The most bio-diverse river in the Northern hemisphere.

From its headwaters in Tazewell to the Tennessee state line, the Clinch is the most bio-diverse of all rivers in the Northern hemisphere – home to the nation’s greatest concentration of rare and imperiled freshwater animals, and second only to the Amazon overall. It’s also considered the Heart of Appalachia’s nature-made waterpark!

From whitewater rafting, leisure kayaking, canoeing, canorkeling, fishing or swimming its waters, to hiking, birding/wildlife watching, picnicking, and camping along its banks, you can discover your own style of adventure on the Clinch!

Retrace the footsteps of the American history. Named for an otherwise forgotten explorer, the Clinch River played a major role in the exploration and settlement of southwestern Virginia. Early settlers made their homes along its eastern shore, while others crossed the formidable flow and explored the wilderness beyond; Daniel Boone among them. The Clinch River is an outdoor classroom covering many different subjects. Get to know the Clinch.

Click for ways to play on the Clinch

Hometowns of the Clinch

The Clinch is home to a number of increasingly vibrant communities. The region has a rich heritage and this most recent transformation testifies again to the bounty of the region. Visit. Get to know some of the good people along Virginia’s Hidden River.


At the headwaters of the Clinch, the Town of Tazewell’s historic architecture and mountain heritage complement a relaxing outdoor experience. Boat and fish at Lincolnshire Park, walk tree- lined streets of stately homes and visit Crab Orchard Museum’s Pioneer Park to experience stories of the region’s early settlement.


Even the pronunciation of?the name of this Tazewell?County economic hub? stresses the importance of the natural resources. Rich lands, indeed! From coal boom town to cultural center along the Clinch, Richlands? offers a unique look at late?19th architecture and several dining opportunities. Stretch your legs along the Town of Richlands’ Williams Field greenway path and let the young explorers loose at the Critterville Playground.


Lewis Creek passes through Honaker prior to meeting up with the Clinch. Cyclists on the TransAmerica Trail know the Redbud Capital of the World for its easy hospitality, starkly contrasting the physical punishment of Big A Mountain. And for drivers, it’s hard to pass this compact community without wanting to stop, take a downtown walk, and enjoy a home-style meal at one of several restaurants.


Explore a broad and gentle section of the Clinch in this Russell County community. Once a center for the movement of livestock, lumber, and coal, Cleveland is now a quiet hamlet surrounded by natural treasures. Sit on a mossy rock by a waterfall. Learn about the globally rare plant species protected nearby. Listen to traditional music at a riverside park. Cleveland is a perfect place to launch or end a day of great paddling.

Cedar Bluff

A restored gristmill nestled among the hills where Indian Creek meets the Clinch is just one of the great photo opportunities in Cedar Bluff. For more, hike to the top of Overlook Trail, study the unique geology of The Cut, or quietly watch for wildlife in a riverside park. Get to know the Clinch even better: ask a local resident for directions to the swimming hole.

St. Paul

A moving river experience flows throughout the Town of St. Paul. The ecological and commercial hub offers hiking trails, summertime tube floats, kayaking, off -road recreation, and a riverside disc golf course. But it’s okay to sit still too—perhaps after a hike on Bluebell Island or atop Sugar Hill, while bird watching at Wetlands Estonoa, or over a cup of coffee in a local restaurant or on Market Square on Saturday morning.


It’s easy to see why land-seeking Scots-Irish and English immigrants settled on this broad flat stretch along the Clinch in Scott County. For outdoor lovers, it’s a good choice for a day visit. Launch or take out here on your floating adventure. Enjoy the community and showmanship at Scott County Horse Park. Or travel the Dungannon and Clinch River Driving Tour and learn more about the area.


Spirits of the Clinch

It has been said that the Clinch River is haunted by many spirits of yesteryear, with legends of busted stills and revenuers claiming victory during the bootleg era. Today you can experience the Spirits of the Clinch and taste the region’s best beers and wines made with water from the Northern Hemisphere’s most biologically diverse river! Starting on either end of Virginia’s Hidden River, you can find a distillery, two breweries, and three wineries waiting like old friends at the end of a dirt road to greet you. Each has its own distinctive character and flavors that will definitely bring you to come back for more!

