Get Out & Play: Norris Dam State Park

Carol EvansFeature

Located just 30 minutes north of Knoxville, Norris Dam State Park is a 4,000-acre recreational heaven, surrounded by beautiful hardwood forests and miles of Norris Lake shoreline.

The 800 miles of pristine shoreline has boaters, paddlers and anglers seeking to explore the many sides of Norris Lake’s alcoves and bays. The lake has over 56 species of fish and is stocked annually with Walleye and Striped Bass. Striped Bass regularly reach sizes of 25 pounds and larger. No boat? No problem! There are commercial marinas for renting recreational boats and over 50 public access sites.

Land adventures can wander the 20-plus miles of scenic trails that weave through the park’s valleys and ridges, providing spectacular views of Norris Lake. There are 15 trails that range in length from .5-mile to five miles and vary in difficulty from easy to strenuous. There are several trail options for connecting to the Norris Watershed Trails, which climb from the shoreline to the hillier section of the Park. You can find a full list of trails and descriptions here.

Norris is especially fun on July 4th, which the community has deemed “Norris Day.” This year, they’ve started their celebrations early, kicking off the “40 on the 4th” program that includes over 80 activities and events for visitors to enjoy. Activities range from patriotic-themed crafts to water games, museum tours, and history and nature lessons with park rangers. The festivities culminate with a wonderful fireworks display in the evening.

Get Out & Play at Norris Dam State Park this summer, and you’ll be in for some incredible adventures, whether you’re exploring the trails or paddling the beautiful lake. Find more ways to get out and play at

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