County is home of the
River, site of the 1996 Olympic Canoe and Kayak Slalom Competition. Yet the Ocoee is not just for Olympians. Each year thousands of people, from first-timers to professional athletes, enjoy the thrill of a run through the
National Forest on large rubber rafts. The exhilarating course includes Class III and Class IV rapids, such as Broken Nose, Double Trouble and Table Saw. A number of outfitters offer trips down the river with experienced guides. Because the Ocoee is dam controlled, trips are available Thursday through Monday from Memorial Day to Labor Day and weekends during the spring and fall. For the less adventuresome, try canoeing or tubing on the lower Ocoee.
County has more than one river. The Hiwassee and the Conasauga offer superb angling for rainbow and brown trout in the uplands, as well as warmer water species where these tributaries flow toward the
Tennessee. Both rivers are excellent for canoeing. The Conasauga has a section designated as an underwater wildlife viewing area.
National Forest, which covers much of
County, is the scene of spectacular flora, fauna, fast-flowing rivers, hiking, horseback riding, camping and scenic drives. Stop by the ranger station on hwy 64 between Ocoee and Ducktown for information.
County's outdoor recreation is complemented by its history. The
Museum, located on the grounds of the Historic Burra Burra Mine in Ducktown, invites visitors to see exhibits that depict the copper mining heritage of
County. The downtowns of both Copperhill and Ducktown offer glimpses into life in copper mining company towns as well as places to eat and spend the night and specialty shops with gifts and souvenirs. Old
Marr is in
Benton and a little south on Hwy 411 is the Nancy Ward Grave.
County is blessed with scenic drives. Follow Hwy 30 alongside the
River to find Reliance, a historic farming community with interesting general stores, rafting and fishing guides, great views and hiking trails. The Ocoee Scenic Byway (Hwy 64) will take you to
Park, located near Ocoee Dam #1 with its scale model of the new whitewater race course on the upper
River. A little east on Hwy 64 will take you to the new US Forest Service Whitewater Center. A side trip off Hwy 64, up FS 77 will take you to the Chilhowee Overlooks and the Chilhowee Recreation Area.
For those who want to spend the night, there are bed and breakfasts, cabins, lodges, campgrounds and motels. Local restaurants offer everything from old-time family style meals to Japanese dinners to bar-b-que.
If this is not enough, see it all from above in a glider from Chilhowee Gliderport on hwy 411 near
Polk County Chamber of Commerce