Lower Nolichuckey River Float @ Banks Farm Campground

  • Loaded up and headed to the campground for the weekend.

    Loaded up and headed to the campground for the weekend.

  • Rope Swing

    Rope Swing

  • Enjoying the float

    Enjoying the float

  • The front of the yak is pointed towards Gilligan's Island

    The front of the yak is pointed towards Gilligan's Island

  • Put in @ Marshmallow Valley

    Put in @ Marshmallow Valley

  • Small Mouth Bass

    Small Mouth Bass

  • View from Gilligan's Island

    View from Gilligan's Island

  • Just a bunch of floatin' locals

    Just a bunch of floatin' locals

  • ...just a floatin'

    ...just a floatin'

A self-supported trip created by MadmanAdventures

Trip Overview

Banks Farm Campgound is located at 775 Bewley's Chapel Road in Midway, Tennessee. Here you will not only find a family friendly campground that offers a swimming pool, playground and a wonderful river view; but it also offers an opportunity to float down the Lower Nolichucky River. If you camp at Banks Farm, you can park for free, however, if you are on a day float trip, they charge a small fee for parking. You can find more information about the campground on Facebook by searching "Banks Farms Campground".

For the float:

You will embark on your journey at Marshmallow Valley, roughly 3 miles from the camp ground, upstream. Parking is easily accessed as well as your put in spot. You'll have approximately 3 miles of floating with class 1 rapids (class 2 if the river is up). Easy float for beginners and children (monitored) as well. There are 3 sets of shoals you have to follow your shoots for. First set is as soon as you put in, about 100 yards, stay to the left or you will get stuck and have to get out. As you get out of those on your left bank is a good free TVA campsite (as you are driving to Marshmallow Valley, do not take the left turn, go across the bridge and make the first left to access from the road) but arrive early to be able to claim this spot as it's also a great put in or emergency put out. Once you pass under the bridge, the river will split, stay left (Experienced risk takers: can go right, it's tighter, known for snakes {although I seen none}, and log hoppin'. It was a little more fun than our typical "family float". For those that stayed left, the river will split again, stay to the middle or right shoot, the deeper floatable spot will narrow, stay in the middle but glide towards the left bank (if not you'll be stuck and getting out, very shallow) around the small islands, then cut back to the right. These little islands are great for emergency put out or draining off. Once you pass the islands, you'll see a stick out on the left bank, past there, is an island (larger sized on the left, called Gilligan's Island) upon your approach, stay to the left close to the bank and bank on the North side or you can ride the shoot and bare hard left to cut in and bank on the sand, South side of the island. Once you pass the island, you can look to the left and see a tree swing, another fun spot to stop and play around. If you chose to stop at the tire swing, once you begin paddling you are approximately 1/3 mile from the put out at Banks Farm.

This float may seem complicated with all of the details, however, there are many that have floated with little to zero experience. This includes children as young as 5 years of age, ranging to folks in their 70's. While on this trip, for you yak-fisherman, this is a great place for primarily small mouth bass but can catch catfish, rainbow trout, red drum, carp, and even alligator gar. For our lovers of nature, you will see many species of fish looking down into the water (obviously on a clear day) from your vessel, several bird species including but not limited to; blue heron, bald eagles and red tail hawks. This float takes you through farm land as you're nestled between the beautiful mountains in the Northeastern Tennessee Valley.

Aside from the main put out at Banks Farms Campground, there's many places along the campground you can put out instead, depending upon where you're staying there.

While on your float from Marshmallow Valley to Banks Farm Campground, you may notice this trip is frequented by locals. We are all nice and friendly as "we all float 'round here"! We hope to see you during the 2023 floating season!

Tell them Madman sent you. : )

Safety Notes

Never yak alone and always have a life jacket, sun screen as most of this trip is not shaded.

Gear Notes

No special gear needed. Skirts not required. Camping is available in certain areas so pack accordingly if overnight camping is what's in mind.


As always, be aware of high levels of water after heavy rain. Snakes are known but have only seen one at a large distance. Always keep in mind the Nolichuckey River is known for it's alternating currents and shifting whirlpools, which is why Nolichuckey is Cherokee for "River of Death".

Portage Notes

See above.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 7/9/2022
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand Up Paddling, Kayak Fishing, Rafting, Hiking, Yoga
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Number of Portages: 5

Trip Location