Center Hill Lake, Tennessee, USA

Also known as:  Center Hill Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Center Hill Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Center Hill Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Center Hill Lake

Center Hill Lake is almost completely surrounded by the beautiful hardwood forested hills of the Tennessee Eastern Highlands. Center Hill Lake has 18,000 acres of boating, fishing and water recreation with over 400 miles of shoreline. It is an outdoor recreation jewel with over 20 boat ramps and seven marinas. Three state parks afford great camping, hiking, swimming, wildlife viewing, boating, water sports and many other enjoyable relaxation activities. Located just 60 miles from Nashville, Tennessee, Center Hill Lake is a perfect location from which to visit this country music capital and ‘see the sights’. Three very scenic waterfalls complete the picture of a wonderful vacation retreat.

Center Hill Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and Harbor Act of 1946 primarily for flood control and power generation. Construction of Center Hill Dam was completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1948 and a wonderful recreation lake was created. The dam construction is part of the control of water resources in the Cumberland River Basin and impounds the Caney Fork River – it is an important prevention of flooding of Carthage and Nashville. Three 45,000 kilowatt turbines produce clean electricity for Tennessee citizens.

Center Hill Lake is a popular angler’s paradise with largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, Kentucky bass, bream, crappie, catfish, bluegill, white bass and walleye as fishing attractions. The lake’s fishing attractiveness is evidenced by a number of fishing tournaments held there. The 415 miles of shoreline offer many coves, inlets and other sites for the intrepid angler. The lake is open and used year round.

In the early 1900s, before dam constructions, the many streams and Caney River were home to freshwater mussels yielding freshwater pearls of great beauty and durability. The pearl was named Tennessee’s official state gem in 1979.

Boating and water sports are favorite pastimes on Center Hill Lake. The numerous marinas are full service locations with slips, food, fuel and boat rentals. Houseboat rentals are a favorite and many families spend a few days finding quiet locations to swim, fish and just plain relax.

There are hundreds of campsites and cabins available in the three state parks and at some marinas. Hiking is another outdoor activity in most of these. For the geocaching aficionado, there are over 15 caches in a ten mile area (many more outside this) to find and log. Get your GPS unit out and find a few.

Center Hill Lake has something for everyone – boating, fishing, hiking, biking, swimming and just the pure outdoor enjoyment of nature make this a ‘must do’ in Tennessee.

Things to Do at Center Hill Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at Center Hill Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Find Places to Stay at Center Hill Lake

If you’re considering a Center Hill Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Center Hill Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Center Hill Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Center Hill Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 18,220 acres

Shoreline Length: 342 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 648 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 618 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 685 feet

Maximum Depth: 195 feet

Water Volume: 492,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1948

Lake Area-Population: 3,994

Drainage Area: 2,174 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Center Hill Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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