Top 10 Places to Kayak in Tennessee

From the rivers to the mountains, lake and the whole shebang in the middle, Tennessee is a standout as one of the dynamic states in the USA. Simply observing photos of the land truly makes your blood rush. Tennessee becomes very hot and one of the most loved activities is to chill during spring and summer (and sometimes even in fall) by the river.

Regardless of whether you are kayaking in Tennessee or you are on a raft, there is room on the river for you. Spending a day drifting on the river with friends is a very enjoyable activity. We’ll talk about a few of the best rivers in Tennessee to kayak.

History of kayaking in Tennessee

Tennessee is a southeastern state with a Rocky Mountain feel to it. While there is no coastline in Tennessee the kayaking options are still there. There is a network of streams, lakes, and rivers everywhere throughout the southern jewel. Tennessee is a chief whitewater kayaking and boating state with the Olympic quality Ocoee River at the forefront. Since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Tennessee's kayaking has become synonymous with whitewater paddling. 

Be that as it may, Tennessee likewise has a plenty of alternatives for recreational kayaking, paddling, and pontoon coasting choices throughout the mountains and down into the valleys close to the urban communities. Tennessee is notable for its kayaking around the state and it is a location goal for kayakers hoping to sharpen their paddling skills. 

Only miles from the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) and home of the Ocoee Whitewater Center (OWC), the region of Tennessee is a magnet for whitewater kayakers. 

Choose the right kayak and get geared up because Tennessee offers a few areas for beginners, intermediate, and skilled kayakers. If you want to appreciate the outdoors and are searching for the 10 best places to kayak in Tennessee then you’re in the right place. 

Barren Fork River

1. Barren Fork River

The river is 37.7 km long and feeds into the Collins River. It further goes into Cumberland River. This makes it a portion of the great Mississippi division. The Barren Fork starts from western Warren County in Tennessee and is framed by the south and north points. These join close to the small area of Trousdale. 

From Trousdale, the properties near the river bank are exclusive and focused on the entrance area. The river is a mainstream recreational waterway with various points that are both private and open to the public. In spite of the fact that there is a lot of areas to camp above and underneath the dam. There are no open campgrounds close by making the Barren Fork River a daily trek skim for the common tourists.  

2. Buffalo River 

You will adore the completely clear water of the River. With rock beds, the waters continue to look perfect all the time, you will have various alternatives of where to kayak and where to hang out. At more than 120 miles in length, it's the elongated undammed river flowing through the province of Tennessee. Likewise, it offers plenty of bass fishing. You are probably going to see birds, deer, eagles, otters, turkeys, beavers and many more. Seeing buffalo, go to Bone's Campground. 

They offer rental kayaks and a great location for camping on the river. It will take less than 60 minutes from Nashville and probably two hours from Memphis, it’s an impeccable weekend getaway. 

3. Cumberland River 

The Cumberland is a monster 688-mile river that starts in Kentucky and after that, it extends its way through Tennessee. The river is referred to for its assortment it offers something for everybody. The vast majority of the river is gentle and ideal for loose drifting, however, there is a drop close to 68 foot Cumberland Falls that is offered for the bolder kayaker. 

The falls are a site that seems to be making "moonbows" at night (Rainbows made with moonlight). The river at that point, in the long run, loops its route directly through the core of the city of Nashville. From there it’s turned into a fundamental piece of the community. On the off chance that you wind up close to Nashville you should take a look at the Cumberland River and then observe the Cumberland Kayak Urban Adventure Company. Rentals are charged by time and you can pick between a solitary and a double kayak rental.  

4. Duck River 

The Duck River is in the center of Tennessee's most well-known river for kayaking and paddling. In light of the fact that it is the longest river in the state, it is found totally in the state, at 284 miles (457 km) long. The river is in much of the southern bit of central Tennessee and from spring to fall it's bursting with recreational boaters, canoers, kayakers, tubers, and swimmers. 

The Duck River with its many miles of smooth water and the banks dabbled with little campgrounds, groups, and parks. It’s the ideal goal for day trippers and extended trips alike. For boat rentals look at Raft One, for boating administration that will make your experiences exceptional. The surveys on this place can't be beaten and they offer numerous diverse treks and also a full duck river trip. 

