9 Lakes Region - Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council

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Explore the Area

(yellow/peach shading across the top of the region)
Elgin, Fairview, Huntsville, Robbins, Oneida, Coalfield, Oakdale, Petros, Rugby, Sunbright, Wartburg, Caryville, Jacksboro, Jellico, LaFollette, Cumberland Gap, Harrogate, New Tazewell, Tazewell

Cumberland Mountains

Rugged forested gorges offer a glimpse into the life of determined frontiersmen and women who struggled and sacrificed to travel along the Wilderness Road crossing Cumberland Gap. Daniel Boone led pioneer travelers across the treacherous mountain route, surviving attacks, robbers, wild cats and poisonous snakes. Today, the undeveloped landscape is now a playground for the true outdoors enthusiast. Hiking, camping, elk viewing, rock climbing, kayaking, and ATVing are just a few of the recreational activities found at the Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park, Frozen Head State Park, Hatfield Knob, Sundquist Wildlife Management Area, Ride Royal Blue and the Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area, Brimstone Recreational and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. For a unique perspective on community development, visit Historic Rugby, a restored Victorian Village created as a utopian, class-free society in 1880, about 100 years after the famous Wilderness Road crossing. Twenty of the original 65 buildings still stand as testament to the cooperative, agricultural community established by social reformer Thomas Hughes.

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Andersonville, Clinton, Lake City, Norris, Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs, Caryville, Jacksboro, Jellico, LaFollette, Luttrell, Maynardville, Plainview

Norris Highlands

Scotch-Irish immigrants settled in this region because of the scenic beauty. Today visitors enjoy wide open spaces, a clear emerald lake, and a rich heritage of culture, music and history. With over 800 miles of shoreline, Norris Lake is one of the cleanest lakes in North America and perfect for boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, and fishing. The Chuck Swan Wildlife Management Area located at the confluence of the Clinch and Powell Rivers and the 72,000 acre Coal Creek OVH provide activities for hunters, bikers, ATV enthusiasts and wildlife watchers. For history buffs, the Museum of Appalachia and the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park relate the fascinating stories of the early settlers of the area. The American Museum of Science and Energy relate the details of more recent history in the once secret city of Oak Ridge where the atomic bomb was built as part of the World War II Manhattan Project.

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Greenback, Lenoir City, Loudon, Philadelphia, Harriman, Kingston, Rockwood

Tennessee Valley

The flow of the Tennessee River greatly influenced the growth and development of this area.  With many small valleys and ridges, the rolling hills offered privacy and seclusion without the cost of isolation for early settlers and farmers. The rivers and waterways connected people and places, then and now. The locks, dams and waterway system constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for the purposes of electric power, flood control, navigation, an adequate supply of water and other related benefits have turned this area into a water-lover’s playground. Watts Bar Lake (771 miles of shoreline), Melton Hill Dam and Lake (173 miles of shoreline), Tellico Dam and Lake (373 miles of shoreline) and Fort Loudon Reservoir and Dam (360 miles of shoreline) offer boating, fishing, swimming, camping, public access areas, and jet ski, boat and houseboat rentals. These lakes are home to Rock Bass, Bluegill, White Bass, Sauger, White Crappie, Spotted Bass, Warmouth, Large Mouth Bass, and Rainbow Trout. Catch your next trophy fish in the Tennessee Valley!

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Knoxville Area

Knoxville, the largest city in East Tennessee, offers a wonderfully diverse mix of big-city amenities and attractions delivered with small-town charm and hospitality. You’ll have your choice of over 600 restaurants and 800 hotel rooms surrounded by unsurpassed natural beauty and great places everyone will enjoy. The city’s downtown area is bursting with activity, from the Emporium Center for Arts & Culture and the Knoxville Museum of Art to fantastic performances at the Tennessee and Bijou Theatres. Knoxville boasts seven historic homes from the Civil War and the First Frontier, a world-renowned zoo exhibiting more than 230 species and a year-round cavalcade of thrilling sporting events featuring world-class athletes, from Olympic gold medalists to stars on the verge of global fame. With events such as the Dogwood Arts Festival, the Knoxville Opera's Rossini Festival, the Sundown in the City concert series and Boomsday, the nation’s largest Labor Day fireworks display, every season offers a vibrant vacation in the big city.

(blue on the right middle of the region)
Blaine, Rutledge, Tate Springs, Clinch Mountain, Dandridge, Jefferson City, White Pine, Morristown


Host to several major Bass tournaments, Cherokee and Douglas Lakes are home to White Bass, Small Mouth and Large Mouth Bass, Crappie, Catfish, Bluegill and more. The many marinas offer amenities for every level of expertise and budget. After a long day of enjoying water sports such as swimming, jet skiing or fly-fishing, indulge in luxury at the Mountain Harbor Inn. In the mountains, between the lakes, historic Dandridge has all the beauty of a small town from yesteryear, and wonderful dining options at Tinsley Bible Drugstore, Angelo’s at the Point and Smoky’s Steak and BBQ. Today’s modern farmlands were the frontier for Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and tell the story of early settlers who traveled America’s crossroads and created homesteads here in East Tennessee. Farm-fresh produce, like world-famous Grainger County Tomatoes, make it easy to identify with simpler times. Clinch Mountain, a strategic signal point for Civil War soldiers, towers above, offering a breathtaking lookout along Highway 25E, newly named a National Scenic Byway: East Tennessee Crossing.

(green across the bottom of the region)
Madisonville, Sweetwater, Tellico Plains, Vonore, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Bybee, Cosby, Del Rio, Hartford, Newport

Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are among the oldest mountains in the world, and best known for the iconic hazy mist that rises above them. Ridge upon ridge of forested elevations from 875 to 6,643 feet make for spectacular views whether you are whitewater rafting on the Pigeon River or driving on the Foothills Parkway, the Cherohala Skyway and the Tail of the Dragon. Creep deep below the mountains into the cave at the Lost Sea Adventure to see a lake as big as a football field. Douglas and Tellico Lakes are perfect for fishing and boating, and with over 800 miles of trails, the National Park offers camping, picnicking, photography and bird and wildlife viewing for outdoor enthusiasts. For authentic Southern Appalachian charm, visit the Cosby entrance to the Park, and stop in at Holloway’s Country Home Quilts and Carver’s Apple Orchard. The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and Coker Creek tell the story of the lasting impact of the legacy of the Cherokee culture on this region.