Ocoee rafting is the whitewater experience of a lifetime, and highly addictive. And if you like the idea of collecting garnets from the earth, Ducktown has the famous Burra Burra Mine. BBOnline gives you the details.
Burra Burra Mine
212 Burra Burra Hill
Ducktown, Tennessee 37236
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this copper mine, once part of Cherokee land, was in operation between 1899 and 1959. The mine shaft at a depth of over 3,000 feet is one of North America's deepest. The mine site contains the Ducktown Basin Museum housed in the engineer's office building and a few other structures. On display are the tools and equipment used in mining operations. The museum tells the history of the basin including the story of the Cherokee removal from the area, told through an audio visual presentation.
Tree-felling to provide for the smelting furnaces and sulfur dioxide from the smelting of the copper had turned the basin barren, completely devoid of animal and plant life. A greening effort is on, but 300 acres have been left untouched as a reminder of the denudation of the Copper Basin. The basin is not really a hollow, but an expanse of small hills surrounded by mountains. The Ocoee River flows through it.
Today visitors can get a feel of mining by collecting garnets, chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, actinolite and pyrite. That's an offer you can't refuse during your stay at your Ducktown Bed and Breakfast.
1548 Highway 68
Ducktown, Tennessee 37326
For 112 days of the year, the Ocoee River is unleashed from its work of power generation and rafters and kayakers have a ball. International competitions are still held in the Upper Ocoee every year. This is the river where the 1996 Olympic whitewater events were held. Canoe Magazine lists the river among the Top 10 in the United States. Several adventure companies conduct half-day and full-day trips on the Ocoee's upper and middle courses. The upper Ocoee rafting trip over light rapids is the easier one. The middle section of the river is for serious whitewater enthusiasts with its Class III and IV rapids.
Class III translates into difficult high waves and numerous rapids. Class IV means dangerous rocks, irregular waves and churning eddies. This section of the river includes the Olympic stretch and has rapids named Grumpy, Hell's Hole, Broken Nose, Double Suck, Diamond Splitter and more. Worth taking on from your Ducktown Inn.
While you're here for the thrill of Ocoee rafting, why not do some hiking? The Whitewater Center which overlooks the Olympic stretch of the river also offers hiking and biking opportunities with 20 miles of trails running through the Cherokee National Forest. Walk along the river and through the woods on the 2.4-mile Old Copper Road Trail once used by miners to haul copper ore from Ducktown.
Several adventure companies such as the Ocoee Adventure Center and Wildwater Rafting offer weekend Ocoee rafting trips from the middle of March through the beginning of November. From June to August, the river runs on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. You've got to be at least 12-years-old to raft.