Nickajack Lake

Nickajack Lake is the reservoir created by Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Nickajack Dam. It extends 46 miles upstream from Nickajack Dam to Chickamauga Dam, passing through the heart of downtown Chattanooga and offering spectacular views Tennessee River Gorge.

Boat ramps and fishing berms are located on both sides of the river below the dam, and a concrete fishing pier with footbridges and a wheelchair ramp is available. TVA camping and picnicking facilities are also available.

The river is prime habitat for small and largemouth bass, striped bass, white bass, panfish, and catfish. When the river leaves the gorge and opens up into Nickajack Lake, anglers can access islands, sloughs and the outflow of dozens of underground springs and caverns, perfect hiding places for the perfect catch.

Nickajack Cave Wildlife Refuge was once used by Native Americans and Civil War soldiers. It now offers a special wildlife viewing opportunity each evening at dusk between late April and early October when thousands of endangered gray bats emerge for their nightly feeding.

Two boat launches on either end of the cave’s inlet allow for easy access by paddle craft to the mouth of the cave, which provides the best vantage point for viewing the bats. NOTE: Paddlers should be equipped with a white stern light or headlamp, as they will be paddling back to the launch after dark.

The Maple View Public Use Recreation Area has a swimming area, picnic tables and a trail with an observation deck that leads to the mouth of the cave, giving those without a watercraft access to view the bats.



Hours and Cost

Open Daily: Sunrise to Sunset

Cost: Free

Pet Friendly

Yes, on a leash


Tennessee Valley Authority

400 West Summit Hill Drive

Knoxville TN 37902

(865) 632-2101



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