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Rivers, Lakes, & Blueways

Rivers, Lakes, & Blueways

Rapids to race, waters to wander

We are home to the world famous Ocoee River, which was an Olympic whitewater venue.  We also have still lakes, tranquil streams, and cool waterfalls.  Some places you can drive to. Others require a hike in the solitude of the deep forest.  Who knows what you may see on the trip to get there.  whether you are looking for tranquil space or thrilling adventure, we have water locations just for you.

Chilhowee Lake

The Chilhowee Trail System beckons hikers and mountain bikers (novice to experienced) to more than 20 miles of trails. Wildlife is abundant in this area, so have your camera ready and tread lightly. Picnic, bathhouse, and campground facilities make this a perfect spot for a family vacation.

Conasauga River & Fish Viewing

Fishing, canoeing and hiking are good ways to enjoy the Conasauga River, but its Underwater Wildlife Viewing Area is unique to the Southeast. Visitors can see over 70 species of fish. That’s more than double what is found in the Colorado or Columbia River basins combined.

Hiwassee Scenic River & Blueway

Designated a Tennessee State Scenic River, the Hiwassee flows through the Cherokee National Forest and the pastoral community of Reliance. According to the legend, the name Hiwassee is taken from the Cherokee word ayuwasi and means “savannah or place at the foot of the hills. Native people began clearing the Hiwassee River Valley for agriculture around 3,000 years ago.

Indian Boundary Lake

The 96-acre lake offers opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing. Picnic areas with grills and a picnic pavilion is provided. Three miles of hiking and biking trails around the lake. Visitors may enjoy watching beaver, ducks and other waterfowl, or try their luck at catching bass, sunfish and catfish.

North River

The North River, a nationally recognized trout stream, is a Tributary of the Tellico River. Its entire course is located in a very scenic, somewhat isolated area. For the vast majority of its length it is paralleled by Forest Road 217, also called North River Road. A series of small ledges delights kayakers with the biggest being about 5 feet high.


Site of the 1996 Olympic Canoe and Kayak Slalom Races, the Ocoee River hosts several whitewater events each year. Commercial river outfitters offer expert guides to help you capture the excitement of the Class III and Class IV rapids. Whitewater enthusiasts can now take guided trips on the Olympic Race Channel, located at the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Check with the Tennessee Overhill for water schedules, or contact the Ocoee-Hiwassee Ranger Station.

Parksville Lake

The oldest man-made lake in the Cherokee National Forest, it was created in 1910-11 with the building of Ocoee Dam Number One (Parksville Dam). Sometimes known as Lake Ocoee, this 1,930-acre is popular for water skiing, pontoon boating, jet skiing, swimming, and picnicking. It has two public boat launches located along Hwy 64.

Tellico River, Blueway, & Lake

Located along the Tellico River arm of Tellico Lake, the Tellico Blueway is a dream come true for flatwater canoeists and kayakers. At 11 miles, the Blueway is long enough for an overnight float, but short enough to paddle in one day. Much of the designated route follows stump-filled waters that are too treacherous for large motorboats, but ideal for human-powered watercraft.