10 Places to Take a Canoe Adventure Journey


Ain't Louie Fest, Tennessee

Ain't Louie Fest is named (or not) for its founder. The event began around 2005 in Lenoir City, Tenn., where white-water canoeing legend Michael "Louie" Lewis hosted outings on the Tellico River. The get-together became known informally as Louie Fest, which bothered Lewis. "Call it whatever you want," he would say, "but it ain't Louie Fest" [source: Grace]. His friends honored his wishes (or not). Ain't Louie Fest became the official name, sometimes shortened to ALF.

By any name, Ain't Louie Fest is a bonafide happening, a 10-day open house held in March for white-water canoeists. Champions in the sport and weekend paddlers alike come from across the United States to socialize, shoot the rapids and just show off. The 2012 event drew some 200 people, who were treated to the debut of one canoe maker's innovative new model and freestyle performances by big-name pros.

Ain't Louie Fest culminates in the Upper Tellico Race, which includes Class IV rapids -- marked by high, irregular waves and dangerous, exposed rock, recommended for expert paddlers in covered boats only -- and ends with a 14-foot (22.5-meter) splashdown at Baby Falls.