5. Hiwassee River 

The Hiwassee River sits in a wide and considerable valley that is a wonderful setting for the many families, paddlers, and kayakers who visit the cool water of this state’s scenic river. The most well-known portion begins a couple of miles upstream just beneath the TVA Appalachia Powerhouse which supplies solid year-round water. Floaters will appreciate a fun loving assortment of splashy class II-II+ waterfalls and a few edges with many conceivable courses. 

You do not need to bother with understanding how to paddle the Hiwassee, however, an appropriate knowledge and the skill to maneuver it improves the experience much more. In case you're searching for more river time or maybe for a more delicate trek (class I-II) then look at the area just beneath Reliance. Be set up to experience fishermen in either area as these cool and picturesque waters are abounding with trout and some enormous striped bass! 

6. Stones River

It is named after Uriah Stone, the man to first go upstream this river, today it is known as the “Stone” River.  There is a lot of history encompassing this river and it has seen more battles than expected, starting with white pilgrims being killed by local Indians amid the early settlement days of what is currently Rutherford and Cannon regions to one of the deadliest clashes of the Civil War. 

A certain extent of the river is shut to people in general which make the extended outings relatively incomprehensible without the correct contacts. Be that as it may, the upper portion of the river feeds into Percy Priest Lake and is clear and much of the time enjoyed by water lovers.   

7. Clinch River 

A day out on the Clinch River makes for an incredibly picturesque boat ride with its unwinding low-level class l/ll streams. The river starts in Virginia while going directly through the Great Appalachian valley. It is an amazing 300 miles all through Tennessee, in the long run, streaming into the Tennessee River. 

The river is incredible for families and a great kayaking spot and the free-streaming Upper Clinch is likewise known for its natural assorted variety with a plenitude of untamed life wherever you turn. In the event that you are hoping to glide down the Clinch River or remain in the zone, give River Place on the Clinch a look. They have kayaks, rafts for lease, paddling and furthermore offer lodge and other outdoors housing. Being a genuine eco-conscious business, they are certainly a great option. 

8. Tennessee River 

The Tennessee River Blueway is a standout among the most beautiful regions in the whole state. A major piece of what makes this river so astounding is the Tennessee River Gorge which has been dubbed "The Tennessee Grand Canyon". You are actually skimming in a forested gorge that spins around you. 

Just 50 miles long, a great deal is packed into that short outing. For rentals on this river look at Kayak Chattanooga because they have standard rentals containing kayaks, paddle sheets, and rafts. In addition, they are situated on an excellent private and detached island. Only 10-15 minutes away from Chattanooga. 

9. Caney Fork River

Known for its beautiful excellence and fantastically great fishing the river Caney Fork is an exemplary Tennessee Float spot. Going for 144 miles, the Caney Fork streams northwest to the river Cumberland and joins the Collins and the Rocky Rivers at Great Falls Lake. Water is discharged by the Center Hill dam into the river keeping it continually streaming through Tennessee. 

Certainly, take a look at Canoe the Caney on the off chance that you need to lease a Kayak or Canoe. They are situated on a separated portion of the river and have trip courses that experience a few fascinating zones. Their territory of the river highlights everything from an old to a Bald Eagle’s nest, a cave, and an old 1800’s train bridge.

10. Look Out Creek

Post Creek is a local fortune and is magnificent. Formerly part of the Tennessee River Blueway, the rivulet streams underneath the western face of Lookout Mountain and joins the Tennessee River close to the elbow of Moccasin Bend. The river played a powerful part in the Civil War when the Confederate and Yankee soldiers, positioned on opposite banks, exchanged cigarettes and espresso beans over the water. 

Wandering up the spring, you will come to appreciate a delicate and managed protection exercise as you go. Watch out for wild turkeys swaggering along the banks and river otters settling in the water. You'll glide past the Paddler's Perch tree house and have the chance to investigate a side stream that passes underneath the railroad bridge. In case you're going downstream then you'll see the brook expand and feel the current become tiny. 

Blue herons and kingfishers are regularly seen swimming in the shallow lakes of Cummings Bottom. Over two miles underneath the nature point, the Lookout Creek joins the Tennessee River Blueway where an entire universe of flat-water kayaking is standing by. 


