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Powell River Blueway Trail

Lake, River, or Waterfall
Paddling on the upper Powell River – Patty Bottari

ADA Accessibility Notes

Some access points have sloping ramps to the river, while some have steps (dependent on natural topography). Descriptions and photos of each access point can be found with links HERE. Note that if you have limited mobility be sure that both the put-in and take-out points are accessible since, for most locations, paddling back to the entry point is not possible.

The Powell River Blueway Trail is an opportunity to paddle, float or fish on the 117 miles of the Powell River as it flows in Tennessee from the Virginia state line into Norris Lake. The Powell River is one of the two largest free-flowing (un-dammed) rivers in Tennessee and, according to US Fish & Wildlife Service, one of the most biologically diverse rivers anywhere in the U.S.

The Powell River is a scenic journey through the Cumberland Mountains with very little man-made activity visible during your river trip. Public access to the river is limited due to topography, but through the efforts of the Claiborne County Tourism Commission, a series of on/off access points have been identified and developed. Visit the Powell River Blueway Trail website.

How to Get There

The Powell River Blueway Trail is located in Claiborne and Hancock Counties north of Knoxville. A Map of Powell River Access points each with links for driving routes is found HERE.

Recreational Opportunities

The Powell River offers year-round flows which can be highly variable since the river's 1,000 square mile watershed is not dammed. It is a Class 1 (easy) river for paddling and it is reputed to be one of the best smallmouth bass rivers in the country. River Access Points with descriptive links are found HERE.(The Powell River above River Mile 50 is not suitable for motorized craft.

Each spring, the Powell River is the site for the Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta, a 12-mile race (or leisurely paddle) on a scenic section of the Powell River.


Seasons Accessible

The Powell River is accessible in all seasons. Of course, appropriate gear is necessary for colder weather paddling.



There are no fees, but please leave the access site and of any trash.