Norris Lake Paddling
Norris, TN 37828
Recreation abounds on Norris Lake where the mountains meet the water. This beautiful lake extends 56 miles up the Powell River and 72 miles up the Clinch River, surrounded by the majestic mountains of East Tennessee. In the 1930s, TVA established demonstration public parks at several locations on the new Norris Reservoir, including Cove Lake, Big Ridge, and the area around Norris Dam. These parks later became the nucleus of Tennessee's state park system. Norris Dam was completed in 1936 with a height of 265 feet and length of 1,860 feet across the Clinch River. The town of Norris was built to house construction workers on the dam. It was a planned community that became a model for others throughout the nation. Norris Lake has 809 miles of shoreline and 33,840 acres of water surface and is the largest reservoir on a tributary of the Tennessee River. In a year with normal rainfall, the water level in Norris Reservoir varies about 29 feet from summer to winter. Shoreline activities abound with trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. With hundreds of secluded coves, 2 state parks, two wildlife management areas, commercial marinas and 59 public access sites, Norris Lake has become a favored vacation destination. Both Norris Dam and Big Ridge State Parks provide a full line of park amenities for those that want to camp and stay awhile. An abundance of wildlife can be spotted including deer, turkey, great blue herons and a few eagles along with cows and horses grazing at the shoreline.
Paddling: From sheer cliffs along the dam waters to lush valleys surrounding the lake, this is a beautiful place to spend some time on the water. There are over 50 miles of islands, numerous picnic areas, caves, cliffs, beaches and gradual sloping shorelines — plenty of places to explore!