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Powell River Blueway

Logo of the Powell River Blueway Trail
Photo fo Canoe Paddlers on the Powell River in NE Tennssee

The Powell River Blueway Trail is an endeavor by the Powell River Tourism Committee of the Claiborne County Tourism Commission to improve public access onto the Powell River for fishing and paddling. The Powell River is the second largest un-dammed river in Tennessee and one of the two most bio-diverse rivers in a temperate climate anywhere in the world.

The Powell River winds through rural NE Tennessee for 114 miles and is one of the two major rivers feeding Norris Reservoir. (The other tributary being the Clinch River.) Over the last five years, the Powell River Blueway Trail project has significantly improved public access to the river, installed directional signage and published maps and brochures to let people know where these access points are.

Current Access Points shown here.

Beginning in 2015, the Claiborne County Chamber of Commerce has held the Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta, a 12 mile race with nine race categories (or a quiet recreational paddle, your choice) on the Class 1 Powell River. The net proceeds from this charity event are used exclusively to support the Powell River Blueway Trail Project.

The 7th Annual Regatta will be held April 27, 2024

Registration Closes Wed April 23rd

Volunteers make this event possible. If you would like to volunteer please contact Laura Pallos at:

Photo of the start of the Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta

About the Powell River

The Powell River originates in SW Virginia and flows through NE Tennessee where it joins the Clinch River in Norris Lake. The Powell, together with the Clinch, are the two largest free-flowing (un-dammed) rivers in Tennessee. The US Fish & Wildlife Services has described the Powell River as "One of the most biologically diverse rivers in a temperate climate anywhere in the world." It is home to about 100 species of fish and supports a wide variety of freshwater mussels, birds, turtles, plants and animals such as beaver and river otter. The Powell River is largely undeveloped. One can paddle for miles and not see any dwellings and often not even see other paddlers.

Photo of a paddler on the Powell River in Claiborne County, TN
Photo of Smallmouth Bass
Photo of Great Blue Heron
Paddler in swift water on the Powell River in Claiborne County, TN

This website was created from an Asset Enhancement Grant awarded to Claiborne County from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Additional funding for other Powell River Blueway Trail improvements has been received from the Tennessee Healthy Watersheds Initiative and the Clinch-Powell RC&D Council, Inc. in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy.

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