Winter kayaking in the smokies can be a wonderful experience, and this winter has been no different. From well below freezing temperatures to winter monsoons bringing the waters up to gnarly levels, it has been a great paddling year so far.

This cold weather paddling can only really be enjoyed when you are prepared for it, though. Which brings up a small discussion:

Cold Weather Essentials

Anyone familiar with the great outdoors knows that your time spent outside can be greatly improved if you are properly prepared with the right gear from head to toe. So lets look at what that means for kayaking. Start with your base layer. Wool and fleece never go wrong. One particular favorite of most of the paddlers in this area is the IR Union Suit. The Union Suit is fleece onesie that will most likely have you sweating after your first lap down the Ledges. If the onesie doesn’t fit your style, some bottoms and a wool top will keep you comfy under your dry gear. After that, some wool or neoprene socks will keep all those little piggies nice and snug while they’re shoved in the bottom of a boat. Next we’ll talk about dry gear. Simply said, a good dry suit can’t be beat. Kokotat, IR and NRS are by far the top places to look for a solid dry suit. Although a little bit of an investment, you’ll understand that it is well worth the price if you’ve ever paddled with a thrown together “almost dry” suit. It being the investment that it is, a solid set of dry pants and dry top will suffice just fine if your wallet is a little too tight for a suit…just keep your swims minimal. Finally, slap some pogies on that paddle and hit the water.

Its a different world than paddling during the summer, but winter paddling is a blast. The creeks that run during the winter provide endless entertainment, such as the Annual Tellico Huck Fest on January 1. This is a great little festival that has grown over the past 4 years to be a favorite for smokies paddlers. This year gave us a brisk 24 degrees when we put on, and it was an absolutely great paddling day. Water level was great and there was a good number of paddlers that joined in to huck in the New Year over Baby Falls.

Keep updated on our Facebook page by searching for “world kayak smokies region”. This is a great way to keep in the loop with local paddlers, as well as to set meeting times and extend your network. Finally, we look at the release schedule that has recently been given for 2014. Hope to see y’all out, and Happy Paddling!


  • February 22-23 – Cheoah
  • March 15, 16, 17 – Cheoah
  • April 5-6 – Tallulah
  • April 5-6 – Cheoah
  • April 12-13 – Tallulah
  • April 12-13 – Cheoah
  • April 19-20 – West Fork
  • April 26-27 – Cheoah
  • April 26-27 – Nanty
  • May 3-4 – Cheoah
  • May 17-18 – Cheoah
  • May 17 – West Fork
  • May 24-25 – Cheoah
  • June 7 –West Fork
  • June 21 – Nanty
  • June 28-29 – Cheoah
  • July 2 – Nanty
  • July 5 – West Fork
  • July 19 – Nanty
  • July 26 – West Fork
  • Aug 9 – West Fork
  • August 16 –  Nanty
  • Sept 27-28 – Nanty
  • Nov 1 – Cheoah
  • Nov 1-2 – Tallulah
  • Nov 8-9 – Tallulah
  • Nov 16-17 – Tallula