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Hiwassee River in Tennessee

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

I wanted to paddle some big water. Here in East Tn. the biggest water we have is the Tennessee river. I paddle the Hiwassee a lot, so I decided to paddle out to Hiwassee Island. Hiwassee Island is located at the confluence of the Tennessee and the Hiwassee.

I shoved off at 11:00 am. The water was smooth as silk. I launched from old Highway 60. Blythe Ferry was located there until the new bridge was built several years ago. Now the old highway runs right into Tennessee just below where the Hiwassee enters. The Tennessee is 1/2 mi. wide here. The Hiwassee is just a tad smaller. I paddled to the south/west tip of the Island to start my trip. I paddled all the way around. It took about 2 1/2 hrs,but I stopped to take a lot of pictures and watch the ospreys. Acording to the TVA River Navigation Chart, it is about 5 mi. all the way around.

There is a lot of wetland on the Island, as well as corn fields put out by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. I didn't get out on the island much because with the deer herd on the island is host to a little varment called the deer tic. I don't know when they become active, but I got a dose of them once in the late summer and I don't want them ever again I will be going back next winter to do a little exploring. After I left the Island I paddled down the Tennessee and ate my lunch in the shade of a 80 ft.bluff.

I usually float small East Tennessee Rivers (Lower Tellico, Lower Ocoee, Lower Citico Creek ect) so this big water was a completly new deal for me. I kind of liked the big water and plan on doing some more of it.


No facilities, just a road going into the river.


Take Highway 60 out of Cleveland Tn going towards the Tennessee River. Go thru Georgetown and Birchwood. About a mile from the river there is a road to the right marked , Blythe Ferry Wildlife Refuge. This is old Highway 60. It goes straight to the river and ends going into the river. You have to turn off of this road to go to the wildlife refuge. Don't do it The boat launch is not at the refuge . Just stay on the main road.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Extended Trip
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location