Blue Hole Ocoee
Directions to Blue Hole From Atlanta
Revised 19 July 2022
There are two routes to get to Blue Hole from Atlanta. The
more "scenic" route takes you up I-75 to Hwy 411 and then along Parksville Lake, TVA's big
Ocoee #1 dam and the Ocoee River Gorge itself. It is also significantly longer
and has more two-lane roads as opposed to highways. I've moved those directions
to this separate file for brevity.
The second route, described below, is a lot quicker since it
involves more freeway-speed driving, but it's not as scenic and
oddly enough, involves more turns.
The Faster Route to Blue Hole from Atlanta
- Take I-75 North out of Atlanta.
- Take the ramp for I-575 and keep going north. This is yer
basic freeway with two lanes in either direction, and
- Stay on I-575. I-575 ends and the road becomes a four-lane divided
highway (not controlled access), with the occasional traffic
light and intersection. Keep going.
- You're now on GA Hwy 5 (among others) heading north. Put a
CD in and set the cruise-control for 65. It'll be about an hour.
(I recommend Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of
Darkness, which runs an hour and six seconds...and it's one long
song, a progressive-metal masterpiece. :))
You'll cruise through Jasper, and then East Ellijay. You can start
paying attention again as you pass through the tiny hamlet of Cherry Log.
- The next town is Blue Ridge. At Blue Ridge you'll come
to a traffic light with a McDonalds on the opposite left corner and the
signs will indicate Hwy 5 makes a left turn here. Follow the sign and
make a left.
- You're now on Hwy 5 between Blue Ridge and McCaysville, GA.
This is a well-laid two-lane road with an occasional passing lane
on uphills. It's about 10 miles to McCaysville. As you approach
the town the road will go downhill to a river. Cross the river on
the bridge. At the stop sign, where the road dead-ends, take
a left. This intersection is actually located in Georgia and Tennessee,
which explains why no-one's put up a traffic light yet. (!)
You can see a blue dotted line on the ground which marks the
state border, along with signs. As you turn left, you cross into
Copper Hill, Tennessee. As a warning, the speed limit here is 20 mph. It
gradually increases, but be extremely cautious with this since I've gotten a ticket here:
just because the road becomes a four-lane doesn't mean the speed limit is 55mph...yet!
- You'll go through two lights and cross some railroad tracks,
passing a small railyard on the left and a smelting plant
on the right. After a while the road will open up into
a four-lane divided highway. Don't exceed 45mph until a sign says you can do so.
After you go under a railway bridge keep to the right and watch for a junction
sign for US 64. The ramp will come up suddenly on the right. Take this ramp.
- At the foot of the ramp take a left. You are now on US Hwy
64. This intersection is located in Ducktown, TN.
- This part of US 64 is a wide two-lane road with some good hills.
You'll go about 7 miles on it, entering the Cherokee National
As you come down a hill you may see a brown sign for the Ocoee
Whitewater Center, although they should remove it since the building is gone.
Ahead of you it looks like the road gets narrower. Slow down.
- The upper parking lot by the ruins is closed; do NOT get in the turning lane.
Continue down the hill past the ruins. You'll see the day-use parking lot on your right.
A bit further you'll see the lower entrance on your left. Turn left here and drive back up the hill through the parking lot.
- You'll pass the only remaining restrooms on the left (basically permanent porta-potties).
You can park anywhere in this "fee area," but parking toward the top of the hill would be a shorter walk to the actual Blue Hole swimming hole. Go to one of the Daily Use fee kiosks and drop the $3 envelope in the slot, and put the stub on your dashboard. You're all set! Or, you can be like me and get an annual pass, online, at
Recreation.Gov. :) A pass for the
entire Cherokee National Forest is now $30 for 12 full months from the date of issue. That's a great
deal, since it also includes places like Mac Point Beach, Parksville Beach, the Chilhowee Recreation Area, and all the other Daily Use Fee Areas in the Forest including boat ramps and shooting ranges. Note that it does not include overnight camping in developed campgrounds, which runs typically $12-30 per night.
|Taken from the parking lot facing downriver
||Facing upriver: OWC was the red building in the distance
OWC itself, taken from the short-term parking lot. R.I.P. |
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