Nickajack Lake Tennessee River
When the Tennessee River leaves downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River Gorge, it opens up into a vast, 3,000 acre playground called Nickajack Lake.
Photo by David R. Cartlidge
The lake holds treasures like the derelict Hales Bar Dam, Nickajack Cave, and the mighty Nickajack Dam itself, which facilitates a 40 drop from the lake to the river below through a 600 foot lock.
Several boat launches allow paddlers and power boaters quick access to the lake’s features.
Photo by Diane Blankenbaker
A great summer family paddle is to Nickajack Cave, which serves as a nursery cave for tens of thousands of endangered gray bats.
Day hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, camping
Family, leisure, kayaking, canoeing, standup paddleboarding
Distance from Outdoor Chattanooga
27 miles | 35 minutes
Dawn to dusk at Shellmound
No restrictions at TWRA launches
Yes, at Shellmound Campground
200 River St. in Coolidge Park
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Region III
464 Industrial Blvd.
Crossville, TN 38555