White Water Rafting in the Georgia Mountains

For a great thrill on rushing whitewater, book a rafting experience at one of the nearby world-renowned rafting rivers.

Although Georgia’s rivers tend to be a bit calmer and suited to river tubing/river floating, canoeing, and kayaking, there are world-class rapids just across the state lines in SC, NC, and TN.  Learn more below about rafting and outfitters on beautiful rivers including the Nantahala River, Ocoee River, and Toccoa River.

White Water Rafting in North Georgia USA

White Water Rafting on the Chattooga River in GA and the Ocoee River in TN



Map of White Water Rafting in Georgia

Use this interactive map to find places for white water rafting in Georgia and in nearby Tennessee and North Carolina.

River Rafting in North Georgia

The Chattooga River is on the state line that separates Georgia and South Carolina along the northeasternmost border of the state. This natural river provides excellent opportunities for world-class rafting.


River Rafting on the Chattooga River

Take a trip on Class III rapids or Class IV rapids on the only river East of the Mississippi with commercial rafting that also has the national designation of a “Wild and Scenic River.” 


Southeastern Expeditions on the Chattooga River

Southeastern Expeditions offers canoeing, kayaking (rentals and clinics), and whitewater rafting on the free-flowing Chattooga River, whose characteristics will vary according to water level.

The Chattooga River’s Section III rafting is perfect for beginning white water rafters, groups, and families. The minimum age for Section III is 8 years old; however, at higher water levels, this trip is best suited for ages 10 and up (management uses discretion to decide whether to allow children under the age of 10 to go on the trip and/or run specific rapids). Southeastern Expeditions is the only company that offers a guide in every raft on the Chattooga III trips during the summer.  The Section III trips may have a guide in every other raft in the off-season.

Section IV trips always have a guide in every raft. Enjoy the most intense rapids east of the Mississippi, where rafts plunge down the notorious Five Falls and Soc-em-Dog. This trip is built for adventurers and thrill-seekers. Must be at least 12 years old for Section IV.

  • Phone: +1 (706) 782-4331
  • Location: 7350 Hwy 76 E, Clayton, GA


Wildwater Rafting on the Chattooga River

Wildwater Rafting offers multiple types of Chattooga River rafting trips including Section III, Section IV, or a Mini Trip that increases from class I to class III rapids and includes the option to run a class IV drop at Bull Sluice. Pair your rafting trips with a ziplining canopy tour and save!

  • Phone: +1 (864) 647-9587
  • Location: 1251 Academy Road, Long Creek, SC

Wildwater Rafting offers rafting trips on the Chattooga River, Nantahala River, Ocoee River, and more!


River Rafting near North Georgia

These raft trips aren’t in the state of Georgia, but they are too close and too good not to share!


River Rafting on the Nantahala River in NC

This stunning 8-mile river winds through a lush forested canyon and is a great place for beginners and seniors to enjoy a thrilling sport. The Nantahala River is a dam-controlled river and has consistently fun water flows all season long! The water is released from the bottom of Nantahala lake so it will stay a chilly 50 degrees all year-round.


Carolina Outfitters on the Nantahala River

Bring your dog and enjoy rafting trips on the Nantahala and Ocoee Rivers from Carolina Outfitters. Experience the full 8.5-mile trip (approx 2 hours on the water) either with a guide in your boat or on your own. Paddlers of all experience levels are welcome.  Children must weigh at least 60 lbs. or be at least 7 years old to go on the Nantahala River Rafting Trip and at least 40 lbs. to go on the Nature Float Trip.

  • Phone: +1 (828) 488-6345
  • Location: 12121 Highway 19 W Bryson City, NC


Nantahala Rafting on the Nantahala River

Take advantage of new bathrooms, changing rooms, and hot showers after the 8.5-mile full river trip down the Nantahala River! The Class II Rapids and Class III Rapids are good for beginner to intermediate rafters. Choose a rafting trip that is either self-guided, fully guided, or guide-assisted available, or choose a different watercraft rental like funyaks/duckies, sit-on-top kayaks, and canoes. Must be 7 years old or at least 60 pounds.

Food trucks visit from Wednesday through Sunday during the Summer season (Memorial Day-Labor Day).

  • Phone: +1 (800) GET-RAFT
  • Location: 1965 US Hwy 19, Topton, NC


Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) on the Nantahala River

The main NOC campus on the Nantahala River offers 500-acres of adventure and with family-friendly whitewater rafting on mild but exciting rapids, ducky rentals, four aerial and zipline activities, and mountain biking on nine miles of private trails! Two onsite riverfront restaurants offer convenient waterfront meals (River’s End Restaurant and Big Wesser) or shop for souvenirs and gear in the Outfitter’s Store.

