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Chilhowee Lake in Tennessee

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

My best buddy, Charlie Wimmer and I loaded 21 teenagers and adults into 9 canoes and kayaks and did a wonderful day trip on TVA's Chilhowee Lake. It was part of our "CCC" (Cave, Canoe and Cache) Camp.

We paddled from the old Calderwood community up stream to the powerhouse. Now here is a jewel many people do not see in our area... at the end of the lake, just above the powerhouse the waters from Calderwwod Dam trickle down past some amazing rock formations. If you live in the area, make plans to paddle to see theses rocks. Some of the boulders are as big as cabins while others have been shaped over time into these alluring smooth and pocked formations. Hundreds of pockets contain perfectly round marble-like rocks made from limestone. These holes are generally the size of five gallon buckets and at the bottom of each are these tiny round rocks.

Where the stream flows into the lake, look for the large kinda-sloped area to your right which makes a super place for a picnic. I had 21 of us on it. Guess what...the entire time we paddled with those kids not one spoke about their video games. I was privileged to have a teen in my boat that had NEVER been in a canoe. I was awestruck that I was the one to get to introduce him to the activity. Oh how I hope he grows up and remembers that "song of the paddle."


Porta potty and boat ramp with good parking


The gate is open only from 8am until 3pm. Plan accordingly


Take highway 129 south along the shore of Chilhowee Lake. As the lake curves away from the road the infamous "Dragon" begins. Count 12 curves up of the 318 and turn right down the old Calderwood Road to the end. There you will find a boat ramp.

Trip Details

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

Trip Location