Obed Wild & Scenic River

You’re Looking At: The view from Lilly Bluff Overlook at Obed Wild & Scenic River.

HomeObed Wild & Scenic River

If you’re into whitewater paddling or rock climbing, you’ve likely heard of the Obed. This free-flowing river, its tributaries, and the sandstone gorges that encase them are among the best places in the eastern United States to do both, and people from all over flock to our neck of the woods to enjoy this special place.

Created by Congress in 1976, the Obed Wild & Scenic River is a free-flowing waterway encased by 500-foot-deep gorges. Specifically, the national park includes Obed River, Clear Creek and Daddy’s Creek, both of which empty into the Obed. It is downstream from the mouth of Daddy’s Creek in Morgan County that the Obed becomes a good stream for whitewater rafting. Daddy’s Creek is an even more treasured destination for paddlers. Together, the streams offer whitewater rapids ranging from Class II to Class IV. 

As for rock climbers, the Obed is the premiere source for rock climbing in Tennessee. There are hundreds of established routes along the sandstone cliffs throughout the park, more than 350 to be precise, as well as boulder climbing opportunities along the river. 

Jessica Brackett climbs the cliff wall above Clear Creek (photo: Mark Large).

Climbing is such a popular activity at the Obed, and the area is so well suited for it, that park rangers hold a monthly event at Lilly Bluff called “Climbing With A Ranger” to introduce beginners to the sport.

Fishing is also a popular activity at the Obed. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and muskie all call the river and its tributaries home. 

There are a variety of hiking trails at the Obed, as well. Trailheads include Lilly Bluff and the Nemo Bridge. 

Finally, the Obed is certified as a “Dark Sky” national park, meaning it is excellent for star-gazers!

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You’re Looking At: The Nemo Bridge at the Obed Wild & Scenic River (photo: Sumer Newport).