Painted Peak Brewing Co.

Painted Peak Brewing Co and Tap Room is located on historic Main Street, Tazewell. Housed in a 1940’s era Dodge dealership, Painted Peak has retained much of the building’s original character. Local history and legends are crafted into each beer created here, and the stories can be as refreshing as the flavorful beer. A chef specially trained in craft beer cuisine produces unmatched culinary arts for the region, including Appalachian Nachos, Pork Belly Po Boys, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, and a Virginia Charcuterie Board. Follow us on Facebook! 386 Main Street, Tazewell, VA 276.988.7325

Plum Creek Winery

Plum Creek Winery is located in Thompson Valley, Virginia, just 3 miles off the Back of the Dragon motorcycle route. Located in a beautiful serene setting, Plum Creek Winery is proud to be the first and only winery in Tazewell County. We offer 12 fruit, berry, and grape wines. All of our fruit is hand picked and bursting with flavor. A tasting room is available to taste all of our delicious wines. We also offer paint n’ sip classes and tours of our orchards. Keep up with us on Facebook (Plum Creek Winery) or call 276.988.9792

Vincent’s Vineyard

Vincent’s Vineyard is a family owned and operated farm which lies at the foothills of the majestic Clinch Mountain, the perfect venue for tasting wine and gatherings. Come and “Experience the Grapeness” in a relaxing atmosphere with some good old fashioned hospitality you won’t forget. Try our fine wines that will please your palate every time! We look forward to your visit for free wine tastings and tours! The winery is located in Lebanon Virginia, off of Route 19. 2313 East Main Street, Lebanon, VA 276.889.2505

Stone Mountain Distilling

Stone Mountain Distilling, home of Virginia Heritage Moonshine, is located in the town of Lebanon, Virginia. We distill hand-crafted small-batch spirits that are true to the roots of the Appalachian Mountains. We are the first legal distillery in Lebanon since prohibition. Stop by and take a tour of our distillery and have a taste of some of the best spirits around. Follow us on Facebook! 2219 E Main Street Lebanon, VA 24266

Sugar Hill Brewing Co.

Sugar Hill Brewing Company is an 80 seat restaurant / brewpub located in the town of St. Paul, Virginia. Family friendly and located in the historic downtown district of Saint Paul, Sugar Hill’s guests enjoy the industrial feel of exposed brick, large windows, and metal ceilings. Add vintage pinball machines, a foosball table, and a 10 foot TV screen to the delicious menu of original Americana food including deep fried pimento cheese balls and farm fresh burgers with 12 house made craft beers on tap at all times. Follow us on Facebook! 16622 Broad Street, St. Paul, VA 276.738.1088

MountainRose Vineyards

MountainRose Vineyards is a family owned award-winning winery and vineyard nestled in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. The family estate vineyard is the first to be planted on land once mined for coal. Abundant in minerals, the soil gives the wines beautiful rich colors and intense fruity flavors and aromas not found in other wines. All the grapes are hand pruned and grown in the cool mountain air with plenty of sunshine, then harvested and sorted by hand so only the best grapes go into the wines. Visit soon, tour the vineyards and taste the wines. 10439 N. Reservoir Rd, Wise, VA 276.328.2013

Clinch River Photos


  • Visit the Clinch River
  • Clinch River (Wikipedia)
  • Clinch River (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)
  • Clinch River Valley Initative

Things to Do

  • Sugar Hill Loop Trail

    This well-maintained hiking and biking trail extends nearly 8 miles around and over Sugar Hill, the large ridge north of Oxbow Lake Park. The trail climbs steeply to the ridge and then curves back around near the dam at the eastern end of Oxbow lake. The Lower River Trail traverses the banks of the State Scenic Clinch River. This river is home to several species of endangered freshwater mussels. F...

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