Outdoor Classes and Seminars

Paddling Classes

Higher Pursuits offers both kayaking and canoeing classes at both the basic and advanced levels. Our instructors are Level 2 certified Kayak Instructors and Level 3 certified Canoe Instructors with the American Canoe Association and have 20+ years of paddling and teaching experience.

In addition to scheduled classes, private lessons are available. Private lessons are not available on the weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. All lessons must be scheduled in advance and are subject to instructor availability.

American Canoe Association

Beginning Basic Kayaking Class (TWRA Sponsored)

We are pleased to announce that we have once again partnered with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s Boater Education department to provide Basic Kayaking Classes through the end of June 2023. These classes are funded by a TWRA boating safety grant and are free to the public. You must sign up for these classes on the TWRA Event page.

Description: Want to get your family into kayaking but don’t know where to start? Want to learn a new sport that gets you outside, exploring and exercising, but need help learning how to kayak? Or maybe you own a kayak and want to improve your skills and feel more confident?

Join us for our Beginning Basic Kayaking class and feel more confident on the water. This class is intended for people new to kayaking or paddlers who want to improve their kayaking skills, on flat water. This class will begin with a land-based topics such as kayaking basics; planning a trip; overview of paddles, PFDs, and kayaks; and other safety topics. The class will then move to the on water session where the group will work on paddling skills, entry and exit from a kayak, basic kayak strokes (Forward, reverse, turning), self-rescue, and how to empty a kayak. All our classes use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are not comfortable getting in the water or practicing a particular skill just let your instructor know.

Length of Class: 6 to 7 hours (Weekday classes are 9 am to 2 pm, weekend classes are 8 am to 1 pm)

Cost of Class: This class is funded by a boating safety grant from the TWRA and is free.

What to Bring: This class includes lunch. Please wear shoes that will stay on your feet and can get wet. Plan to dress for the conditions of the day (rainy, cooler, sunny, hot, etc)

What to Expect: This is a physically active class, and you should plan to get in the water.
Minimum Class size: four participants

Minimum Age Requirement: 10 years old and up

Weather and water conditions: All Kayaking Classes are dependent on the weather, if we are not going to be able to conduct your class due to high water conditions or adverse weather conditions we will call before the class.

Class Dates for 2023

  • April 21 (Friday)
  • April 29 (Saturday)
  • May 6 (Saturday)
  • May 12 (Friday)
  • May 13 (Saturday)
  • May 19 (Friday)
  • May 20 (Saturday)
  • June 2 (Friday)
  • June 3 (Saturday)
  • June 7 (Wednesday)
  • June 9 (Friday)
  • June 13 (Tuesday)
  • June 15 (Thursday)
  • June 20 (Tuesday)
  • June 22 (Thursday)
  • June 30 (Friday)

How to Sign up for a class

  • Go to the Go Outdoors TN Event Page
  • Under Event name type “Kayak” in the search block
  • This will pull up all the kayak classes in the system
  • Under each class it will show how many seats are left (7 of 10 seats, or class is full)
  • When you select register, it will take you to the TWRA registration page (which is like buying a fishing license)
  • Please only sign up for one class
  • A few days before each class we will call and email the participants that have signed up for that session so we can provide additional details and answer any questions.

Only sign up for one class, if it shows seat available and you register, then you should have a seat (you might get an email that says you are on a waiting list, even though you are registered.

Basic Canoe Class

Description: Ever wanted to learn how to make a canoe go where you want it to go? Have you ever wanted to learn how to paddle a canoe without frustration? Would you like to feel confident enough to paddle a canoe in the Boundary Waters, the Florida Everglades, or our local rivers?

Length of Class: 6 to 7 hours (Weekday classes are 9 am to 2 pm, weekend classes are 8 am to 1 pm)

Cost of Class: $75 per person

What to Bring: This class includes lunch. Please wear shoes that will stay on your feet and can get wet. Plan to dress for the conditions of the day (rainy, cooler, sunny, hot, etc)

What to Expect: This is a physically active class, and you should plan to get in the water.

Minimum Class size: four participants

Minimum Age Requirement: 12 years old and up

Weather and water conditions: All Canoeing Classes are dependent on the weather, if we are not going to be able to conduct your class due to high water conditions or adverse weather conditions we will call before the class.

Our canoe instructors are Level III certified Canoe Instructors with the American Canoe Association and have 20+ years of paddling and teaching experience.

Class Dates for 2023

We are working on our schedule for 2023


Outdoor Seminars

This year we are adding a series of outdoor classes and seminars that provide information on paddling and outdoor skills. These seminars will focus on topics such as paddling during many seasons, how to read river features, how to read the river gauges, practical map and compass skills and basic camping skills and if you have been thinking about buying a kayak, join us for our in-depth class on buying a kayak, paddle and PFD.

Each outdoor seminar is 2 to 3 hours in length and is taught at the Higher Pursuits Canoe base at our educational shelter.

Outdoor classes on paddling

Reading the River and Gauges, Planning A Trip

Description: There are an amazing number of diverse rivers in Tennessee that are fun to explore and paddle, but the hardest part is figuring out how to plan you trip and then safely navigating an unknown river or lake. This seminar will focus on how to plan your trip and prepare for your next paddling adventure. We will look at how the US Geological system of river gauges work and how to interpret those gauges. Finally, there will be an in-depth discussion on common river features/hazards, how to read those features and the best way to navigate each type.

Length of Class: 2 to 3 hours

Cost of Class: Adults are $20 per person. Children 10 and younger attend for free (limit one child per paying customer)

What to Bring: This workshop is outside so come dressed for the weather (rainy, cold, hot, sunny)

Sign up for a Seminar