:: Tennessee River & Tenn-Tom Waterway ::
© 1993 - 2013 CaptainJohn.org
"The Water World of America's Heartland"
( Why cruising the Great Loop is much-much more than just a great loop. )
The Tennessee River leg of your adventure will take you 215 beautiful miles from
Paducah, KY to the junction to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, provided of course, you
can resist the temptation of it beckoning you farther.
It begins near its eastern border with Georgia and then flows westward, before flowing
northward back into Tennessee. The largest lakes it traverses are Guntersville, Wheeler,
Wilson and Pickwick.
As a Looper, if you are also an angler, sightseer or lover of history, you will want to take a
side-trip along the full navigable length of the Tennessee River, from Paducah to
Chattanooga and Knoxville. (It is the Cumberland river that takes you to Nashville.)
This leg of your voyage is 215 miles. Pioneers (including Daniel Boone) referred to it as
the Cherokee River. Now, the Tennessee River is one of the most popular vacation spots in
America. Its rich fascinating history includes Cherokee Indians, early colonial pioneers,
Revolutionary war heroes, and Civil War battles. Today, the Tennessee RIver provides a
magnificent variety of boat accessible concerts, festivals, museums, Historic Sites, Landmarks,
resorts and activities.
a 234-mile long man-made waterway connecting the Tennessee River and the Tombigbee
River. The north end connects to the Tennessee River near where the borders of River near
its confluence with the Black Warrior River at Demopolis, Alabama.
This of course, is your route to Mobile Bay and the Gulf ICW.

For now, it is enough to know, that you will NOT be alone on the Tenn-Tom. More then
15,000 recreational boats a year are transiting the Waterway in all directions between Cuba
Landing in Waverly Tennessee and Mobile, AL. In addition commercial Barges and Tow
boats are running 24 hours a day.

Maybe the most important item you need to know, is that the only fuel available
between Demopolis and Easter Shore Marina in Mobile Bay is Bobby's Fish Camp. That
makes it the fourth farthest distance between fuel stops on the entire Great Loop and the
second farthest on the Tennessee -Tombigbee route.  

There are some 40 recreation areas that provide easy access to over 44,000 acres of
water - and some of the very best fresh water fishing in the world. In addition, (unlike the
Lower Mississippi) there are plenty of safe anchorages and marinas to meet your needs.

The Demopolis to Mobile portion of this journey however is about as remote and
uninhabited as you will find on your entire Great Loop adventure. It is a natural river stretch
of more then 200 miles, and if you are going slow and easy as we do, you will need to make
advance provisions for everything you need for 3 or 4 days of anchoring out. (For
us, as long as we have provisions and fuel, the more remote it gets, the better we like it.)

All it all, between the Tennessee River, the Tenn-Tom, the Black Warrior-Tombigbee, and
the Alabama River, provides boaters voyaging America's Great Loop an opportunity to boat
right to and through some amazing places.

Cruising the Tenn-Tom requires "boating out of the box". That means that all you have
ever learned still demands the use of your own good common sense. All turns and bends in
the river are not all wide enough for you and that Barge or Tow. You won’t always be able to
follow the charts, and you don't even want to think about cruising at night.  Go slow, sit back
and take in the sounds and the scenery. Take time to stop along the way.
Yes, we know
You can drive from Nashville to
Knoxville in less then 4 hours.  
The great news however is, you
can boat it in 10 days.
the Tennessee River and the
Cumberland. It will also take you
through parts of Kentucky

Furthermore, it is a fantastic  
scenic side-trip you will always
Our opinion:  When it comes to choosing between taking the Tenn-Tom route vs the
Lower Mississippi route, of course the 1st decision has to be based on your vessel's fuel
range. The 2nd decision has to be based on your lifestyle, and that of your crew or Mate.
The Tenn-Tom (direct) route offers 28 marinas, convenient stops, 60 (or more) safer
anchorages, amenities, great site-seeing and wonderful side-trip opportunities.  Sad but
true, this is the very most enjoyable, fun and relaxing route to take.

      A large volume of cool clean water creates great fishing on the Tennessee
    River in both the State of Tennessee and Alabama.  The Tennessee River is known
    for its huge smallmouth bass and blue catfish.
      Four Lakes slow the water before the Tennessee River flows back north into the
    State of Tennessee: Guntersville Lake, Wheeler Lake, Wilson Lake, and Pickwick
    Lake. At these locations boaters are able to lock through each dam on the Alabama
    portion of the Tennessee River.
Bobby's Fish Camp is the only fuel
available between Demopolis and Eastern  
Shore or Dog River Marinas in Mobile Bay.
This makes it a must fuel stop for most of us,
as it is in the middle between 200 plus mile
The Catfish dinner is a bonus!
Bobby's Fish Camp is said to serve the best catfish in the world.  We agree. They
have fuel of course, but fuel or no fuel, we stop for the catfish.
Your last 10 miles or so before reaching Mobile harbor will get very busy. Not only is there
a lot of commercial traffic, you are entering an area with a NO WAKE speed zone.
While there are choices, on both sides of Mobile Bay, once we pass the I-10 bridge, we head
east to Fairhope, and Eastern Shore Marina which is 11 miles away.  
Eastern Shore Marina is located in a protected area just up the Fly Creek channel at the
town of Fairhope. It offers transient slips, gas and diesel, pump out facilities, great shower
and laundry facilities, and a courtesy car. It also has free WIFI access, mast stepping, marine
supplies, and a full service maintenance facility. It is close to shops, restaurants, and also
has on site rental cars for longer use if you need or want one.
Cruising the Gulf ICW - click next.

Marinas on the
Tennessee - Tombigbee
Kentucky Dam Marina
Mile 22

Green Turtle Bay
Mile 25

Pebble Isle Marina
Mile 96

Birdsong Marina
Mile 103.5

Cuba Landing Marina
Mile 115.5

Clifton Marina
Mile 158.5

Grand Harbor Marina
Mile 440.7

Aqua Yacht Harbor
Mile 448.7

Bay Springs Marina
Mile 412

Midway on the Tenn-

Aberdeen Marina
Mile 358.2

Columbus Marina
Mile 334.7

Pirate’s Marina Cove
Mile 307.4

Demopolis Yacht Basin
Mile 216.7

Bobby’s Fish Camp
Mile 118.9
(251) 754-9225

Eastern Shore Marine,
Near marker 72
There are 28 Marinas on the
Tennessee -Tombigbee
route.  Soon to be 29 with
the opening of a new
Marina in Paducah.

= must stop, see & do