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Caney Fork River in Tennessee

Trip Overview

Our canoe trip on the Caney Fork started at the Happy Hollow boat ramp and finished 14.5 miles downstream at the South Carthage boat ramp. Both the put-in and the take-out were easily accessible and provided unrestricted parking.

The water looked to be at its normal high level and was moving quite swiftly, but was still a very smooth paddle. Center Hill Dam was generating on the day we paddled, and most references say not to paddle while its generating. I'm not sure why, other than the trip might end a little earlier than you would want for a day trip.

Our trip took approximately 4.5 hours with one stop of about 15 minutes. There are a few large islands along this route that offer good spots to take out and rest for a few minutes. We saw several blue herons and a few river mammals on our trip. There are no facilities or accommodations along this route, so make sure to pack food and other necessities. I'd definitely recommend this trip for beginners when the dam isn't generating.


There are no facilities/accommodations along this route.


No fees at either of these access areas.


Happy Hollow access area is located on the Putnam Deklab county line just 1.3 miles south of I-40 exit #268 and is visible on the West side of the road, there is small brown Happy Hollow Access sign at the parking area.

The South Carthage boat ramp is located off of I-40 exit #258. Take Highway 53 for approximately 4-5 miles to Carthage and there will be a soccer park on the right. There is a gravel road which leads around the back side of the soccer park to the boat ramp.


Army Corps of Engineers map:

Southeastern Outdoors:

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip