Kayaks $35 All day!
20' Pontoon Boats $320 Jon Boat $150 for 6 hr.
At the Tennessee River Gorge® Island, you will have every opportunity to quench your thirst for adventure. This island is the most beautiful and untouched part of the 26-mile TRG and located at the widest part of the gorge—spanning almost half-a-mile wide.
TRG boasts of calm waters all year round. It moves 1 to 3 mph year round. Even after heavy rains, the river gorge remains serene. As a result, taking a boat ride, canoe or kayak through the gorge is not only comfortable but also absolutely safe.
During the trip, you can feast your eyes on gorgeous mountains and cliffs that are up to 1,800'ft in height. The top of these natural wonders are the highest points of the 652-mile Tennessee River. If you wish to enjoy the view atop these mountains and cliffs, we can refer you to Snooper's Rock, Prentice Cooper State Forest, Tennessee Wall and Shake Rag Ruins from the 1800s—a riverfront destination that we share property lines with. In doing so, you can gain access to 35-mile hiking trails along the TRG.
The TRG has 27,000 acres for you to explore. There is a bounty of sights to behold. Additionally, you can observe wildlife, which includes the following:
The Complete Guide to Paddling Life in Chattanooga
For quality paddling in any shape or form, Chattanooga is inarguably a water lover’s dream come true. Within an hour of downtown, boaters can easily access world-class whitewater and scenic flatwater paddling destinations. At all times of the year you’ll find Chattanooga’s dedicated weekend warriors exploring the many nearby creeks and rivers with kayaks, canoes, rafts, and stand-up paddleboards. This rundown of some of the best local spots will help you plan your next excursion at one of Chattanooga’s many paddling attractions.
Ocoee River: This world famous river is a mere hour’s drive from downtown Chattanooga and is an experience not to be missed. The Ocoee is a dam-controlled, class III river that sees hundreds of thousands of boaters each year and was featured in the 1996 Olympics. The guaranteed seasonal flow and dynamic rapids make it one of the most beloved rivers in the world. Guided raft trips are a great way for people of all skill levels to explore the beautiful and exciting river. For kayakers, the Ocoee offers continuous and exciting rapids, eddies and play spots over its moderately challenging five-mile course.
Richland Creek: This creek, near Dayton, Tennessee, is not for the faint of heart. Getting to the put-in requires about a mile hike from the Laurel Snow parking area. The top quarter-mile of the run is the steepest section and is designated as class V. The bottom of Hut Rapid has one of the creek’s most noted features, a grin-worthy, 10-foot drop that guarantees catching some quality air time. Putting in right below Hut makes the creek a still-gnarly class IV run. A solid roll is absolutely mandatory to paddle this creek, and paddlers should plan to spend lots of time carefully scouting each rapid before dropping in. Richland Creek is at the apex of creek boating in the Chattanooga area and promises a thrilling and rewarding paddle for experienced kayakers.
Hiwassee River: Like the Ocoee, the Hiwassee River is also dammed and operates on a release schedule that provides guaranteed flow during the season. The Hiwassee is much tamer than other rivers in the area, making it perfect for a mellow paddling session. It’s popular for guided rafting trips or novice boaters looking to hone skills on a low-consequence river. The Hiwassee’s class I and II rapids make it great for families or people seeking a laid-back river day surrounded by beautiful scenery. The Powerhouse Boating Site is the usual launch spot, though there are other put-in options to make your trip shorter.
North Chickamauga Creek: Paddling the bottom section of the North Chick is a fantastic introduction to creek boating in the Southeast. This small segment is called the Bowling Alley, and is technical but low consequence, making it the perfect playground for boaters wanting to sharpen their skills. Bowling Alley is trailside and takes just a few minutes to run, so it’s a favorite spot for laps or to sneak in a quick weekday paddle. For a longer, wilder experience, you can paddle the creek’s first 12 miles through remote gorges and secluded class III-V rapids. The creek has a continuous and challenging gradient, with little time for relaxing or recovering. Be prepared for a long, pushy run and plan to scout often. For an experienced boater, paddling the North Chick means finding an incomparably unique perspective of Chattanooga’s wilderness while experiencing some of the region’s best whitewater.
