Embrace America's Rivers

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. It is a beautiful waterway that offers a variety of scenery and characteristics. It is a boater friendly river with plenty of marinas and anchorage opportunities, along with some great river towns. Above all, my most memorable experiences on the Tennessee River are my encounters with the helpful, friendly people along the river.

The Tennessee River is not entirely in Tennessee. It begins in the namesake state but also flows across northern Alabama, along the corner of Mississippi, back into Tennessee and then through Kentucky as it ends flowing into the Ohio River. On this modern-day course it forms many lakes, due to the TVA dams with the largest being Kentucky Lake. 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. The locks are user-friendly with the 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.

Having traveled the Tennessee River from Paducah to Chattanooga many times while working on the Delta Queen Steamboats, I became very familiar with the river and many of the communities. That experiences provided me with a basis for created a guidebook for the river but that alone was not enough. In June of 2009 I traveled from Kentucky Lake to Knoxville in my 22ft boat to gain small craft experience on the Tennessee. Anyone who has traveled rivers knows that they seem different going downriver than upriver. In fact they are, insomuch as line of site and currents. That is why a separate trip was required that will took me downriver from Knoxville to Paducah. One cannot make every stop along the river to gather important information and we often cannot tell what is available along the shore from the river, so another step was to drive the entire length of the river on both sides, cross every bridge and scout all locations that could be helpful for traveling boaters. Even after experiencing the river by boat and car, aerial views were done for a birds eye view of important details.

I always enjoyed the Tennessee River from the deck of a large steamboat, but that did not compare with the  adventure of traveling the river in a small craft. Being able to explore tributaries, coves and other out of the way places made my journeys a whole new experience. A great deal of research and map-making has been done since' and now the Tennessee River Guidebook is available in our bookstore. This 652 mile river has a huge amount of information to reveal to those interested in exploring it. As with my other guidebooks, I have found that there is a need for a true guidebook with good maps for this river and I am excited about seeing it in print. For those of you planning a trip on the Tennessee River, I suggest you get this guidebook and study it in the winter months to help with your planning.                                                          Jerry Hay


Click here to see a Tennessee River trip log

Tennessee River Guidebook
This guidebook has it all! No cruising guides, charts or digital sources have as much detailed information in one source.
Don't chance running out of fuel, food or supplies. Know where the hazards are. Be prepared for your river cruise or float by having all the information in one book, plus listings of great places to visit or stay.
The entire 652 miles from Knoxville, TN to Paducah, KY
122 Pages with heavy full color cover
57 Section charts and descriptions

176 photographs
Tributaries and lakes are shown
Islands mapped and described
Boat launching ramps shown
GPS Coordinates
Distance markers
Warning inserts               
Updated each year   ISBN 978-1-61658-589-1  

This book has no advertising. All the pages are dedicated to providing complete and useful information for boaters and paddlers. Following are more features that make this book an essential item for a journey on the beautiful Tennessee River:
Complete information about each lock and procedures for locking through
    Marina information, along with other places along the river to purchase fuel
        Anchorage locations, included all tributaries and island chutes that are adaquate
            Locations to find food, supplies, groceries, repairs and many other helpful services
                Information about cities, towns, and communities along the river that are "river friendly"
                    Historic accounts at river locations are included, making a river trip even more interesting
                        All highways and roads adjacent or leading to the river are mapped and shown in each section
Available in our BOOKSTORE