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U.S. National Whitewater Center

Tripadvisor (2,222) · Organization
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is a not-for-profit outdoor recreation and athletic training facility for whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rock … See more

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Oct 27, 2022
I was a food and beverage manager here. I was discriminated against 3 different times. One time by McKenzie, which is another food and beverage manager, about my religion, another time about my age… Full review by stephenhY7933SN
Sep 5, 2022
We were here twice in the same month to celebrate birthdays with friends & family. We loved the food, drinks, music, & the beautiful area all around us! I love going to this place. Lots of activities… Full review by fisher05
Aug 8, 2022
This place is awful. Paid $220 for whitewater rafting. Upon arrival, we were given a time for our rafting. A storm came to the area and obviously no rafts could operate. We waited as long as we we… Full review by S9614NKlisat

Articles

Plenty of Outdoor Activities
Take your pick between 24 different land and water activities at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a 500 acre facility northwest of downtown Charlotte. At the world's largest man-made whitewater river, you'll have your choice of a variety of activities, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and, of course, whitewater rafting. If you'd prefer to stay dry, the center can accommmodate you there, too: land activities include mountain biking, rock climbing and zip-lining, with plenty of running trails and obstacle courses for those with a competitive edge. Past travelers say the center is a great place to take your family for the day — though visitors admit tickets can get pricey. If you'd like to try your hand at whitewater, flatwater and land activities at the center, buy an AllSport Pass. Anyone 10 and older pays $54; admission for children 9 years old or younger costs $44. You also have the option to buy a CoolSport package that includes flatwater and land activities or the QuickSport package, which allows you purchase one experience at a time. Along with admission fees, you should also budget for the cost of food. The center does not allow outside food anywhere on the premises, meaning you'll need to refuel at one of the three eateries available on site, the River's Edge Bar & Grill, The Market or the Pump House Biergarten, which features 20 craft beers. Find the U.S. National Whitewater Center about 12 miles northwest of downtown Charlotte. Parking is $5 per day. The main gate and trails are open daily — weather permitting — from dawn until dusk. Certain activities have different operating hours; check the center's website for the most up-to-date information on opening and closing times and news about special events, like concerts and competition trials.
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Two Channel, Man-Made River
At the heart of the U.S. National Whitewater center is a two channel, man-made river. The class II through IV rapids are the local training ground for Olympic athletes and weekend warriors. While rolling hills, green farmland, and a variety of forests make the piedmont of North Carolina a fantastic place for all sorts of outdoor sports, it doesn’t provide much opportunity for the swift waters needed to make a first rate kayak run. Since the U.S. National White Water Center opened, however, Charlotte’s river running crowd has had a place to paddle without the two-hour drive to western NC. As the centerpiece of the amazing USNWC, the man-made whitewater channels offer super quick access to class II to IV rapids for kayaks, canoes, and even SUPs. Access is the greatest attribute of the U.S. National Whitewater Center. So many sporting opportunities near to one another means that visitors can try multiple events in one day. And the proximity to Charlotte’s population centers means they don’t have to drive far to do it. The 12 million gallons of well water that fill the man-made river is motivated by 7 – 680 horsepower pumps and is divided into two channels. The 21 feet of drop common to both is spread out over a longer distance in the wilderness channel. This allows for a somewhat gentler ride to the class III and IV rapids of the competition Slalom channel. Combined with the more stable Upper and Lower Pools, these different paddling environments give the right amount of challenge to the full range of paddlers. Newbies can take beginner lessons from USNWC staff, learning to roll in the calm pool waters while the best of the best, the U.S. National Slalom Team train on the competition channel. Several fixed “boulders” create a more natural flow to the river while a handful of movable diverters are used to change the feel of the channel to keep things interesting. While the predictable rapids of the manmade river do lack some of the natural beauty associated with epic southeast runs like the Gauley and the Green, there’s no beating the Center for training every level of paddler. Beginners benefit from a team of guides and instructors while experienced kayakers have a place for predictable flow without having to wait for dam releases or seasonal changes that effect water levels. Parking at the USNWC costs either $5 for one visit or $40 for a yearly pass. Paddlers must have their own boat and gear although they do offer demo’s for experienced kayakers if they're interested in buying from their retail selection. The water flows at the USNWC nine out of 12 months, giving a three months winter window for cleaning out the channels and gathering all the lost items.
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