I put in at the Chickamauga Lake Marina boat ramp and left my car in the parking lot. Make sure you don't park in the trailer parking spaces. My destination was Harrison Bay State Park for lunch at their marina. It was a great trip and found some new places to camp around the Patten Islands. This was a weekday, so there were very large few boats out and no motorized personal watercraft to watch out for. The water was very calm and stayed that way most of the day. There is a main channel that carries barge traffic but I stayed south of the main channel up and back.
There were nesting ospreys, alligator gar, kingfishers, herrons, and turtles with an interesting cave in the bank.
It was a typical summer day, very hot and humid with the heat index over 100 and the temps in the high 90's. I wore appropriate protection such as a hat, bandanna (to cover my neck), sunglasses, pfd, water, snacks, and long sleeve shirt that I kept wet. There should have been some sunblock for my face on the list so I did get a little burned on my face. I also used a kayak skirt to keep the sun off of my legs.
Since I was paddling alone I carried a phone, a mirror, weather/marine radio and filed a float plan with my wife and let her know when I would be home and I called her at lunch.
The trip got started at about 7:45 am and ended around 4 pm. Trip length was about 18 miles with another mile or so of side trips. There was a summer lightening and rain storm that blew in and I pulled underneath one of the numerous boat docks along the shore to wait it out. I also carry a rain tarp to throw over me if I need to pull to the shore in case of a storm.
There are restrooms at the TVA marina boat ramp and at Harrison Bay State Park marina. Lunch and dinner are available at the marina.
Hwy 153 to Chickamauga Dam and follow the signs to the public boat ramp
US Army Corps of Engineers navigation maps 68 and 69:
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water