The Obed is one of 150 national Wild and Scenic River Parks in the United States and the only one in Tennessee. It is a wild river and forest area stretching across the Cumberland Plateau with the river in its valley in east-central Tennessee. It rises in Cumberland County near Crossville, Tennessee, and enters the more remote area of the National Park where it gets it name as one of the Wild and Scenic Rivers of the US. It’s a wilderness much the same as when the first settlers came to the region. The river with its tributaries, Daddy’s Creek and Clear Creek, offer some of the most beautiful scenery and rugged back country in the State with 45 miles of river to play on.
Camp, hike, swim, boat, kayak, paddle, fish, hunt or climb a rock or two. This park has it all for both the nature lover and sportsman.
Canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rafting are hugely popular. The views from the meandering river are stunning. This paddle has varying degrees of difficult – classed at 2-4. You’ll pass through deep breathtaking gorges that rise 500 feet above you. In the spring and winter the water levels are higher and many people find it’s the best time for paddling. The river and its tributaries are well-known to kayakers for a whitewater adrenaline rush.
Fishermen will be in seventh heaven here. Smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegills and muskie are plentiful. And it’s a beautiful spot for fishing.
Rock climbing is another popular sport here. The sandstone faces along the Obed offer challenging climbs and there are hundreds of climbing opportunities throughout the park.
Hiking along the Obed Wild and Scenic River is a memorable experience. There are several trails to enjoy with various distances to traverse. For the scenery, wildlife and the flora and fauna, you’ll have a great day out. The terrain is rugged in places, so wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget to bring a bottle of drinking water. Dress in layers so you can remove clothing as you need to.
The Obed area has been under threat in recent years according to Tennessee Paddle. There is degradation to water quality due to urban sprawl and a lack of funds to keep the park the pristine wilderness it’s always been. Development upstream in the City of Crossville is making a negative impact of the river and its tributaries. Plans are in place to reverse or halt the impact.
There’s something for everyone here. And even if you’re not into the recreational activities the park offers, come for a picnic on the river and enjoy the day. The Obed Wild and Scenic River is open throughout the year. The Wartburg visitor centre is open every day and will give you further information on the spot.
Rough or primitive overnight camping is $7 and you can camp at Rock Creek Campground on a first come, first served basis. Here you’ll have a great stay in the wilderness of Tennessee.
For more information, go to National Park Service or NPS.com and follow the links to Obed Wild and Scenic River in Tennessee.