Tennessee River: This impressive waterway cuts directly through downtown, providing tons of fun activities and making Chattanooga sparklingly picturesque. The 50-mile section of the Tennessee River from Chickamauga Dam to Nickajack Lake is a National Scenic River Trail, and it’s this section that serves as Chattanooga’s playground. There’s a popular launch spot just below the Chickamauga Dam, easily accessed from the Riverwalk. You can float downstream to downtown, where your paddle will be dominated by gorgeous views of the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Walnut Street Bridge and the Tennessee Aquarium’s spectacular facade. You can explore McClellan Island, a 19-acre nature preserve with hiking and wildlife. You can also opt to put in right there at Coolidge Park, and head downstream through Moccasin Bend and into the Tennessee River Gorge. In the downtown area, you can rent kayaks and paddleboards from L2 Outside or River Canyon Kayaks.
West Fork of the Chickamauga Creek: Just a 25-minute drive from downtown Chattanooga, the West Fork of Chickamauga Creek is a lovely spot for a light paddle. You can start from Lee and Gordon’s Mills in Chickamauga, GA, and follow your nose up or downstream depending on your desired trip length. Upstream from this put-in the water is deep and calm, optimal for stand-up paddleboarding or taking a quick out-and-back. If you go downstream, you can turn your trip into an all-day adventure. Along the way, you’ll catch sight of the Chickamauga National Military Park and encounter a couple of small rapids where you might get a refreshing splash. Paddle almost 9 miles and you’ll find a takeout at Reed’s Bridge Road.
North Chickamauga Creek: While the beginning of the North Chick is extremely challenging, it eventually settles into a lazy but deep stream perfect for a fun family outing. This gentle section of the creek can be accessed from Greenway Farms, just a few minutes from downtown but very nicely secluded. The farm has two put-ins, which are close together by car but almost two miles apart by water. If you launch from the farm’s second put-in, you can paddle downstream and reach the Tennessee River just below the Chickamauga Dam in only 1.5 miles. Paddling upstream will take you toward Hixson, but there are often obstructive downed trees. Greenway Farms offers plenty of parking and closes at dark, so make sure to plan your outing accordingly.
Lookout Creek: You’d be hard-pressed to find a better flatwater paddling spot than Lookout Creek, which offers gorgeous views of Sunset Rock and Lookout Mountain—and often glimpses of aquatic wildlife. One launch point is from Reflection Riding Nature Center and Arboretum, which requires an entrance fee and is great if you have time to explore the grounds. You can also park for free and put in beneath the Cummings Highway Bridge a little ways downstream from the nature center. You can relax and explore Cummings Bottoms, which has shallow ponds, and then continue another mile to the Tennessee River. This creek is extremely mellow and great for all skill levels, and it’s made even better by its central location.
The 652-mile Tennessee River flows through the heart of Chattanooga and Southeast Tennessee, offering a variety of recreation activities on the river and lakes throughout the region.
The waterway flows south from Watts Bar Lake near Ten Mile and Spring City, south through Birchwood in Meigs County, continuing on to Chickamauga Lake in Dayton, known as the “New Bass Fishing Capital of the South.” From there, the river flows south through downtown Chattanooga and then south through the stunning Tennessee River Gorge to Nickajack Dam.
The Tennessee River also offers paddling access to a number of smaller regional waterways, including North and South Chickamauga Creeks, Citico Creek, Chattanooga Creek, Lookout Creek, the Sequatchie River, Battle Creek and others.
