North Chickamauga Creek - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip
Day Trip Report
August 14, 2007
Submitted by: eebemt
This is an update of the other reports which are great and accurate.
I have a few points to add and some pictures.
There is construction that has closed off the 2 parking areas at the mouth of the creek at its connection to the Tennessee River. Both the bird sanctuary and the other parking lot at the mouth of the creek are closed.
The lock for the Chickamauga Dam is being repaired and there is a lot of construction equipment around on the lots and in the river. The creek is still accessible though and I assume it will stay accessible. I parked on the south side of the Tennessee River in the parking lot for the eastern most end of the greenway parking lot, on the west side of Chickamauga Dam. This is also the parking lot behind Chattanooga State Technical Community College.
Paddling across this section of the river towards the creek mouth was fun because this was 1/2 a mile down from the Chickamauga Dam, the current swirled all around, but it was still flat and easy to paddle.
Chattanooga's Greenway Farm is another access point. As part of Chattanooga Outdoors, they offer a lot of help in kayaking, even kayak trips and classes.
The creek is serene, wide, and deep. I found that it's deeper than the South Chickamauga Creek, even under current drought conditions. It looked like the water level was a foot or two below normal. I was able to get there about 7:30 am and the morning sun looked great coming through the trees. Check out some pictures.
I traveled about 5 miles, beginning at the Tennessee River and paddling upstream. The first section is between the river and the Hamill Road bridge. This section, about 3 miles, has a few houses on the creek, but for the most part there is a lot of solitude.
The second section is between the Hamill Road bridge and Hixson Pike. I couldn't finish this section because of all the blown down trees in this section. I made it a couple of miles or so north of the Hamill Road bridge. I don't mind getting out and getting wet but this blow down was crazy. I took some pictures of it from the middle of this blown down section. This blow down was particularly tough because they are in deep water. I stepped onto a limb in the water to drag the kayak across the tree and promptly rolled the kayak and ended up swimming. What a hoot! I realized I had met my match and turned around here.
After paddling back down steam and back across the Tennessee River I paddled down the river about 2 miles. This parallels a major portion of the Chattanooga Greenway. There are restrooms, a cafe, boat docks, picnic tables along this section.
It's was a steady and mildly strenuous paddle back up the river though, because the current was pretty swift and strong. Chickamauga Dam is a hydroelectric dam and power is generated using the water behind the dam coming past the turbines. I think this makes the current swifter here but it was fun paddling with the current.
It was a great day on and in the water.
There are no facilities along North Chickamauga Creek, and in a lot of places the banks are steep. When access to the bird sanctuary is opened, there are restrooms there.
Along the Tennessee River on the Greenway there are restrooms, picnic tables, a cafe, and further down a nice restaurant on the left side going downstream.
Hwy 153 to Amnicola Hwy, travel west towards town, turn right into TVA property and the Greenway. If you miss this turn, you can travel down to Chattanooga State Technical Community College and wind your way back to the rear of the facility and park in the Greenway lot also.
Chattanooga's GIS or USGS quadrangle map
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