The Tennessee River is a beautiful waterway that is navigable in its entire length from Knoxville, Tennessee to the Ohio River at Smithland, Kentucky. The river offers boaters a "user friendly" environment with many marinas, coves, and great towns along the way.
The waters of the Tennessee are usually calm, being controlled by Locks & Dams that form several large lakes. It is actually a river that flows through lakes. The scenery often changes from mountainous, to farmland, to long stretches of forestland, to some very nice towns along the route.
Following is a brief tour of the Tennessee River:
The Tennessee River begins at the confluence of the Holston and French Broad Rivers, just east of Knoxville, TN. The entire length of the Tennessee River is navigable, being maintained by the U.S. Army Corp on Engineers, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the U.S. Coast Guard. Some of my most memorable experiences, besides the natural beauty, on the Tennessee River are my encounters with the helpful, friendly people along the river.
Be sure to have a camera onboard. There are so many varieties of terrain that you will look forward to going around the next bend to see what is next to see.
Fishing is good on the Tennessee River. There is not only the standard river fish like catfish, carp, and gar, but there are game fish also and many of the lakes of the Tennessee River host large bass tournaments.
This is the lock gate closing from inside the lock chamber at the impressive Wilson Lock and Dam on the Tennessee River. This lock will lift or lower a boat about 95 feet, depending on which way the boat is heading.
Locking through is not as scary as it might look. It is a good idea to know the locking procedures, then just follow them. I found the lockmasters on the Tennessee River to be exceptionally helpful an friendly. Just be patient! On a downriver trip, one will experience a river that gradually widens into the lakes, then becomes a river again immediately below each lock & dam. There are nine locks between Knoxville and Paducah. Kentucky Dam lock being the busiest. It is often faster to take the Barkley canal to the Cumberland River and lock through the Barkley Lock to get to the Ohio River. This is one of the many tips that will be found in the Tennessee River Guidebook.
Explore this beautiful river. Get to know the towns and the wonderful people on the river and along the banks. You will discover beaches, mountains, and remote islands. Enjoy the natural beauty of the river and LEAVE NO TRACE THAT YOU WERE THERE!