Best season/ time to kayak in Tennessee

Kayaking in Tennessee is one of those exercises where you can bring along as much as you need. All you truly need is food and drink on the river, a cooler to keep it in, a towel and some sunblock and you can leave everything else! The cost, as a rule, isn't too high either. Before taking off to the river just ensure that you set aside the opportunity to acquaint yourself with Tennessee's Paddle Sports Laws. 

There are some basic things you should know in order to avoid breaking any law. These laws are set up to secure the river and to protect you. The best time to visit Tennessee is from spring to fall or between May and August when the temperatures are high, yet not very hot, and many of the significant events and concerts happen then. It gets sweltering amid Tennessee summers, however, Tennessee warmth is great! 

There is no better inclination on one of those August days than to spend some time in that chilly river water. It will quickly cool you down while letting you have a good time. Simply be cautious as moving water can get hazardous in a rush. 

Training Centers in Tennessee

From the minute you sit in a kayak, the training centers make beginners go through the basic training for kayaking guaranteeing that they have extremely stable fundamental abilities that will take them far. Kayaking is an exciting game and can be appreciated in so many ways. 

In any case, it can be extremely unsafe in the event that you are a beginner and you end up in a rushing river. There are a number of rivers in the middle Tennessee where you can kayak. When you've been itching to try kayaking out for a long time then Tennessee's many lakes, rivers, and streams are an ideal place to begin. What's more, it's not as hard to take a stab at kayaking as you may think. 

You simply need some training, a bit of fundamental information and a few supplies. The following are the three top kayak training centers in Tennessee. 

  • Nantahala Outdoor Center

With so many years of experience, the Paddling School Teachers of NOC are committed to making the finest learning condition for a first timer in a kayak. They offer a one day course which will make you learn quality kayaking tips and directions. Learn fundamental kayaking abilities including vessel control, paddle strokes etc. Your educators will take you to a proper river to place your procured kayaking abilities to use after doing exercises on the water!

  • Wataunga Kayak

Watauga Kayak possesses a casual experience paddling pace and style. All the courses are outlined considering your particular interests as well as capacities whether it's rowing across the water or a lake, kayaking is as an outing for you. Private teachings are also available.  

  • River Queen Voyages

The Nashville Scene has voted this as the "Best View of the City." If you want to get outside or kayak then the River Queen Voyages is unique and the chief downtown kayak supplier on the popular Cumberland River. Check out the well-known Nashville horizon in the water! 

Camping sites in Colorado

With 56 state parks, 1100 miles of trails and more than 80 waterfalls, is there any good reason why you wouldn't have any desire to spend time outdoors in Tennessee? With so many astonishing waterfalls, it's difficult to figure out where to begin. For all the adventurous and outdoorsy souls out there, Tennessee is a treat for you! There are awesome spots to set up a portable shelter or hang a loft or stop a trailer. Mountains, lakes, rivers and each one of those lovely Tennessee normal marvels are out there for you to investigate.

  • Cherokee National Forest - Tellico Plains

It is the best spot for the daring ones. You can explore, fish and climb as much as you want around here in the wild. Tennessee is delightful and these exceedingly overlooked woods is a shrouded pearl. 

  • Bandy Creek – Oneida

Situated off of the Bit South Fork the Bandy Creek Campground can house approximately 181 separate camping areas and there are showers, fire rings and open-air tables included. 

  • Foster Falls – Jasper

The Foster Falls campground has 26 provincial campgrounds perfect for little trailers, tents or camps. The Foster Falls Campground is the main outdoor zone in the recreation center where visitors may stop at pop-up campsites. The campground is open all year-round. All spots have a fire ring and an open-air table. Most areas are lush, offering some shade and have a leveled rock surface. 

A couple areas are on a slight grade and there is no water or electric breakups. However, hot showers and a restroom are accessible and no gas generators are permitted at the Foster Falls Campground.


There you have it, a few marvelous potential locations and kayak experiences in the territory of Tennessee. Spend the summers this year out on the water. Kayaking enables you to encounter the outdoors in a way like no other. Hit up a few friends, make a few arrangements and prepare for a kayaking adventure. You can spend all day reading about kayaking, yet the time has come to book your trip. Go out in the water and have fun with a kayak in Tennessee. You will love it and enjoy it a lot!

Gear up and Happy Kayaking!

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