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Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee

by  eebemt

A self-supported trip created by eebemt

Trip Overview

This is a paddle I make every year because it is close to the put in for me and easy to get home after I am exhausted! This was a round trip to and from the boat ramp with lunch at the Dockside Caf� at Harrison Bay State Park

As usual, I embarked from the Chickamauga Dam public boat dock about an hour before sunrise, on that day about 6 am. Paddling in the morning and evening are favorites times of mine. The water was smooth in the morning with very little wind.

The TVA cooing towers were in sight when I turned around a couple of miles past Harrison Bay State Park. Lunch was at the Dockside Caf� which was newly renovated over last winter. It really looks nice. Their Swiss/bacon/mushroom burger with fries was my morning motivation and I was not disappointed.

The real challenge was the way back. By then the big boats were abundant with the fishing boats, jet skies and ski boats all cutting up and down the lake.

For me the technical part of the trip was still the complicated waves. 2 foot rollers with white caps near the channel and refractory waves to deal with if I went too close to the bank.

I learned a new term that seems to describe these chaotic waves... "clapotis". Technically they occur around structures in the water according to the strict definition of the word. Even though I was about 100 yards off the shore most of the time I noticed that if the bank was lined with solid erosion mitigation these waves were worse. For this reason I classified this trip as moderate to difficult.

In short the mornings were calm, the afternoon was frenzied. (This was also the last weekend before school started which made for a big boating crowd I guess.)

The sun was tough so I wore protective clothing that I kept wet by dousing myself regularly.

I made the trip in record time for me, 25 miles in 8 hours, so I was satisfied, tired but satisfied.


Restrooms at the Chickamauga Dam boat dock and at the Dockside Caf�. I recommended the caf�.




Hwy 153 to Chickamauga Dam, watch for the boat dock signs.


GPS but not really needed

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location