Obed Wild & Scenic River Paddling
Lancing, TN 37770
Paddling and fishing bring many people to the Obed Wild & Scenic River. The Obed River and its two main tributaries, Clear Creek and Daddys Creek, cut into the Cumberland Plateau of east Tennessee, creating deep gorges and producing some of the best whitewater in the Southeast. Forty-five miles of streams within the park are available for fishing and paddling. There are also hiking trails and sheer cliffs and boulders for rock climbing — it's a mecca for adventure! The few bridges that cross the river provide limited access. The river gorge is seasonally home to more than 100 species of birds, as well as bobcats, beavers, raccoons, minks, otters and white-tailed deer. Stop by the visitor center in Wartburg for more info.
Paddling: For paddlers, the river includes three different difficulty classifications II-IV, making it one of the best whitewater paddling rivers in the eastern United States. There are no commercial outfitters operating on the Obed, so only experienced boaters should venture here. The cold, rainy season between December and April is when the rivers are high enough for white-water trips. At that time, streams have nearly continuous rapids and dangerous currents. Paddling this kind of water requires experience, skill and careful planning. The Obed River's maximum flow in cubic feet per second can reach a level of 100,000 CFS after periods of heavy rain. For paddlers, the optimum flow ranges from 2500-3000 CFS.