Walking Along the Obed National River {Tennessee}


The weekend took us towards the east part of Tennessee where we went to see the Obed National Wild and Scenic River. This river is maintained by the national park system and offers visitors an incredible place to enjoy the rugged natural beauty of Tennessee.

The Obed River is 45 miles long through the Cumberland Plateau. It is a favorite place for kayaking, fishing, and rock climbing. There are also a number of trails that take visitors through lush greens of rhododendrons and towering rocks.

For our hike, we took the Lily Bluff Overlook Trail where we had the rushing sound of the river on one side and the beautiful layered rocks on the other side. This river joined the national park system in October 1975 when it was designated as one of the country’s wild and scenic rivers. They have developed it to a small degree, but there is a focus on keeping it as wild and natural as possible.

The river has many waterfalls and gorges along its path. Because of the smaller creeks that join the river, the river makes a gradual change of flow from mostly south to north and mostly west to east. The deepest point of the river in one of the gorges is 500 feet deep.

This area was home to multiple Native American tribes roughly between the 1300s-1800s. Because of the steep bluffs and rocks, they could not use the land for farming but found it to be a great place to hunt. The rocks provided shelter from the weather as well. The 18th century brought European settlers to the region, but they too used the area for hunting but would live farther away from the river. The visitor center in the city of Wartburg has articles and artifacts from all the different people who benefited from their time by the Obed River.

We loved our hike along the Obed River. It felt like stepping into another world and getting to be part of the wild and scenic for a little piece of time.


If you are interested in some of the other rivers in the National Park system, then you may be interested in these:

Buffalo National River – Arkansas

Chattahoochee River- Georgia

Gauley River- West Virginia


Thank you for coming along on this visit to the Obed National Wild and Scenic River. May the current be gentle and your footing be sure as you walk along the river.

31 thoughts on “Walking Along the Obed National River {Tennessee}

    1. There are rock climbing routes all around the river. A park ranger told us that this is the most popular place for rock climbing in the state. Maybe you need a visit to Tennessee for some rock climbing ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. What a beautiful place to hike, Meg! Those kinds of hike are my absolute favorite with interesting rocks, the sounds of the river, and so much green. It looks like you had the trail to yourselves too. Thank you for sharing the Obed River area with us. We will add it to our next trip to Tennessee.

    1. It was a really lovely area to hike through, so peaceful and quiet. I think you would really love it. And it would be one more of the national park sites to cross off your list ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Another lovely park, Meg, you guys really are spoilt for choice in Tennessee. Appreciated the historic backdrop and that excellent snapshot of the waterfalls through the branches. How ‘wild’ is that river exactly? Could one feasibly expect to see Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon rushing by on any given day?

    1. If only that would happen! I don’t think it’s wild enough for them though, probably a little more tame than they would be use to. It did make for a great place for a walk though ๐Ÿ™‚

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