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TVA Hiwassee Dam and Reservoir

Natural Area, Lake, River, or Waterfall

ADA Accessibility Notes

ADA accessibility available at boat launch below the dam, pavilion and restrooms.

Hiwassee Reservoir is located on the Hiwassee River in the western corner of North Carolina. The Reservoir is exceptionally beautiful and well suited for canoeing and learning the basics of whitewater rafting (upper end near Murphy). The flow of water in the reservoir comes from deep below the surface and is chilly, even in the summer.

For more information about TVA dams, visit

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How to Get There

From Knoxville: Take I-75 south to exit 20 (US-76/64 by-pass) at Cleveland; go east, following US-74/64. Turn left on TN-68 to right on Apalachia Dam Road.

From Chattanooga: Take I-75 N to exit 20 (US-74/64 by-pass) at Cleveland; go east, following US-74/64. Turn left on TN-68 to right on Apalachia Dam Road.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets welcome but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6-feet. TVA is a partner of Leave No Traceand requests that visitors follow Leave No Trace practices, including picking up after your pet.

Recreational Opportunities

Surrounded by the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests, Hiwassee Reservoir and the adjacent Apalachia Reservoir serve as a rich habitat for deer, wild turkey and other animals. On really hot days, take the access road to the base of the dam, and spend your day picnicking in the shade of mature trees or bank fishing. The day use area also has a launch ramp for small boats. Keep in mind when using the launch ramp to put your boat in the water, you also have to use it to remove your boat from the water - there are no other open launch ramps on Apalachia Reservoir. A pavilion, picnic tables and restrooms are available at the overlook.

Murphy River Walk is a 2.3 mile trail that travels along two rivers and a creek. The paved portions of the trail are accessible to all, including hikers and bikers. For more information about the Murphy River Walk Trail, visit TVA's Trails webpage.

Bordering Hiwassee Reservoir, the U.S. Forest Service's Hanging Dog Recreation Area offers camping, water access and seven miles of mountain biking/hiking trails.


Seasons Accessible

All Seasons



Visitor centers, trails, boat ramps, pavilion and canoe access points operated by TVA are provided to the public with no fee. Check with the U.S. Forest Service for fees related to use of their facilities.

Nearby Places