We went rafting on the Ocoee over Labor Day weekend. A coworker had recommended Quest (there are about 20 different companies), and we booked one of the half-day trips (Middle Ocoee) starting at 3:45. Temp was in the low 80s with scattered thunderstorms, and there were about 20 people (half-full bus) on the last tour of the day.
We had been on a handful of other rafting trips in the Western US, but this one stood out easily as the best. As other reviewers have commented, the staff are professional, friendly, hard-working, and do everything they can to make your experience rewarding, exciting, and safe. We ended up with Clay as a guide; he said he does about 200 trips per season, and that Quest is about 3rd or 4th in market share for Ocoee rafting companies. The river itself is tremendously exciting, watching kayakers and other rafters is almost as exciting as going through the rapids yourself.
The Quest gathering spot includes a nice picnic area, a well-equipped set of showers to use after rafting, and a volleyball court. The experience is a great balance between enjoying the fantastic scenery of the Cherokee national forest, and the inevitable commercial aspects of a guided trip. Yes, there are special photo opportunities, yes, there are gratuities for the guides, and yes, there is a request by the staff to recommend their company to your friends. But everyone we talked to, from the cashier to the guides to the bus driver, seems most interested in making sure you have a great time, and learn something interesting about the area. We will be back.
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