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Chattanooga Kayaking Destinations

Ocoee River in Tennessee

Tucked between the mountains of southeast Tennessee and the beautiful Tennessee River, Chattanooga is one of America’s most breathtaking cities and a kayaker’s dream come true. Within an hour of downtown, you’ll find world-class whitewater rapids and awe-inspiring scenic paddling.

Best Places to Kayak Near Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee has paddling destinations for all experience levels, from heart-pounding rapids to easy floats. Plan your next Chattanooga adventure at one of these exciting kayaking destinations.

Ocoee River

Ocoee, TN

The Ocoee River has five miles of exciting rapids and whitewater action. It is located in the Cherokee National Forest in southeastern Tennessee about an hour’s drive from Chattanooga. It is a dam-controlled river with Class III-IV rapids, eddies and other play spots for thrill seeking kayakers. The river is an incredibly popular kayaking and whitewater rafting destination seeing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It was even used for canoe and kayak slalom events in the 1996 Olympics.

Richland Creek

Dayton, TN

This may be a small creek, but it is not for the faint of heart. Near Dayton, Tennessee, Richland Creek is about 45 minutes from Chattanooga and offers thrilling class V rapids. The top quarter mile of the run is the steepest section and is designated as class V. You’ll have to hike about a mile from the Laurel Snow parking area to get there, but it’s worth it for the 10-foot drop at the bottom of the Hut Rapid that’s sure to get you airborne.  You can put in below Hut and still enjoy a gnarly class IV run. Experienced kayakers only and be sure to scout each rapid before attempting.

Tennessee River

Chattanooga. TN

Cutting directly through downtown, the Tennessee River provides a sparkling kayaking destination right in the city. The 50-mile section, from the Chickamauga Dam to Nickajack Lake, is a National Scenic River Trail. Enjoy a scenic urban paddle through downtown, explore the nature of McClellan Island, or head downstream through Moccasin Bend and into the Tennessee River Gorge.

Parksville Lake

Ocoee, TN

Kayak the oldest lake in the Cherokee National Forest. Parksville Lake, also known as Lake Ocoee, is a 1,890-acre lake with stunning mountain views and rolling forested hills. It is a highlight of the Ocoee Scenic Byway. The lake has lots of inlets and creeks to explore, tons of wildlife, two swimming beaches, hiking trails and nearby camping.

Nickajack Lake

Chattanooga, TN

Nickajack Lake was created by the Nickajack Dam and it extends 46 miles from the Nickajack Dam to Chickamauga Dam. It passes through downtown Chattanooga, offering an easy paddle and spectacular views of the Tennessee River Gorge. It is an excellent destination for kayak fishing with scores of bass, panfish and catfish. It is also home to the entrance of the Nickajack Cave Wildlife Refuge, where a sunset paddle offers up the opportunity to see thousands of the endangered gray bats take flight.

Stunning Log Kayak Storage for Chattanooga

Get your kayak off the ground with Log Kayak Rack. Made from cedar logs, our kayak racks beautifully display and store your kayaks, canoes and SUP high and dry. They offer neat and orderly outdoor storage for shorelines, cabins, beachfronts, backyards, cities, parks, campgrounds and rental facilities. Shop our kayak racks online now or contact us for a custom kayak storage solution and enjoy free shipping to Chattanooga, Tennessee.