  • Phone: +1 (828) 202-9347
  • Location: 13077 U.S. 19 West, Bryson City, NC


Paddle Inn Rafting Company on the Nantahala River

Enjoy customizing your Nantahala raft trip with all the options at Paddle Inn Rafting Company. Choose from 3 different trip lengths, whether or not to have a guide, and what type of boat you would like to use (rafts or ducks).

  • Phone: +1 (828) 488-9651
  • Location: 14611 US 19 West Bryson City, NC


Rolling Thunder River Company on the Nantahala River

Nantahala River rafting trips alternate between calm spells of sparkling flat water to over 20 named whitewater rapids. This feisty river is a favorite of families with younger children since it is ideal for beginners. Children have to be 7 years of age or weigh at least 60 pounds to go down this river.

These Nantahala River rafting trips run the full 8 miles of the river through the scenic Nantahala National Forest.  Expect the total trip time to be about three and a half hours with about 2 hours on the river. Daily trips from April – October (busiest on Saturdays and the month of July).

Rolling Thunder River Company offers rafting trips on the Nantahala River and Ocoee River.

  • Phone: +1 (800) 408-7238
  • Location: Bryson City, NC


Wildwater Rafting on the Nantahala River


Wildwater Rafting also offers Jeep tours and zipline canopy tours at their Nantahala location, plus rafting trips on the Chattooga River, Nantahala River, and Ocoee River. Purchase money-saving packages that add other activities like a Great Smoky Mountains Railroad train ride!

  • Phone: +1 (828) 488-2384
  • Location: 10345 Highway 19 South/74 West, Bryson City, NC



River Rafting on the Ocoee River

Host to a 1996 Olympic rafting course, the Ocoee River boasts the longest continuous stretch of class III and IV rapids in the US. Even 25 years after the close of the Olympic Games, the Ocoee River offers incredible rafting adventures!

Rafting on the Ocoee River in the Georgia Mountains

Rafting on the Ocoee River in the Georgia Mountains


The dam-controlled Ocoee River has two separate sections for rafters to tackle – the Upper and the Middle (also called the Lower or the Traditional). Rafters must be at least 12 years old to raft on this river.

Fun fact: Georgia’s calmer Toccoa River is the headwaters of the Ocoee River (the river’s name changes at the state line).


Carolina Outfitters on the Ocoee River

Carolina Outfitters offers rafting trips on the Nantahala River and Ocoee River.


Ocoee Adventure Center on the Ocoee River

  • Phone: +1 (888) 723-8622
  • Location: 4651 US-64, Copperhill, TN


Ocoee Rafting on the Ocoee River

  • Phone: +1 (423) 496-3388
  • Location: 1548 Highway 68, Ducktown, TN


Raft One on the Ocoee River

Raft One is a sister business of Southeastern Expeditions and offers white water rafting on the Ocoee River. Choose full trips or take either the middle or the upper section. Add additional adventures of horseback riding, zipline canopy tours, and mountain biking to pack all kinds of different thrills into your vacation.

  • Phone: +1 (888) RAFT-ONE
  • Location: 4599 Highway 64 West, Ducktown, TN


Rolling Thunder River Company on the Ocoee River

For an adventure that is exciting, but not extreme, try a rafting trip from Rolling Thunder River Company. Choose to do the Middle section any day, or try the Upper section after TVA water releases on certain Saturdays and Sundays.

Rolling Thunder River Company offers rafting trips on the Nantahala River and Ocoee River.

  • Phone: +1 (800) 408-7238
  • Location: McCaysville, GA


Wildwater Rafting on the Ocoee River

  • Phone: +1 (423) 496-4904
  • Location: 4596 Highway 64 West, Ducktown, TN

Wildwater Rafting offers rafting trips on the Chattooga River, Nantahala River, and Ocoee River.


Adventurers who prefer to float the river at a more leisurely pace should read more about the slower-paced River Tubing in the Georgia Mountains.

Which of these white water rafting trips looks the most exciting to you? Do you prefer the more exciting Class IV rapids or the Class II and Class III levels?

18 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    This article on rafting in the Georgia Mountains was a fantastic read! You perfectly described the different rafting experiences available in the region, from the more laid-back family-friendly options to the adrenaline-pumping rapids for experienced rafters. I have personally gone rafting in the Georgia Mountains before, I can confirm that it is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. You also provided practical information about each rafting company, such as pricing and location, as well as personal anecdotes and recommendations and I found that really useful for those who may want to visit there as well.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi, Dave! We’re lucky to have some of the best whitewater rafting in the world in our area – I’m glad that you found this information on whitewater rafting in North Georgia (and nearby areas) to be helpful!

