Based on the International Scale of River Difficulty, the Hiwassee River is primarily Class I (moving water with small waves and few obstructions) and Class II (easy rapids with wide, clear channels and some maneuvering required). Certain sections may be considered Class III (rapids with high waves capable of swamping an open canoe, which require complex maneuvering).
TVA Water Release Schedules
CAUTION: The Hiwassee River is controlled by Apalachia Dam to provide power for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Water release schedules can change without notice due to unanticipated changes in weather conditions and power system requirements. A large amount of water may be discharged without warning at any time. The depth and swiftness of the river can change rapidly in the upper section of the river. Your safety depends on obeying all posted safety regulations and warnings.
TVA’s water release schedule for the Hiwassee River is available at:
- TVA - Apalachia Water Release Schedule
- 2020 Apalachia Recreational Release Schedule (PDF)
- TVA also has a downloadable app: TVA Lake Info
- TVA - Hiwassee River Map
Recreational boaters generally require TWO generators to be running for adequate water levels for boating. TVA generally releases water in TWO generators on weekends only from Memorial Day through Labor Day, depending on rainfall amounts during the summer. This release typically begins at 11 a.m. and boaters can generally get on the river by NOON below the Appalachia Powerhouse. Be sure to double-check TVA’s release schedule before departing for your trip.
Water quality reports for the Hiwassee River Blueway can be found on the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation website.