Destination: Norris Dam State Park

Destination: Norris Dam State Park

October 1st, 2012 Mary Beth Torgerson in Getout Bestmonth

Why We Love It

Norris Lake offers a little bit of everything for everyone. The 4000-acre park provides 700 miles of shoreline as it envelopes the Norris Reservoir, which features some of the best fishing Tennessee has to offer.

More than 15 miles of hiking trails traverse the park's hills and valleys offering spectacular views of the lake and fall foliage. There are also 15 miles of multi-use dirt and gravel trails for biking in the area. The park has a pair of campgrounds with a total of 75 sites available, plus modern bathhouses, picnic tables, playgrounds and grills. Primitive sites are also open for the more rugged set.

Educational Adventure

Norris Lake State Park features three museums on the property. The Lenoir Museum is dedicated to the tools and traits of the Appalachian way of life, while the Rice Gristmill provides a look back into the 18th century as it turns along Clear Creek. In addition, the Caleb Crosby Threshing Barn, originally built in the 1830s, houses a collection of old farm implements.

Colorful Cruise

Park rangers will provide guided fall color pontoon boat tours Oct. 13-28, featuring tree identification and park history lessons. There is a nominal charge and registration is required. Call 865-426-7461 or 1-800-543-9335 for more information.

Off the Hook

Boating is big at Norris Lake with a marina, public boat ramp and pontoon boat rentals available. The Clinch River is one of the Southeast's top trout fisheries and Norris Lake is widely known for rockfish, walleye, bass, crappie and catfish.

Cabin Connection

The park also has 19 rustic vacation cabins and 10 three-bedroom deluxe cabins. All are located in quiet, wooded settings and are completely equipped for housekeeping including electrical appliances, cooking and serving utensils, and linens.