Hiwassee River

Class I-II+

After a long spill through the western face of the Appalachian Mountains, the Hiwassee State Scenic River widens to become a beautiful, fresh water destination for tubers, paddlers and anglers.

kayaking hiwassee sm

The dam controlled, Class II river is perfect fpr beginning paddlers, with wide, open rapids and bouncy wave trains. 

There are some bruising, rocky sections, so doing your first run with a guide or experienced friend is highly recommended. 

rapic learning river instruction hiwasssee

The section from the Apalachia Powerhouse Dam to Reliance, TN can be run in an afternoon. Put in at the Powerhouse Rd. launch just downriver of the Powerhouse and take out where the TN Valley Railroad bridge crosses the river at Reliance.

American Whitewater Hiwassee River Information

The Tennessee Valley Authority provides recreational releases on the river, May-October.
Hiwassee River Recreational Release Schedule
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Hiwassee River Access Map

Activity type
Class II+ whitewater paddling

Related Activities
Class II+ whitewater tubing, rafting (upper river), flat water paddling (lower river), hiking, camping, mountain biking, wildlife viewing

Polk County, TN

Distance from Outdoor Chattanooga
65 miles | 1 hour, 25 minutes

GPS Coordinates
35.189522, -84.498966

Google Map

Dates | Hours
No restrictions
Recreational Apalachia Dam releases May-October

Rest Rooms
Yes. Forest Service pit toilets.

Overnight Camping
Hiwassee-Ocoee State Park and private campgrounds
Cherokee National Forest (Hiwassee River Zone)

Contact Information
Cherokee National Forest
Ocoee Ranger District
3171 Highway 64
Benton TN 37307-5823
(423) 338-3300
Cherokee National Forest South


Hiwassee River