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