Chattanooga area Tenn. river

Hi. Anyone out there have any info on paddling the Tenn. river, putting in somewhere near by Chattanooga. How strong is the current? Would it be doable to paddle upstream for a while and then turn around or do you have to do a shuttle. I’m a strong paddler.



Harrison Bay
Head north on hwy 58 (15 miles or so) and put in at Harrison Bay. Or you can go on out to Birchwood (turn left onto Birchwood Pike off hwy 58, go another 14 miles I think) and follow the signs to Grasshopper. Wonderful areas out that way. The river is wide and slow. Tons of bays, creeks, areas to explore. Watch out for the Bass Boats. Typically great folks but they can get awfully focused on their fishing. They often race around out there practicing for tournaments. It’s not uncommon on the Tennessee to see a tracker or a ranger etc.(bass boats) with a 200 HP outboard flying across the water to another fishing hole…

Chatt paddling
I frequently visit the Chatt area and a friend and I paddle on the Tennessee. We put in at various places, but the two I remember are downtown, just below the aquarium, and out towards Signal Mt., off Suck Creek Road. For more detailed directions, you might check with the helpful folks at Rock/Creek Outfitters, on Frazier Avenue.

The current is considerable but we always paddle upstream then back down. The only time this was a problem was a day when the winds were much stronger than usual.

There’s an island not far from the aquarium which is a bird sanctuary–nice place to get out and stretch your legs on the return trip. Last year we saw several dozen blue heron nests there. It’s especially striking to see that so close to the city. In fact, that’s what’s so interesting about paddling the area–a unique view of the city.

Do watch out for power boaters, as the other poster said. Have fun!

More Info

Harrison Bay is a part of the lake above Chickamauga Dam and the island downtown, below the dam, is MacClellan Island. You have several public ramps to choose from above or below. Pleasure and fishing boats have been mentioned, be aware that the Tennessee River also carries commercial barge traffic.

Here’s a link to some photos of various landmarks:

Click on the link for mile 471 to move upstream and the link at 424 to move further downstream.

thanks all

Current on the Tennessee
Above the Chickamauga Dam where I live there is no discernable current. Below the dam, toward downtown the current is about 2-3 mph.

I have put in at the Greenway near the dam, and paddled to downdown to get picked up at Coolidge Park. Great fun and a quick 7 mile trip.