As the name suggests Norris Dam is the centerpiece of this eastern Tennessee state park. Located on the over 800 miles of shoreline on lake Norris with an artificial reservoir built by Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930's, Norris Dam State Park is an RV paradise spanning across 4,038 acres. The magic of Norris Dam State Park lies in its plentiful opportunities of outdoor recreation such as fishing, hiking, and birding.
Named in honor of Nebraska Senator George William Norris, this park is approximately 20 miles from Knoxville. Covering the eastern and western side of the dam you can spot birds such as waterfowl, osprey, and eagles on its shoreline. Many migratory birds can be sighted in the spring. Animals such as groundhogs and foxes may occasionally be seen too.
If you need a venue to host your next event the Norris Dam State Park Tea Room is a great choice. Situated on the eastern side of the park, this venue is awesome for social gatherings such as weddings and family reunions.
RV Rentals in Norris Dam State Park
Transportation in Norris Dam State Park
Norris Dam State Park is only a half-hour away from Knoxville, making it easily accessible from I-75. You'll want to drive carefully on many of the local roads within the park as some of them can be a bit winding and hilly. US-441 runs right through the park. This road might be a bit difficult for larger RVs to maneuver due to a few hairpin turns, especially near the marina. However, this road also offers one of the most scenic views in the park since you can drive right on top of the dam and see straight across Norris Lake.
The entire park is spread out around Norris Lake. You'll find the Visitor Center and Tea Room on the eastern side, while the Park Office, cabins, and playground are on the western side. While parking is available in various areas throughout the park, it's probably easiest to leave your rig at your campsite if you are staying overnight. Then you can explore the rest of the park by biking, driving a secondary car or by good-old-fashioned walking.
Campgrounds and parking in Norris Dam State Park
Campsites in Norris Dam State Park
You can camp among majestic pines, oaks, and maples at the West Campground, which has 50 sites equipped with water and electric hookups. This campground is not too far from the Park Office, tennis courts, and rec hall. Sites in the West Campground are paved, mostly shaded, and rather private thanks to the surrounding woodland.
Each site features a picnic table, grill, and fire pit. Restrooms, showers, a playground, and a dump station are centrally located. Seasonal laundry facilities are located near the Park Office. RVs and trailers up to 55 feet long can be accommodated. Pets are welcome and you can make reservations up to one year in advance.
Norris Dam State Park has two pet-friendly campgrounds ,namely East and West which are suitable for RV, trailers, and tents. The East Campground is closer to the Tea Room and museum.
The East Campground offers 25 campsites equipped with water and electricity and 10 dry camping sites exclusively for tent campers. Each site features a picnic table, grill, and fire pit. Restrooms, showers, and a dump station are centrally located. You can do your laundry during the peak season at the facilities near the Park Office, which is on the western side of the park.
You can set up your RV on the gravel pad, although some sites are on a slight incline. Rigs up to 50 feet long are permitted. Pets are welcome and you can make reservations up to one year in advance.
Seasonal activities in Norris Dam State Park
Norris Dam State Park offers 15 hiking trails which vary in length from under a mile up to five miles. These scenic trails cover a total of 20 miles combined. These trails are equally distributed, 10 miles on each side of the lake, to ensure visitors can easily access the western and the eastern sections of the park.
For shorter and easy hikes half of the park’s trails are less than a mile, including the beautiful half-mile Lakeside Trail. Advanced hikers will love more challenging routes like the five-mile Lakeview Trail and the four-mile Marine Railway Loop. For visitors interested in biking most of Norris Dam State Park trails are perfectly suited for multi-use purposes. In March and April, you can enjoy traversing the wooded trails while viewing the amazing display of wildflowers.
If you enjoy fishing, you have every reason to consider Norris Dam State Park as your next RV vacation destination. The Norris reservoir is a habitat for brown and rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and crappie. There are also plenty of walleye and striped bass which can weigh up to 25 pounds. Fishing licenses and supplies can be purchased from the marina.
Visiting Historic Sites
For history buffs, a visit to Lenoir Museum Cultural and Historical Complex is a must when RV camping at Norris Dam State Park. The handicap accessible museum is dedicated to South Appalachian history and artifacts pertaining to farming and the dam. Named after Will .G. Lenoir, who donated these artifacts, this museum does a great job of preserving early American history. Other interesting historical attractions include the Rice Gristmill, which was initially built in the 18th century, a 19th-century German Barrel Organ, and the Caleb Crosby Threshing Barn, which exhibits farm tools and horse wagons.
Norris Dam State Park has multi-use trails suitable for equestrian use in the east side of the park. For horseback enthusiasts, there are trails perfect for beginners, as well as experienced riders. The park features four equestrian trails: the one-mile Camp Sam Trail, the five-mile Lakeview Trail, the two-mile Lakeside Loop, and the nearly three-mile Highpoint Trail.
Equipped with a handicap accessible marina, Norris Dam State Park offers excellent boating experiences for its RV guests. Norris Dam Marina is fully-equipped with a public boat ramp offering a variety of boat rentals including ski boats, fishing boats, and pontoon boats. In October, Norris Dam State Park offers one-hour pontoon boat trips starting from the marina. For luxury guests, there are houseboats available in Norris Dam Marina.
The Norris Dam State Park swimming pool opens from Memorial Day weekend until early August. The pool operates from Wednesday through Sunday, with exception of holiday weeks when the pool opens its doors to visitors daily. If you are planning to camp during this season you will enjoy discounted prices. Lifeguards are available to help swimmers. Amenities in the pool area include lounge chairs and picnic tables.