Whether hiking along the well-kept trails, white water paddling along the Obed River or Clear Creek River, climbing on the hard sandstone rock or trying your luck at fishing, the Obed has something for everyone and can be enjoyed year-round.
Every once and a while you will come upon an area that truly has it all. Areas like these are the ones that make people wake up before the sun and load the car with gear, grab some coffee, and hit the road for an action packed day in the mountains. Beautiful, towering sandstone bluffs line the Obed Wild and Scenic River and allow hikers to look down into the valley on paddlers tearing down some great whitewater and often on climbers pushing for a new send. This wilderness area is one for the record books, famed for its abundant climbing and loved by many other outdoor enthusiasts from whitewater lovers to trail running fiends.
What Makes It Great
Just about an hour away from Knoxville, the Obed Wild and Scenic River, hosts a wealth of recreational opportunities for every kind of explorer. Whether hiking along the well-kept trails, white water paddling along the Obed River or Clear Creek River, climbing on the hard sandstone rock or trying your luck at fishing, the Obed has something for everyone and can be enjoyed year-round.
If you're a hiker, you've got options. There are trails as short as the .3 mile Lilly Bluff Overlook Trail and the .7 mile Emory River Nature Trail, to as long as the 14.2 mile section of Cumberland Trail between Rock Creek Campground and Devil's Breakfast Table.
There's also what I like to call the 'Goldie Locks' option... you know, the one that's just right. And that's probably the 3.8 mile Point Trail. This trail gives visitors a chance to witness some of the best that Obed has to offer: hardwood hemlock forests, lush laurel and rhododendron, and fantastic views of Clear Creek Canyon.
You'll be walking along a very scenic ridge for most of this hike, and you'll be able to hear the rushing rivers down below. You may even see kayakers manipulating their vessels over the rapids.
Who is Going to Love It
Hikers have several options, ranging from short trails (.3 miles) to longer trails (14.2 miles).
Skilled, knowledgable, and seasoned paddlers come from all around the eastern U.S. to descend the Obed River. If you consider yourself a paddler of this caliber, the Obed is sure to provide both a challenging and exciting experience.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several areas to park in the Obed Wild and Scenic River, depending on what trails you wish to explore. To make sure you find your trail of choice- look at this map.
Camping is available at the Rock Creek Campground and is 7$ per night.
Camping is also available at the Lilly Pad Campground, mostly used for climbers during their time in the park.
To backcountry camp, a permit is required (it is free) and can be obtained at the Obed Visitor Center or online here.