The Hiwassee river is a fantastic place to canoe or kayak. It is packed with enough challenges to provide lots of swimming opportunities with low to moderate penalty for becoming separated from your canoe or kayak. There are play spots everywhere!

During the Summer months the river can become crowded with canoes, kayaks, duckies, and tubers. The Hiwassee is one of the widest rivers that the GCA regularly paddles. This width can make the safety of shore seem to be a long way away. Because the river is dam fed, the river is almost empty unless the TVA is generating power. On the positive side, because it is dam fed, there is water here when most other rivers are too low to enjoy.

There are multiple routes through all of the rapids which provides wonderful opportunities for river reading and creative technical paddling created by unexpected rocks.

The rapid names vary by club, but these are the some of the names you are likely to hear:
Fox Cabin Rapid
Towee Creek
Thread the Needle
Mary Nell / Oblique /3′ Drop
Stair Step
Little Rock Island – Three Bears (Right side of island)
Funnel Rapid / Three Chutes
Devils Shoals

  • River Difficulty: Trained Beginner (Class I-II)
  • Distance: 5.5 miles (Power House Put in to Reliance)
  • Avg Gradient: 17 fpm
  • Minimum Suggested Level: 2 Generators
  • Water Temperature: Damned Cold!
  • TVA dam schedule: Apalacia

River Information:

Hiwassee releases daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
After Labor Day, shorter (11a-3p) Saturday-only releases may continue into October, but generally no Sunday releases after Labor day.  In short, If it doesn’t show Two Generators on the Release Schedule, don’t go, there will not be enough water to paddle.

Daily release schedule is at:
There is a link on this page to the recreational release schedule, but is always subject to change.

  • Water Levels
  • Put In / Take Out Location
  • Maps
  • Nearby Outfitters

    Put In / Take Out Location:

    Reliance Tennessee
    Power House Put In:  34o 10.880N , 84o 26.683’W  (CAUTION- Some GPS units have problems with this!)unstarred

    From the take out:
    Cross the bridge and train tracks.
    Turn Right on Childers Creek Rd. – Drive 1.2 Miles
    At the Outfitter
    Turn Right on Childers Creek Rd. (Yes, Same road name) – Drive .3 Miles
    Turn right on Power House Rd.
    Drive 3 miles

    Take out: 35o 11.315 N, 84o 30.152 W

    From Atlanta to Take Out – Scenic (Along the Ocoee)
    North on I-575 to Blue Ridge.
    Turn left on Hwy 5 to McHaysville – Copper Hill
    In Copper Hill, turn left on Ocoee Street. Drive 3.3 Miles
    Take ramp on the right to US 64.
    Turn left on US 64. Drive 16.5 Miles When you see the lake you are getting close to your turn.
    Turn Right on TN 30- Drive 8.8 miles
    Park in field behind Webb Brothers Texaco

    From Atlanta to Take Out – Easier (Through Benton speed trap)
    North on I-75 to Hwy 411 North of Cartersville
    Turn Right On Hwy 411 – Drive 76 Miles
    Benton TN – SLOW DOWN to below the posted speed limit.
    Continue on 411 6 miles.
    Turn right on TN 30. – Drive 6 miles.

    Park behind Webb Brothers Texaco. The GCA typically uses Webb Brothers to run shuttle because they are just fantastic.

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    Nearby Outfitters:

    Webb Brothers Outfitters

    Hiwassee Outfitters