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Hiwassee River

Class I-II+

Adults and kids ages 6 and older

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.

The dam controlled, Class II river is perfect for family rafting trips, with wide, clear rapids and bouncy wave trains. 

Several commercial guide services offer raft and duckie rentals, as well as guided trips. 

Hiwassee River Raft Guide Services and Outfitters

The section from the Apalachia Powerhouse Dam to Reliance, TN can be run in an afternoon. 

All rafting trips, guided and unguided, are dependent on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s recreational release schedule. 

Hiwassee River Recreational Release Schedule

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Hiwassee River Access Map

Related Activities

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

Activity Type

Class II+ whitewater rafting


Polk County, TN

Distance from Outdoor Chattanooga

65 miles | 1 hour, 25 minutes

GPS Coordinates

35.189522, -84.498966

Google Map


No restrictions
Recreational Apalachia Dam releases May-October


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

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