The following outfitters offer canoe, kayak and SUP rentals on sections of the Tennessee River in Southeast Tennessee:
Chattanooga Guided Adventures
River Canyon Adventures
21726 River Canyon Rd., Chattanooga, TN
131 River St, Chattanooga, TN
111 Frazier Ave, Chattanooga, TN
Hornsby Hollow Campground
On Watts Bar Lake
379 Hornsby Hollow Campground Ln., Ten Mile, TN
Rusty’s Kayaks & Paddleboards
Near Harrison Bay State Park
8332 Harrison Bay Rd, Harrison, TN
Scenic City Safari Shuttles & Outfitters
TN River Gorge Cabin & Canoe Rentals
9852 Mullins Cove Rd, Whitwell, TN
5600 Lake Resort Terrace, Chattanooga, TN
Rock Creek Rentals & Outpost
Hubert Fry Center & Chester Frost Park
Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center
On Lookout Creek
400 Garden Rd, Chattanooga, TN
Note: Please email [email protected] regarding listing edits
Go Back To BlogSours: https://www.southeasttennessee.com/tennessee-river-canoe-kayak-sup-outfitters/
The early portion of your canoe journey will take you through the beautiful city of Chattanooga, but the primary purpose of the trip is to experience the majestic beauty of the Tennessee River Gorge. The Tennessee River Gorge is sometimes nicknamed "The Tennessee Grand Canyon" for its tall bluffs rising up around the windy switchbacks of the Tennessee River. This beautiful area of our state includes about 27,000 acres of land and 26 miles of Tennessee River. I have viewed the gorge from many vantage points, all of which were beautiful and rewarding, but to really appreciate what the gorge has to offer, I recommend you view it from a canoe.
Wildlife is plentiful along the Tennessee River Blueway. Don't underestimate the variety of wildlife that can be observed around downtown Chattanooga. The wildlife downtown is different from the wildlife you might spot in the gorge, in that the animals are more habituated to close human activity and you will be able to approach them to a closer range than the wilder gorge wildlife. The majority of my best wildlife photographs were taken between the Chickamauga Dam and Williams Island.
I was able to photograph feeding Osprey, Beaver, Turkey Vulture, Raccoon, Great Blue Heron, Rabbit, Turkey and White Tailed Deer. In the Nickajack Lake area I was lucky enough to spot and photograph a Bald Eagle that flew directly in front of my canoe. That was the most exciting highpoint of my trip.
There is plenty of primitive camping available throughout the Tennessee River Blueway (see the map). The keyword here is primitive. You will need to pack everything in and EVERYTHING out. Some of the campsites are not maintained very well yet. I suggest you pack a tarp to lie down on the tall grass to create a smooth comfortable immediate campsite area.
Some of the campsites are owned and managed by organizations that require prior permission to camp. See the "Contacts" page for contact information to acquire permissions and reservations.
I traveled alone and I was in no hurry. Paddling solo, the trip took me four days and three nights. I started the afternoon of day one and finished the morning of day four. I estimated that I performed about 88,000 paddle strokes to move my little loaded canoe about 50 miles.
Of course there are many restaurants within portage in the downtown Chattanooga area, but after you leave the bridges, you are basically on your own for food and water. You should pack what you need. Replenish your water, drinks and ice at the Sullivan's Landing. I don't recommend you relying on the marina as a source of good food. The Little Store is good for drink and food.
Begin your trip at the Greenway Farm canoe portage dock on the south side of the property. It is above the dam, but the North Chickamauga Creek will take you below the dam. You will not have to go through the locks. End your trip at the Shellmound Campground near the Nick-a-Jack dam. Be sure to visit the map page for more information and coordinances.
I strongly encourage you to go out and create your own experience on the Tennessee River Blueway. I assure you it will be an outing you will not forget. Interesting article for additional reading.
In tn canoe chattanooga
Flat Water Paddling in Chattanooga, TN
While Chattanooga is perhaps better known for its world-class whitewater, its flat water paddling scene should not be ignored. It is, after all, a city built on the Tennessee River and one that is also home to a vast amount of expansive lakes, meandering tributaries, and secret creeks.
The crown jewel for canoeists, kayakers, and stand up paddleboarders in the area is the Tennessee River Blueway—a 50-mile stretch of river trail that runs from the Chickamauga Dam Recreation Area all the way to Nickajack Lake and which includes a number of different interconnected waterways.
Along the way, paddlers can explore the downtown portion of the river, circling Audubon Island and inspecting the limestone bluffs of the Art District as well as the underbellies of the bridges. Following this section, paddlers round the contour of Moccasin Bend, and shortly thereafter enter an especially magical 26-mile segment through the Tennessee River Gorge—aptly called the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee—before eventually reaching the terminus at Nickajack.
In addition to this flat water staple, Chattanooga is also home to quite a few pristine creeks and tributaries that offer unforgettable paddling experiences. From the emerald green waters of Lookout Creek, to the best kept paddling secret in town at West Chickamauga Creek, there’s no shortage of options for flat water enthusiasts in the Scenic City.
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