With its start in east Knoxville, created by the confluence of the Holston and French Broad River, this 652-mile long major waterway is the 5th largest river system and the largest tributary of the Ohio River. From it's headwaters in Knoxville, the Tennessee River flows southwest towards Chattanooga before turning westward through the Cumberland Plateau into northern Alabama, here it continues eventually joining the Ohio River at Paducah, Kentucky. TVA has established a stairway of nine dams and locks along the River’s mighty stretch, with the Fort Loudoun and Watts Bar Dams residing in our region.
Fishing: Flowing right through the heart of Knoxville, the Tennessee River is very accessible to anglers. Fishing can be as simple as casting a line off one of the greenways that contour the river, to accessing the River from one of the many local piers and docks. A complete listing of the ramps, piers and docks are listed on the blueways map. Check our local fishing page for the Parks and Greenways that provide waterfront access.
Paddling: Located in the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center, the Billy Lush Board Shop can get you geared up to paddle the Tennessee River! They offers canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards for rent and if you're new to the sport, you can sign up for one of their classes. The blueways map shows multiple put-ins for the Tennessee River, many are in our City and County Parks.
Ijams Nature Center offers an ADA adaptive dock located at the Ijams River Landing on the Tennessee River. The amenity allows paddlers of all abilities to have the opportunity to experience nature from Knoxville’s arguably greatest natural resource: its rivers. In addition to expanding paddling opportunities, the dock is the first step in Ijams offering adaptive recreation for individuals with physical challenges. The nature center has two adaptive kayaks and partnering with Catalyst Sports, offers adaptive paddling programs. The dock is free and open to the public. Motorized watercraft are not permitted. Future plans for the River Landing include new space for environmental education programs, as well as paddling rentals for those who do not have their own boards or boats. Ijams River Landing can be accessed from Island Home Avenue by turning onto the gravel path across the street from Mead’s Quarry.