Lakes and Rivers
Middle Tennessee is rich in lakes, rivers, and streams creating vast opportunities for boating, water sports, fishing, camping, hunting, hiking and other kinds of recreation. Several of the most prominent lakes – reservoirs really – are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including JPercy Priest Lake and Old Hickory Lake just outside of Nashville. Other large lakes in the region include Center Hill Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, Lake Barkley, and Kentucky Lake.
The dams that form these lakes help with flood control and provide hydroelectric power.
The Cumberland River flows right through downtown Nashville. River Front Park is a popular location during the summer time for concerts, the 4th of July fireworks show, as well as many other events set right on the shoreline looking across the river at the Tennessee Titans stadium.
Smaller lakes and rivers in Middle Tennessee include:
Here is some information on the major lakes (click on the names for more detailed information):
- Center Hill Lake – This lake is located 60 miles east of Nashville off I-40. Among the facilities at Center Hill Lake are Edgar Evins State Park and the Joe L. Evins Appalachian Center for Crafts. Burgess Falls State Natural Area and Rock Island State Park are also located on the lake.
- Dale Hollow Lake – Dale Hollow Lake, located about 75 miles northeast of Nashville on the Kentucky Tennessee state line, abounds with fish and wildlife. It is also home to one of the largest wintering bald eagle populations in the area.
- JPercy Priest Lake – J. Percy Priest Lake, located a few miles east of downtown Nashville, offers recreational opportunities to millions of visitors each year. There are many opportunities for boating, camping and swimming. The lake also is home to the Nashville Shores water park.
- Old Hickory Lake– Old Hickory Lake, located northeast of downtown Nashville, is home to numerous species of wildlife, including abundant populations of waterfowl and wading birds. It offers many opportunities for boating and family activities.
- Lake Barkley– Straddling the Tennessee-Kentucky border northwest of Nashville is Lake Barkely. The lake is home to Lake Barkley state resort park, which is about 75 miles northwest of Nashville.
- Kentucky Lake – Also straddling the state line and running roughly parallel to Lake Barkley is Kentucky Lake. The area between the two lakes is called Land Between the Lakes, a beautiful nature area.
Other Middle Tennessee lakes include:
- Cheatham Lake, which is about 20 miles northwest of Nashville in Cheatham County.
- Cordell Hull Lake, which is about 50 miles east of Nashville at Carthage, TN.
- Tims Ford Lake, which about 75 miles southeast of Nashville at Winchester.