Cordell Hull Dam And Reservoir

Quick Facts

Cordell Hull Dam And Reservoir


(615) 735-1034

Map Directions

Things To Do


Located at the base of the Highland Rim of middle Tennessee, the lake boasts modern campgrounds and day use areas, opportunities for hunters and fisherman, and trails for hikers, backpackers, bicyclists and horseback riders. Canoeing is excellent on the Roaring River section of the lake. There is excellent small game and deer hunting in season.

Because of the temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, visitors have numerous activities from which to choose, including: fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, boating, hiking, and others.

Map of Cordell Hull Dam & Reservoir

Latitude, Longitude: 36.283028, -85.939007



  • Boating

    Cordell Hull Lake provides boaters with a wide variety of opportunities to enjoy their respective recreational interests. The 9,521 acres of water (at normal summer pool) offer an opportunity for all types of recreation. Canoes, sailboats, fishing and hunting boats, pleasure boats, and personal watercraft all share the waters, so each boater has a responsibility to respect other boaters and practice good boating ethics and launching etiquette.

    Cordell Hull Lake also offers two commercial marinas.

  • Bicycling

    In 2006 a group of dedicated volunteers created the Bear Wheels Mountain Bike Trail in Defeated Creek Park, Smith County, Tennessee. The trail has three different loops for various levels of experience. The Bear Den Loop in 0.7 miles long and is perfect for beginners. The Black Bear Loop is for those with some mountain biking experience and is 3 miles long. For the experienced mountain biker the trail offers the Grizzly Bear Loop. This loop is 5.3 miles long.

  • Camping

    Cordell Hull Lake provides camping to meet everyone's needs. There are two developed campgrounds: Defeated Creek Campground (Smith County, Tennessee) and Salt Lick Campground (Jackson County, Tennessee). There are also two areas for primitive camping: Two Prong, located on the Bearwaller Gap Hiking Trail in Smith County, Tennessee and at the Horse Trails, located in Holleman's Bend in Jackson County, Tennessee. The developed campgrounds include washers, dryers, showers, restrooms, boat ramps, beaches, electric, water and some sewer hookups etc. The primitive areas offer outhouses, campsites and a quiet, isolated experience. The developed campgrounds are opened seasonally, while primitive sites are open year-round. For more information on reserving a site in Defeated Creek Campground or Salt Lick Campground, please visit

  • Fishing

    With 381 miles of shoreline and more than 20 boat-launching ramps, Cordell Hull Lake offers a fishing opportunity for anyone with or without a boat. Cordell Hull Lake provides a desirable cold and warm water fishery. Adequate cold water is present year-round; this water is discharged from the hypolimnion of Lake Cumberland and Dale Hollow Lake. Roaring River and its tributaries provide the lake with adequate warm water and are excellent smallmouth bass and rock bass streams.

  • Hiking

    There are two hiking trails in the park: Bearwaller Gap Trail and Turkey Creek Nature Trail. Hiking trails are open year-round.

    The Bearwaller Gap Hiking Trail is a 6 mile trail located in Smith County, Tennessee. The trail begins at the Overlook Recreation Area, meanders by the lake, and ends at Defeated Creek Recreation Area. Make sure to take a camera, as there are many scenic views.

    The Turkey Creek Nature is a 0.5 mile ADA approved trail located next to the Cordell Hull Lake Visitor Center in Smith County, Tennessee. The trail is an easy short walk, and allows for many wildlife sightings. Make sure to look for wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, song birds, and squirrels.

  • Horseback Riding

    Cordell Hull Lake offers 22 miles of marked trails for horseback riding. The Lowland Trail is 10 miles long and perfect for the beginning rider, with flat land near the lake' edge. The Wilderness Trail is 12 miles long and is for the more experienced rider with its steep terrain. At the beginning of both trails there are parking areas for loading and unloading horses. The area also offers a designated primitive camping area. Both the camping area and trails are open year-round. The trails are located in Granville, Tennessee.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is prohibited in developed recreation areas, commercial marinas, group camps, and wildlife refuges. Licenses, hunting season, bag limits, and hunting equipment are controlled by Tennessee state laws and administered by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Hunters can shoot white-tailed deer, wild turkey, water fowl, bobwhite quail, squirrels, rabbits, and foxes.

  • Picnicking

    All the beaches have picnic areas.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming on Cordell Hull Lake is one of the more popular water-based activities. Swimming is prohibited at launching ramps, mooring points, marinas, and posted areas.The Corps of Engineers operates four swim areas: Cordell Hull Lake, Roaring River, Wartrace Creek, and Defeated Creek. All have sand beaches and playground equipment and there is a nominal Day Use Fee. Pets are prohibited from the sand beach area. Both Defeated Creek Campground and Salt Lick Creek Campground include a sandy beach for registered campers and their authorized visitors. All areas offer picnic sites, group shelters, boat launching ramps and bathrooms.


The lake is open year-round, but most of the activities are geared towards warm-weather use.



From Nashville, E on I-40, N on TN 53 to Carthage.

Phone Numbers


(615) 735-1034