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Norris Reservoir

Photo of norris reservoir and shoreline

Norris Reservoir in east Tennessee extends 73 miles up the Clinch River and 56 miles up the Powell from Norris Dam. It was the first dam TVA built, and is named for Senator George Norris of Nebraska, author of the legislation that created TVA.

Norris is a popular tourist and recreation destination. In the 1930s, TVA established demonstration public parks at several locations on Norris Reservoir, including Cove Lake, Big Ridge, and the area around Norris Dam. These parks later became the nucleus of Tennessee’s state park system.

Norris features numerous hiking trails. The River Bluff Trail is the longest at 3.1 miles and offers rich pockets of wildflowers. The Edge Path is a shady corridor with wheelchair access. The Songbird Trail is, as the name suggests, a popular area for birding.

Water sports at Norris include boating, water skiing, swimming, and excellent fishing. The Tennessee state record brown trout was caught in the Clinch River below Norris Dam.

2014 Rain and Runoff

TVA manages the Tennessee River system and its tributaries to maximize its many benefits. We keep reservoirs full as possible during the summer for recreation, while also providing flood control, navigation, water supply and quality and low-cost power generation.

We depend on rain and runoff beginning in March through the spring to fill the reservoirs. Rain which results in runoff filling Norris is currently lower than normal. The average runoff during the spring fill for the Norris watershed is 5.85 inches. This year we’ve only received 2.57 (as of 5/19), this is 44% of normal. Unfortunately, the below average rain and runoff will result in lower than normal summer lake levels on Norris.

Norris Dam Visitor Center

The Norris Dam Visitor Center is located off Interstate 75 exit 122 north of Knoxville. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday from May through November except major holidays. Staffed by TVA retirees, the visitor center overlooks the powerhouse, Norris Reservoir and a marina. It has maps, videos, and displays about TVA and the construction of the dam.

More information on Norris Reservoir

Operating guide

Daily reservoir operation information

Sportfish survey results

Sportfish ratings

Ecological health ratings

Tailwater improvements

Recreation facilities

Recreation release schedule

 

 

Directions to Norris Dam

From Knoxville, Tenn., go north on Interstate 75 toward Lexington to exit 122. At the bottom of the ramp, turn right and go east on state Highway 61 toward Norris/Clinton. After about 1.5 miles turn left onto U.S. Highway 441 (Norris Freeway) and go north about 5 miles to the dam. Total driving distance from Knoxville is about 21 miles. Estimated driving time is about 24 minutes.

           
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