Fall White Water Adventure

The Cheoah River, Class IV+ White Water Rafting Adventure

Share Your Adventure: #CHEOAHRIVER

Located near the remote southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Graham County’s own Cheoah River Release is one of the most challenging and physically demanding whitewater rafting rivers in the world. Unique in its features, white water rafting the Cheoah is the perfect challenge for our most adventurous guests.

Next Cheoah River Rafting Event: see below for complete list

Apr 22 – Apr 24 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...

Cheoah River Rafting Lodging Packages & Special Offers:

Tapoco Lodge from overhead Tapoco Lodge  See More Details
PH:828-498-2800  Visit Website
Amenities & Location: Resorts/Lodges/Motels, Special Promotion, Tapoco, covered parking, game room, internet, outdoor firepit, restaurant on site
Special Promotion: 

For Cheoah River Release Weekends, join us for food and drink specials while overlooking the river.

Blue Waters Mountain Lodge  See More Details
PH:(828) 479-8888, (888) 828-3978  Visit Website
Amenities & Location: 1-bedroom, 4-bedroom or more, Bed and Breakfast, Cabins, Lake Santeetlah, Lakeside, Resorts/Lodges/Motels, Robbinsville, Special Promotion, accommodate groups, children restriction, covered parking, game room, indoor Jacuzzi, indoor fireplace or stove, internet, outdoor firepit, restaurant on site
Special Promotion: 

Blue Waters offers lodging and Cheoah River whitewater rafting packages. Conveniently located just minutes from the Cheoah River, perfect for an adventure weekend getaway.


Area Lodging & Camping:

Nearby Things To Do:
Yellow Creek Falls, Benton MacKaye Trail, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Hiking Trails, Fontana Village Hiking & Biking

Nearby Restaurants:
Tapoco Lodge, Fontana Village Resort

The Cheoah River roars through continuous Class IV-V rapids for nine miles… towering waves, boiling holes, house-sized boulders, culminating with Bear Creek Falls, a dramatic twelve-foot waterfall. Dropping 150 feet per mile, the Cheoah is three times as steep as the Gauley or the infamous Section IV of the Chattanooga. Nationally, only California’s Cherry Creek and Colorado’s Gore Canyon are comparable.

The Cheoah River is rapidly becoming one of the top whitewater runs in the country, thrilling paddlers with fast paced action, blind horizon lines and big flushy holes. The Cheoah River begins near the bottom of Santeetlah Dam, just below Lake Santeetlah. The river meanders through a gorge along US129, made famous as the Tail of the Dragon with 318 curves in 11 miles. The Cheoah River dumps into Calderwood Lake at the bottom of Cheoah Dam, aka Fugitive Dam which appeared in the 1993 movie The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford.

The Class IV-IV+ rapids are made up of steep, vertical ledges and technical boulder fields, and a gradient that drops steadily through an ever-deepening canyon. The rapids continue to climb the whitewater scale until arriving at the Big Fat Gap Bridge. Here begins two of the steepest commercially rafted miles of whitewater in the United States. With non-stop rapids made up of rocks, holes, and waves, the river chases a constantly disappearing horizon.

This exciting river adventure is made possible under a 40-year federal license to rejuvenate the nine miles of Cheoah River for fishermen and whitewater paddlers. The Cheoah is a great choice if you are looking for a new rafting challenge. Be warned however, there is nothing in the southeast harder, longer, steeper, or with more big rapids than the Cheoah. Guided rafting permits for commercial rafting accommodate experienced whitewater enthusiasts looking for a guided adventure on the Cheoah.

Public access is available below Santeetlah Dam, at the beginning of the Cheoah River run, and a new public access area at mile 5.5.

There are numerous options for public viewing, View Map for suggestions.  Also consider taking a short and easy hike to nearby Yellow Creek Falls.

Recommended Whitewater Rafting Outfitters:

Cheoah River Map:

#CheoahRiver

Click Image for Larger View
Click Here for Printable Map (pdf)

Cheoah River Whitewater Rafting Calendar:

Apr 22 – Apr 24 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
Apr 23 – Apr 25 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
Apr 28 – Apr 30 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
Apr 29 – May 1 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
Apr 30 – May 2 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
May 6 – May 8 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
May 7 – May 9 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
May 13 – May 15 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
May 14 – May 16 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
May 20 – May 22 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
May 21 – May 23 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
Jul 8 – Jul 10 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
Jul 9 – Jul 11 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
Sep 9 – Sep 11 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...
Nov 4 – Nov 6 all-day Cheoah River Put-in
Western NC offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The recently unleashed Cheoah isn’t for the faint of heart.  The river has many Class IV/IV+ rapids and lots of residual vegetation that require a … See More Details...

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