Powell River Paddling
Tazewell, TN 37879
From the Tennessee border, the Powell River runs southward for 62 miles through remote rugged ridges and undeveloped valleys before reaching it's confluence at the Chuck Swan Wildlife Management Area, where it merges with the Clinch River into Norris Lake. Public access along the river is primarily limited to bridge crossings and small pull-offs along roads paralleling the river. There are several primitive launching areas for paddlers and one developed launching area managed by the TWRA at Mulberry Creek. During the mid-18th century, a man called Powell was accompanying the exploration party of Dr. Thomas Walker. Apparently he carved his name into so many of the trees along the river's path that later explorers and early pioneers came to call the stream "Powell's River" and the valley "Powell's Valley".
Paddling: This quiet flatwater river, rates class I from the Virginia border to Norris Lake. Even though there are sufficient ripples, small waves and fast-moving water, it's still considered suitable for beginners and novices. The biggest issue facing paddlers is that there are long, remote stretches without any access. A highly scenic river that courses through pastoral meadows, steep wooded ridges and rising bluffs with very little usage except the occasional local angler in a johnboat.