Sleep under the stars.
Want to camp in the beautiful River Gorge? Well you're in luck. The Tennessee River Gorge Trust has two free paddle-in or hike-in camping areas that are part of the Tennessee River Blueway. The campsites are free so everyone can get out and enjoy the Gorge! We welcome donations to TRGT so we can continue to manage these campsites for the community; you can donate at www.trgt.org/donate. Thank you for your help!
There is a 10-day maximum stay at our campsites. Consecutive reservations of 5-10 days must have a 7 day buffer period between reservations. Click below for more details.
The William’s Island campground is paddle-in only. The Pot Point site is hike-in or paddle-in only. A link to the TN River Blueway Map can be found below under directions. Thank you and enjoy your adventure!
Camping Application (below)
To apply for a permit to camp at our Pot Point or Williams Island Blueway Campsites, please fill out the form below at least one full business day before you plan to camp. You will be emailed a confirmation and permit. Blueway directions to campsites are below the application. Please call 423.266.0314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org during normal business hours with any questions.
***Please be aware of the high waters on the Tennessee River and plan accordingly.
Directions to Williams Island and Pot Point Blueway campsites
The Tennessee River Gorge falls within the Tennessee River Blueway, a river trail formed by TVA in the 1930s that runs for 45 miles from Chickamauga Dam to Nickajack Dam. The best information for traveling on the Tennessee Blueway is located at Canoe Tennessee's website.
Head over to Outdoor Chattanooga's website for tons of information on exploring the Gorge via water.
By Car (Pot Point):
(from downtown Chattanooga)
Approximate Travel Time: 1.5-2 hours
Take US-27 North over the Tennessee River and travel 1-2 miles to the Signal Mountain Road exit (US-127 North). Turn right toward Signal Mountain. At the base of Signal Mountain, at the intersection of US-127 North and Highway 27 West, turn left onto Highway 27 (Suck Creek Road directly across the street from Subway).
Travel exactly 4 miles on Suck Creek Road. Immediately after you pass the bridge over Suck Creek, you will take the first left onto River Canyon Road (if you end up driving up the mountain rather than along the river, you’ve gone too far). Travel on this road for several windy miles (30-45 minutes depending on your pace) – always keeping the river on your left.
After about 4 miles on River Canyon Road, you will come to the Trust's Pot Point Cabin on your left. A parking area will be on your right. Stop here to take in the view of the river from this beautiful spot or hike our self-guided nature trail (a 4.1 mile strenuous loop). Hikers are welcome at any time, although fall through spring is the nicest time to hike the trail. Be careful insects and wildlife during the summer months.
The Pot Point campsite is located approximately .6 mile from the Pot Point Nature trailhead at 17805 River Canyon Rd (says Mullins Cove RD on Google Maps). The campsite is AFTER the recent landslide where the road is one lane, and is marked by a wooden TRAIL sign on the left.
Please park on the road only to load and unload your camping supplies and park overnight at the Pot Point Nature trailhead gravel parking lot. It is a 15-minute walk back to the campsite on the trail or the road.
William’s Island is only accessible by boat. Nearby public river access points are the downstream Suck Creek boat ramp or the upstream Coolidge Park launch site (upstream). See the William’s Island camping page for additional information.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are the campsites pet friendly?
Absolutely! Feel free to bring pets on your camping adventure.
Where can I rent canoes/kayaks?
Check out Canoe Kayak Chattanooga at https://www.canoekayakchattanooga.com/
How long does it take to paddle to the campsites?
This will depend on your launch site, boat design, experience, and your paddling orientation (upstream or downstream). In general, a rough estimate would be that average paddlers can expect a single river mile to take 15-30 minutes. Longer, faster kayaks will be on the faster end, while large canoes may be on the slower end. Also, be sure to check TVA’s Chickamauga Dam release schedule at https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Lake-Levels/Chickamauga (for reference, 20,000 cfs is slower moving current, 50,000 cfs is moderate/strong current, and 70,000 cfs is very strong current).
Do I have to pay to camp?
Nope, the campsites are free so everyone can get out and enjoy the Gorge! But of course, feel free to make a donation to TRGT so we can continue to manage these campsites for the public at www.trgt.org/donate!
Can I access the campsites by land?
The Pot Point Campsite is accessible by land (see directions on the Pot Point Camping page), but William’s Island is only accessible by boat.