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Hiwassee River in Tennessee

Trip Overview

The upper Hiwassee River is a cold, crystal clear mountain river that makes for an excellent day trip for canoeing and light kayaking. The river flows nicely all summer through some very beautiful mountainous terrain. The trip downstream will take about 4-6 hours from the dam to the Webb general store in Reliance, TN. The only drawback is that there are several very shallow areas where you may have to scoot across barely submerged rocks. I used to ride this river every summer, it's a lot of fun, especially with a group.

You should first stop should be in Reliance where you can leave one or more vehicles at the Webb General Store. The Webb store is easy to find, as it is the only thing in Reliance and sits at the junction of Highway 30 and the Hiwassee River. You can also rent inner tubes and also inflatable type kayaks. There is a truck that makes regular runs up river during the day carrying passengers and tubes up the river to the dam. If you were by yourself, you it may be possible hitch a ride for you and a kayak, but we always used a second vehicle to transport ourselves up one of the several parking areas close to the dam.


Standard State Park fees of two to three dollars per car.


Take Highway 64 East From Cleveland, TN to Highway 30, Proceed North to Reliance.

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

Locations on this Trip