Tennessee State Parks

Norris Dam State Park

Activities

Interpretive Programs and Events

The Lenoir Museum Cultural Complex is a must-see for park visitors. The complex includes the Lenoir Pioneer Museum, an 18th Century Rice Grist Mill and Crosby Threshing Barn. Exhibits include Appalachian artifacts and a pre-dam pictorial account of the area submerged by the lake. Tours available by request. 

Caleb Crosby Threshing Barn
Oxen once generated the threshing machine inside the main building. The barn stood for about 100 years along the north side of the Holston River. The land was to be flooded by the building of Cherokee Dam, so the family donated the barn to the National Park Service. The barn remained there dismantled for 34 years. In 1978, the barn was reconstructed at its present site.

18th Century Rice Grist Mill
Originally constructed in 1798 along Lost Creek, this mill was operated by four generations of the Rice family. The mill has had many changes throughout its history. At times, the mill was also rigged to power a sawmill, a cotton gin, a trip hammer and even to operate a dynamo that supplied electrical lights for the Rice home in 1899.

Will G. and Helen H. Lenoir Museum
Will G. Lenoir donated much of the contents of the Museum to the State of Tennessee for permanent display. Mr. Lenoir collected for more than 60 years with a desire that the rapidly changing times not wipe out an appreciation of the hard work and ingenuity that were a part of the everyday life that was disappearing. It was not only the item, but also the stories of the people behind them he cared about. Mr. Lenoir enjoyed sharing his stories with Museum visitors until his death at 97.

Antique Barrel Organ
When you visit the Lenoir Museum, make sure and get a close look at this antique barrel organ. During restoration, a German newspaper dated 1826 was found inside. The organ plays ten different tunes with 110 wood pipes to make the music. Also, with the turning of one hand crank, four stages of figures perform. In all, 44 figures are in action. These figures include dancers dancing, a clown clowning, foot soldiers marching, a woman churning butter and a blacksmith hard at work.

Annual Events - View our event calendar for details. 
March/April - Spring Wildflower Hikes: Each spring,  park staff lead trail hikes along the cool Clinch River, on one of the most diverse pathways of wildflower concentrations in the region.

October - Pickin' in the Park: Get your toes tapping with old time bluegrass bands at the park’s outdoor amphitheater. Free. Food and drink available.

October - Fall Color Pontoon Boat Trips: Join us as we venture along the shores of Norris Lake via pontoon boat ride and view this beautiful display of nature’s artistry. Each boat ride lasts approximately one hour and will depart from the Norris Dam Marina. Park Rangers will narrate your trip with tree identification and park history. Registration is required by contacting the park office after Labor Day to sign up for a trip. 

December - Holiday Homecoming: This annual event is a family favorite. Walk through time discovering old time traditions representing Tennessee Holiday Homecomings. Local groups and communities help create a winter villiage of festivities. Activities include  live animal demonstrations, historical depictions of Appalachian life, horse-drawn wagon rides, old-time music, and holiday treats. 

Boating

Located on the shores of Norris Lake, the park offers recreational boating, skiing and fishing. A large, fully equipped commercial marina is located near the dam. The marina has a boat ramp and offers boat rentals including pontoon and house boats. For more information including guide services please call the marina at 865-494-8138.

Swimming

The Norris Dam pool is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Admission is $4 per person ages three and older and $2 for campers and cabin guests. Pool passes are $75 for 40 visits. Children under three must wear swimming diapers. Lounge chairs are available and there are several picnic tables nearby.

Birding

Waterfowl, Osprey and Eagles frequent the lake and the forests harbor great numbers of migratory birds in the spring and fall.

Fishing

Norris Dam is a 34,000-acre flood control impoundment on the Clinch River and provides excellent opportunities for fishing. Anglers may expect catches for Largemouth, Spotted and Smallmouth Bass. The lake is popular for the large size of Smallmouth Bass caught. The lake is stocked annually with Walleye and Striped Bass. Striped Bass regularly reach sizes of 25 pounds and larger.

The cold tailwater of the Clinch River continues below Norris Dam. Wading for fish during non-generation periods is very productive for Rainbow, Brook and Brown Trout. Bigger trout are often taken by boat during generation periods.

Hiking

The park has fifteen trails. They range in length from .5 mile to 5 miles and vary in degrees of difficulty from easy to difficult. These trails traverse ridge tops, valleys, hollows, and the lakeshore. Mountain biking and equestrian use is available on designated trails. Trail maps are available at the park office. 

Andrews Ridge Trail — 1.8 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate
Rock Creek Trail — 1.2 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate to Difficult
Sinkhole Trail — 0.8 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy to Moderate
Hootin Hollow Trail — 1.1 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy to Moderate
Tennis Court Trail — 0.3 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy
Harmon Loop — 0.4 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy to Moderate
Fitness Trail — 0.9 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy to Moderate
Marine Railway Loop — 4.3 Miles — Natural Surface — Difficult
Lakeside Trail  — 0.4 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy
Christmas Fern Trail — 0.5 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy
Tall Timbers Trail — 0.4 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy
Camp Sam Trail — 1.1 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate
High Point Trail — 2.7 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate to Difficult
Lakeview Trail — 4.9 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate to Difficult
Lakeside Loop — 2.4 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate

Horseback Riding

Norris Dam State Park shares a boundary with the City of Norris. The following trails, located on the east side, are open for equestrian use: Camp Sam, Lake View Trail, Lakeside Loop, and Highpoint Trail.