North Carolina is the capital of NASCAR Nation, as well as the home of some of the most entertaining whitewater in the country. So, where else would you expect to find NASCAR speed combined with whitewater excitement into a single attraction?

Never the Same Ride TwiceFlip it to Extreme
The Whitewater Center boasts three different types of moveable obstacles aiding in creating adjustable waves: hydraulic, pinball flippers and pegboard.
The flippers let the Center turn a three-foot wave into a seven-foot wave with the turn of a crank.

It’s all at the  US National Whitewater Center, set on the banks of the Catawba River only 10 minutes outside of uptown Charlotte, NC. Here you will find the world’s largest recirculating artificial whitewater river and the only multiple channel one in existence. Huge pumps churn more than 536,000 gallons of water per minute into Class III and Class IV rapids, enough water to fill an Olympic-size pool in less than 20 seconds.

How Much Water?How Deep?
The artificial river contains 12 million gallons of treated water.  We are using a filtration and treatment system that does not utilize chemicals. The system treats the entire 12 million gallons every 24 hours
The river channel averages six feet in depth with a total elevation drop from start to finish of about 21 feet.

At the US National Whitewater Center paddlers also will find the world’s steepest slalom channel, highest volume big water paddling channel and a seven-foot high surf wave. These features and more can be adjusted and manipulated by a variety of controls. You can even hit the river after dark thanks to a powerful lighting system.

Paddlers of all skill levels can find an exciting experience on the 3,750 feet of river that is separated into channels. There’s the big water channel for seasoned paddlers, and even the less experienced can run this route in a raft with a guide. A beginner channel offers a little slower water and big eddies. The freestyle channel is a place for intermediates to hone their paddling skills. And up to 50 rafts can be on the river at once.

What’s the coolest element? Many people say it’s the 120-foot long conveyor belt at the end of the river. You paddle up, place the nose of your boat on the belt and it gives you a lift back to the upper pond. And you never have to get out of the boat.

Pump-tacularOlympic Scale
Each of the seven massive pumps weighs 12,500 lbs and can thrust80,000 gallons per minute down the river channel. One pump will fill up a 40′ x 25′ x 10′ pool in about one minute.
More than 1,400 truck loads of concrete have been used in the project (that’s more than 14,000 cubic yards!) and there are more than 4,000 cubic yards of boulders in the channel.

Whitewater’s not your thing? No worries. Check out the rock climbing center that features 40 routes up 47-feet and 37-feet tall towers. There’s a high rope challenge course, ziplines, 11 miles of trails for running, biking and hiking, and flat-water paddling on the real river. There’s a restaurant and other retail facilities on site, too.

So, the next time you feel the need for speed, you can hit the water as well as the track in North Carolina – the home of fast cars and fast water.

whitewater center channel design

About The Author:  Harry Hoover is the author of  Moving To Charlotte: The Un-Tourist Guide.