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  1. #1

    Default Which beautiful lake to visit in (roughly) Knoxville area TN?

    Hi, We are headed to TN for a week in Oct. We have only one must-do event on the calendar for one evening in Knoxville, and want to make the most of the trip. We are big (flat water) kayakers and often look for lakes with campgrounds right on the water so we can just plunk them in for an early morning or late evening paddle without hassle of transporting them around too much. We will be traveling in a 39 ft Discovery, so we like to find spots where we can have at least decent amenities such as full hookups if possible or at least electric. I looked into Fall Creek Falls St Pk and found it might work and looked really nice, but then we started looking at other nearby lakes and wondered if another might be better for us, specifically to be able to get a site ON the water's edge. Anybody with info on Douglas Lake, Fontana Lake, Panther Creek St Park or Percy Priest? I know many folks who like Norris, so that might be good. We may decide to go as far west as Nashville, but it's not really on our must-do list. We do like Dollywood and will probably do that for a day and maybe wander around Gatlinburg for part of a day, but not much into shopping/crowds/cities, so it would be short and sweet! I really think we would be able to make a week of just hanging out by the lake, hiking some, fishing some and enjoying the beauty of TN. Any must see spots in the Knoxville-ish area? Thanks ahead for the tips!!
    Shelley and Chuck

  2. #2

    Default Just a few tidbits

    Please bear in mind I've never been ON the water at any of the listed lakes, or anywhere else in East TN, southern KY, or far western NC. But, I've RoadTripped and done field work as a geologist all over the region.

    Fontana is spectacular but the water level fluctuates a great deal. Check with paddling and/or fishing forums to get an idea of what the water pool elevation is like now and what is expected for a month from now. Fontana also has rather fewer overall access points inasmuch as the entire north side is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    In the late 1970s I had a multi-week project essentially all around Norris Lake. I really enjoyed the countryside and the "nooks and crannies" around the lakeshore. It's almost fjord-like in places. Plus, it bumps up against the massif of the Cumberland Plateau on its western/northern side, and that provides somewhat more topography than does Douglas or Cherokee.

    They're farther away, but each very nice in their own ways: South Holston and Watauga Lakes, east of Bristol and Johnson City, TN, respectively. South Holston is crossed by the pedestrian/cycling trail known as the Virginia Creeper Trail and it sits at just over 1,300' elevation. Watauga Lake is the highest of the TVA reservoirs with a pool elevation of 1,940' and it's surrounded by mountain ridges topping out in the 3,000-4,000' range. There is a good opportunity for a flatwater river paddle downstream of Wilbur Reservoir, a small hydroelectric impoundment backing up to the foot of Watauga Dam. For several miles below Wilbur Dam, both paddlers and guides in dorys float the Watauga River for pastoral scenery and rainbow and brown trout.


  3. #3


    Thanks Foy, that's a big help and gives me some leads to check into. I Knew someone had to have been to the area! Will investigate a bit further and will definitely look into some paddling groups and their advice. Great suggestion! I have ordered several books and pamphlets from TN Tourism, but they take weeks to deliver (for some reason) so I don't have that resource yet.

    I appreciate your input!

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