4 Types of Flora and Fauna You May Spot While Rafting the Ocoee River
While experiencing the excitement of class III and IV rapids on our white water rafting trips, you’ll also have the chance to view some natural wonders during your journey! The Ocoee River flows through a scenic gorge in the Cherokee National Forest, where you’re likely to see everything from beautiful wildflowers to amazing wildlife! Here are 4 types of flora and fauna that you may spot while rafting the Ocoee River:
1. Wide Variety of Mammals
During the slower portions of our white water rafting trips, keep your eyes peeled along the shore! The forest along the banks of the Ocoee River is home to a wide variety of mammals, including black bears, beavers, raccoons, chipmunks, river otters, gray foxes, and white-tailed deer! The Cherokee National Forest is a sanctuary for about 1,500 black bears and they are easiest to spot on the south side of the river.
2. Beautiful Species of Birds
Birdwatchers will be in heaven while rafting the Ocoee River as there are many beautiful species of birds in the area! Some of the birds that you may spot during our white water rafting trips include blue jays, barn swallows, cardinals, mourning doves, sparrows, and chickadees. The region is also home to some of the southernmost nests of the American Bald Eagle! There are raptors in the gorge too, such as turkey vultures, hawks, and peregrine falcons.
3. Various Types of Reptiles and Amphibians
Another one of the types of flora and fauna that you may spot while rafting the Ocoee River is reptiles! Some of the reptiles found in the gorge include the common snapping turtle, the eastern box turtle, and the southeastern five-lined skink. Keen eyes may also spot amphibians such as frogs and toads, as well as notable species of salamanders including red-cheeked salamanders (also known as Jordan’s salamanders) and hellbenders.
4. Breathtaking Wildflowers
If you don’t see any wildlife during your Ocoee rafting trip, you can definitely count on the sight of some breathtaking wildflowers! Guests joining us on our spring trips in April and early May are treated to the sight of flame azaleas with bright orange flowers, while June visitors see the banks of the Ocoee River lined with white and pink rhododendrons! One of the early summer wildflowers is the exotic passion flower (Passiflora incarnata), which was once the official state flower of Tennessee. There are also two species of smaller flowering plants that are only found in the Hiwassee and Ocoee gorges, which are the Ocoee leatherflower and Ruth’s golden aster.
About Our Rafting Trips
Our white water rafting trips are a thrilling way to explore the beauty of the Ocoee River, so bring your family and friends along for the adventure of a lifetime! The powerful flow of the dam-controlled river creates a trip of non-stop action, complete with big waves and 17 major rapids! All of our trips are led by a professional guide who is dedicated to providing you with a fun and safe time on the river, so you won’t want to miss this unforgettable experience!
Now that you know what types of flora and fauna you may spot while rafting the Ocoee River, check out all of our white water rafting trips in Ocoee TN today to book your trip! We look forward to seeing you this season!