  2. Anastazja says:

    Wow!  You have offered a ton of information in this article.  We are traveling east this summer and wanted to see a lot of the country side.  Rafting is now a must.  I canoe in white water while hunting up north, but nothing like this.  There are so many tours to choose from.  I was wondering if there is an upper age limit on any of these tours.  We are old but in pretty good shape.  We have not yet decided where were are going to visit, but we will for sure be near one of these spots you have showed. Thank you for adding to our vacation plans.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Anastazja, I’m glad you feel adventurous even though you are concerned that there might be an upper age limit that might limit your ability to raft the rivers. I haven’t heard of this being an issue, but it would be smart to call the outfitters directly to make sure that they’ll be able to accommodate any of your concerns. Have a great trip!

  3. GVporras says:

    White water rafting is one of the greatest experience I had, couple years ago I did The Nantahala River because of the beginner experience, it was such an amazing experience, I totally recommend it for people that don’t have any experience rafting. 
    We getting ready for a summer vacation and returning to this place is on my top list. 
    Thank you for sharing the local rafting places in north Georgia. I am glad to know what else is nearby!

    • Alyce says:

      The Nantahala is such a scenic place to spend a summer day. Enjoy your return trip to the area. Have a great time!!

  4. only1hugh says:

    I have always been a thrill-seeker so Class III and even Class IV rapids are appealing  I certainly first however have to get my feet wet more at the dam-controlled rivers such as at Nantahala. Being from the Caribbean this is not something that we are accustomed to but being on the river, in all that lush forest with amazing views of nature all around sounds magnetic. I would certainly entertain booking with NOC or the Paddle Inn Rafting company. The fun as I saw in the short video is to die for. 

    • Alyce says:

      The Nantahala is a gorgeous river that winds through lush, tall mountains. I’m sure you’ll love the Nantahala rafting experience for both the thrill and the beautiful scenery! Enjoy!!

  5. terryiching says:

    This isn’t just an article; this is an excellent first-class reference guide to whitewater rafting in the Southeast. This is a thorough, no questions to ask article. I like the fact you describe the different types of whitewater rafting, and what’s appropriate for family fun and what’s appropriate for serious whitewater rafters. The videos are a great addition to get a feel for the rivers and rafting companies who provide the gear and guides. My brother introduced me to whitewater rafting two years ago in Colorado and I fell in love with the whole whitewater rafting lifestyle. It’s so therapeutic to be out on the river. As I stated earlier, this is a thorough reference guide for anyone looking to find a spot for their level of expertise to enjoy whitewater rafting in the Southeast. Enjoy!

    • Alyce says:

      Thanks so much! White water rafting is a great way to experience the rush and thrill of fast water, along with the peace and beauty of nature. 

  6. bethebest#128 says:

    I like how concise and niche-specific this post is. If someone visits your site and is interested in rafting, they are definitely going to want to give your site another look. I also think that the use of social media watermarks (i.e. Twitter) enhanced the quality of article and amplified the level of intrigue. 

    However, this article needed a more assertive stance and a more solid close. It just sort of ended on a waterfall, I you catch my raft…

    Very effective and helpful!

  7. Michael says:

    Quite exciting fun and sensible rules in place for kids. Rafting like many sports is a good character building sport. You will never have things go your way all the time and you have to work to get to where you want to go. 

    As well as facing all the challenges of white water rafting your having fun and making friends. 

     Nice write up about those rivers, I will have to get up there and try some out.

    • Alyce says:

      Hi Michael, It is true that the rivers will demand certain things but the challenges are part of what makes it such an exciting experience! I hope you have a great trip!

  8. Dominique says:

    Hi. So good to find your article. I love travelling and I am interested in finding new things to do these days. Your article was thorough and precise, it gave me all the information I needed to figure out what I need to get started. I have never been to Georgia nor tried rafting before but your article made me want to try it!! Thank you again, I’m  so glad I found it! 

    • Alyce says:

      Rafting on white water rapids is definitely a thrilling way to spend some time in the mountains! Enjoy!!

  9. LineCowley says:

    Rafting can be a very thrilling experience, but it can also be dangerous if you are not wearing the right gear or the river is in flood. There seems to be a great choice of rafting options available in the Georgia Mountains. Do you now which one would be the best for somebody who has never done any rafting?

    • Alyce says:

      Hello, you are right to be concerned about following safety precautions. The featured outfitters offer guided trips on rivers with different levels of skill required and differing rapid class levels. 

      For families with children too young for whitewater rafting, a trip on the Toccoa River for tubing is an easy way to relax on the river. 

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