, Cooke recommends parents keep a close eye on children near the top of the falls. Dogs are welcome on the trail but must remain on leash.

Paddle Boarding/Kayaking

Cooke says “human power” is one of the best ways to take in the region’s beauty. When gliding along Parksville Lake’s 47 miles of shoreline it’s not uncommon to see eagles, bear, fox, turkey and deer. If you’re really lucky you may even see at the water’s edge one of the rare mountain lions that still roam the Cherokee National Forest. There are many areas to park and put in your paddle board or kayak. If you can’t bring your own equipment, the Ocoee Inn rents paddle boards and kayaks for as little as $15 per hour.

Fishing

According to Cooke, Parksville Lake is one of the State’s best fisheries and a great place to spend the weekend fishing. With several campgrounds for RVs and three public boat ramps there is no excuse not to put your line in and try your luck. Large fish abound in the lake and anglers have pulled out three Tennessee State Record fish—Alabama bass (7 lbs.), yellow perch (2 lbs., 2 oz.), and coosa bass (1 lb., 15 oz.). You could be the next to reel in a record breaker.

Camping at the Caney Creek Community

If you’re really adventurous you can set out to explore this local favorite destination. Built in the early 1900s to house workers who constructed the flume that the Tennessee Valley Authority uses to divert water and create electricity, the Caney Creek Community was abandoned after the work was completed, but several foundations and old building still exist today. Cooke says that this is a great place to camp—just ask the Ocoee Inn team for directions.

Plan your Ocoee trip at the Tennessee Visitor’s Bureau or call the Ocoee Inn & Marina at (423) 338-5591.




25,000 Tennesseans Volunteer On Feb. 24 To Plant Trees In Tennessee's 95 Counties

Tennessee Environmental Council is promoting 250K Tree Day, a statewide event on Feb. 24 planting 250,000 trees with 25,000 Tennessee volunteers of all ages.  Tennessee’s growing population equates to more consumption and deforestation, officials said.  The Council’s Tennessee Tree Project was created to plant one million native trees across the state to help repopulate ... (click for more)

Award-Winning Documentary Featuring Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy Students Premieres Locally At Lookout Wild Film Festival

The award-winning film will premiere locally at the Lookout Wild Film Festival at Memorial Auditorium. “When the Dust Settles” highlights the resilience and strength of wild mustangs and the underserved, young women that work alongside them through the Mustang Leadership Partners program. “When the Dust Settles” features Mustang Leadership Partners program participants from ... (click for more)

BlueCross Sells Huge Tract Along River For $8.1 Million

BlueCross BlueShield has sold a huge tract along the riverfront in Lupton City for $8.1 million. The purchaser is listed as Riverton LLC., 651 E. 4th St., Suite 403, Chattanooga. BlueCross had bought the 216-acre site in 2001 as a possible site for its corporate headquarters. However, it wound up building a $299 million campus on Cameron Hill instead. BlueCross started ... (click for more)

1 Person Injured In Duplex Fire In East Lake Wednesday Night

One person was injured when fire broke out in a duplex Wednesday night in East Lake. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at  11:53  p.m. on  Wednesday  and responded to the 4800 block of General Thomas Boulevard with several fire companies. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, Captain Chris Cordes with Engine 9 said a significant ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: This Is Not A Drill

Last Saturday morning in paradise, at 8:07 to be precise, an alert appeared on every cell phone that read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” I can envision no greater horror than having to ask myself how much time do I have, and what is the wisest way to spend it? It was a long and dreadful 38 minutes until the correction ... (click for more)