US National Whitewater Center
USACK Training Headquarters
Located in Southwest Charlotte, the US National Whitewater Center opened in August 2006. It immediately became the new home for USA Canoe and Kayak (USACK). The center covers over 300 acres adjacent to the Catawba River. Although the main attraction is the Olympic level man made multi-channel whitewater river, the center also boasts the country’s tallest outdoor climbing center, mountain biking trails, a challenge course, and hiking trails. The newest addition to the center is the Mega Zipline – four 1,123 foot ziplines across the rapids!
The world’s only multi-channel recirculating whitewater river, which was inspired by the Penrith Whitewater Stadium used in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, has been designated as an official Olympic training site. Rapids range from class II to class IV, and the center has the ability to change the course as needed with removable ‘pegs’ and adjustable gates along the course. Release times vary, so it’s best to contact the center before visiting if you want to observe or navigate the river.
Kayak instruction is available at all levels in both group and private settings. For experienced paddlers, run the channels on your own or with a guide. The two large collection pools at both ends of the course allow you to practice flat water skills, as well as access to the Catawba River, which is adjacent to the Center.
Guided raft trips are also available. All equipment and instruction is provided, with wetsuits available for rent during cooler weather. Lasting around two hours, the trips cover approximately 5 miles of whitewater on class II to class IV rapids. Raft trips navigate all channels of the center.
Overlooking the competition channel is the country’s tallest outdoor climbing center. A 30′ multi-sided wall is covered, along with a 46′ tall spire is the place to experience free form climbing, along with bouldering and rappelling. A grass amphitheater adjacent to the climbing area is the perfect spot to watch climbing and whitewater action.
The Team Development Center offers your group the chance to forge bonds and develop leadership with the help of a USNWC facilitator. Programs are specially designed for each group to maximize the experience through ground activities, high ropes, and low ropes courses.
Mountain biking trails cover 11 miles on the USNWC’s hilly, wooded terrain. These trails are geared toward the experienced riders, and helmets are required. You can also hike these trails and see the Catawba River, as well as the various activities going on at the USNWC at any given time.
More information, including hours of operation and rates, can be found on the USNWC official website.
Take it outside!