Clinch River Paddling
Tazewell, TN 37879
Lined with sycamores and silver maples, the Clinch River's wide waterway flows southwest from Tazewell, Virginia through the Great Appalachian Valley down to Kingston, just west of Knoxville, where it joins the Tennessee River. The Clinch River is home to 40 varieties of freshwater mussels and 19 rare fish species. This is a mild but fast moving river with access points scattered along its entire length. Public access along the river is primarily limited to bridge crossings and small pull-offs along roads that parallel the river. There are several primitive launching areas for canoes or small boats and three developed launching areas managed by TWRA.
Paddling: Suitable for beginner paddlers, the class I-II water provides over 50 miles of floatable river allowing for longer 2-3-day paddling trips. Once the river winds its way into Tennessee, the waters settle down as it continues its course through rising mountains to its merging with the Powell River. Now wider, the river continues toward Norris Dam. Once released from the dam, the Clinch's tailwater is accented by the pastoral setting of wooded ridges and pastures. A popular put-ins is Solway Park in Oak Ridge, adjacent to Haw Ridge Park. Paddlers should be sure to check water levels before embarking on a trip down the Clinch since drought conditions can make passage of some stretches difficult.