Harrison Bay State Park SUP

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Not many paddleboard destinations offer up as much eerie history as Harrison Bay State Park. Get lost in your imagination as you paddle over the remnants of a long-submerged town.

Written by

Rodger Ling

Destination Distance From Downtown

10.1 miles


2 of 5 diamonds


Time To Complete

1 hour to all day


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


Land Website

Link to Website


If you're into off-the-wall places to explore, this one might be to your liking! 
What Makes it Great
Great paddling is accessible from at least five different launching points in and around Harrison Bay State Park. John Patten Island and the surrounding smaller islands were created in 1940 when TVA completed Chickamauga Dam, flooding a good portion of the town of Harrison, Tennessee. Particularly during low water in the winter, modern day paddlers can see old building foundations, roads, and guardrails that have been trapped in time under the water. On Patten Island itself, one can find more evidence of the old town, as well as the Bell cemetery.   Those willing to brave this rather eerie history can find free, primitive camping on the Island on a first-come, first-served basis. Tent and RV camping is available at Harrison Bay State Park, so don't worry about being relegated to sleeping on the cemetery island if you are, indeed, faint of heart! While there is much to see and explore in this area any time of the year, I personally enjoy paddling here during the winter months, when the water is low and solitude is a guarantee. During these times, I find it's easy to get lost in my imagination as I paddle along, peering into the depths at the submerged remnants of an old town.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone will enjoy fooling around near launch--no current or particular hazards here--but getting across to the islands and old ruins will take a few minutes of dedicated paddling. Parking and Launch You've got several good options, including the powerboat launch at Wolftever Creek, Harrison Bay State Park (many locations within the Park), and the TWRA ramps on Wacanda Point Road and Vincent Road.

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Harrison Bay State Park SUP

8411 Harrison Bay Road
Harrison, TN, 37341
35.168715, -85.120257

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