Take a trip around the Bays Mountain lake

Matthew Lane • Jun 30, 2020 at 6:00 PM

KINGSPORT — From beginner canoeing to experienced kayakers, Bays Mountain Park will have a program for every paddling experience this summer.

Beginning in July, the park is bringing back its ever-popular paddling programs with more dates for guests to enjoy the lake from a new perspective. Programs include kayak lessons, evening canoe/kayak tours and lake tours focused on the beavers and waterfowl that live in and around the reservoir.

“With kayak sales increasing, now’s the time for us to provide for paddling programs,” Senior Naturalist Megan Krager said. “There’s also greater opportunity for social distancing on the water.”

For all programs, you must provide your own kayak/canoe, paddle, and Type III PFD (personal flotation device). Krager said the programs are best suited for children 10 and up, and children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.


July 17 and Aug. 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., $10 per non-member and $5 per member.

This program is designed to help beginners establish a base set of skills, or for intermediate paddlers to gain confidence in their expanding skill set. The lesson will cover the parts of a kayak, what to wear and pack, types of PFDs and kayaks, as well as basic padding strokes. Registration is now open.


July 1 and 15, Aug. 5 and 19, Sept. 2 and 16, Oct. 7 and 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., $10 per non-member, free to members.

Come explore the reservoir on this naturalist-led tour. Experience the sights and sounds of the lake in the evening. For public health and safety purposes, each session is limited to 20 boats. Registration is now open.


July 8 and 22, Aug. 12 and 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., $5 per non-member, free to members.

On this naturalist-led paddling tour, learn about beavers, how they live and their effect on other wildlife. Enjoy a guided evening paddle around the reservoir to see beaver lodges, dams and other signs beavers leave behind. Reservations opened Monday.


July 9 and 23, Aug. 13 and 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., $5 per non-member, free to members.

On this naturalist-led paddling tour, learn about the natural history of the many birds that call Bays Mountain Reservoir home. This guided tour lets attendees experience birding from the comfort of their own canoe or kayak. A quieter boating adventure lets you observe waterfowl closely. Reservations opened Monday.


Pre-registration is required for all paddling programs via Eventbrite. Visit Eventbrite.com and search “Bays Mountain Park,” or check out baysmountain.com for direct links. Each program will meet at the dam, and the park advises you to be mindful of social distancing when unloading and launching your boats.

For more information on Bays Mountain Park, visit baysmountain.com or call (423) 229-9447.

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