Center Hill Lake

Quick Facts

Center Hill Lake


(931) 858-3125

Map Directions

Things To Do


Center Hill Lake is managed by the Nashville District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake provides varied outdoor recreation opportunities for millions of visitors each year. Because of the temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, visitors have numerous activities to choose from including fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, boating, canoeing, hiking, and many others. The Center Hill Lake Information Center located at the Resource Manager's Office offers the visitor a pictorial history of the construction of the dam and a wildlife exhibit featuring many of the birds and animals which are found in the area.

Located in the Cumberland Mountains of central Tennessee, this lake offers excellent smallmouth bass, walleye, and white bass fishing. Deep, clear water provides recreationists a beautifull setting for nearly any activity. Fancher and Burgess Falls provide beautiful scenic views. Bluffs and steep, forested hillsides enrich the natural beauty of the lake.

Map of Center Hill Lake

Latitude, Longitude: 36.082402, -85.849571



  • Boating

    Center Hill Lake offers nine commercial marinas that provide a wide variety of services for visitors to the lake. Services such as fuel, private boat moorage, electrical and water hookups, boat rentals, fishing and marine supplies, restaurants and snack bars, and restrooms are offered by most facilities. To encourage boaters to follow "No Discharge" policy regarding proper disposal of treated or untreated sewage, each marina provides vessel pumpout services for a small fee.

  • Camping

    A primitive camping permit is required for shoreline camping within a designated primitive camping area. House boaters who are not involved in camping activities do not need a primitive camping permit. Camp fires are allowed in grills and fireplaces.

    Floating Mill Campground has campsites for tents and RVs.

  • Fishing

    Center Hill Lake and the Caney Fork River downstream of the Center Hill Dam are very popular areas for fishing. Due to the cooler water temperatures released from the dam, the Caney Fork has become one of the most productive trout fisheries in the state. The river is easily accessed from Interstate 40 at access areas such as Buffalo Valley, Long Branch, Happy Hollow, and Betty's Island, all of which are located within ten minutes of I-40, exit 268 (Buffalo Valley Exit). Other trout streams in the area such as Pine Creek and Sink Creek are stocked by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency regularly.

  • Hiking

    There are three hiking trails: Buffalo Valley Nature Trail, Lost Springs Trail, and Ye Ole Red Post Trail.

  • Hunting

    Center Hill Lake is a popular destination for many hunters. With approximately 20,000 acres of forested public property along the shoreline at Center Hill Lake, endless opportunities for hunting white-tail deer, wild turkey, and small game (squirrel, rabbits) abound.

  • Picnicking

    The Corps of Engineers manages several picnic areas on Center Hill Lake. At some of these scenic, relaxing areas, there are group picnic shelters. Four of these shelters may be reserved (for a fee) up to 360 days in advance. Reservations may be made through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) no less than four days before the picnic date. When a shelter is not reserved, it is available on a first come, first-served basis. Shelters are available for reservation from April until October.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming on Center Hill Lake is one of the more popular water-based activities. Swimming is prohibited at launching ramps, mooring points, marinas, public docks, and posted areas. It is allowed elsewhere, but for safety's sake please swim only in specifically designated areas. These areas are much safer as they are off-limits to boaters of all kinds. They are surrounded by "restricted area" buoys and a floating orange pipeline. The Corps of Engineers operates three such swim areas on Center Hill: Ragland Bottom Recreation Area (Day Use), Floating Mill Day Use and Floating Mill Campground (the latter is open to registered campers only). All three have sand beaches where pets are prohibited. At the two Day Use Areas there is a nominal Day Use Fee. No pets are allowed at these two areas. Near each day use beach are playgrounds, picnic sites, group shelters, boat launching ramps, and bathrooms.


The area has a temperate climate and relatively long recreation season.



From Nashville, 50 mi E on I-40 to Exit 268, then 6 mi S on TN 141.

Phone Numbers


(931) 858-3125