Cherokee Lake, Tennessee, USA

Also known as:  Cherokee Reservoir

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

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Looking for Cherokee 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 Cherokee Lake

Lake Locations: USA - US South Region - Tennessee - East Tennessee -

Cherokee Lake: Artists stop at Clinch Mountain Overlook to paint it, and photographers to photograph it, and every year millions of people come from all over to enjoy its beautiful waters. Cherokee Lake is a fantastic place to boat, fish, and enjoy. With Pigeon Forge, Tennessee nearby, there is sure to be something to please everyone.

Cherokee Lake is named for the Cherokee Indians that used the Great Indian Warpath. Followed by Daniel Boone, the Warpath crossed the basin now filled by the reservoir. The reservoir was formed in 1941 with the completion of the Cherokee Dam on the Holston River. The dam, located 52 miles upstream from the convergence of the Holston and French Broad Rivers that make up the Tennessee River, was created to make hydroelectric power for World War II and also for flood control. Cherokee Lake is managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority which runs several recreation facilities around the lake including a swimming beach, boat launch, and campground. The TVA also regulates the water levels which vary around 27 feet a year.

Beginning and experienced anglers will find plenty of fish in Cherokee Lake, including black bass and sauger. The lake is stocked with walleye, crappie and very good striped bass. The TVA adds oxygen to Cherokee Lake to help support the fish populations. Fishing tournaments are held on the lake each year. Several full-service marinas provide services to boating enthusiasts and anglers, including boat rentals and bait service. Cherokee Lake is large enough for good sailing with many coves and islands to explore.

On the shores of Cherokee Lake, Panther Creek State Park provides over 1,400 acres of forest, trails and wildlife. The park has camping and hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, and visitors may see white-tailed deer, eagles or owls. About 45 minutes south of Cherokee Lake, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the country’s most visited park, rounds out the outdoor adventures.

Clinch Mountain was immortalized by the Carter Family in their 1928 song “My Clinch Mountain Home.” The area is also home to bluegrass musician Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Looking down at the view from the Clinch Mountain Overlook, it’s easy to see why songs were written and paintings painted of this beautiful area and lake.

Things to Do at Cherokee Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Park

Fish Species Found at Cherokee Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Sauger
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Cherokee Lake

If you’re considering a Cherokee 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 Cherokee Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Cherokee 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.

Cherokee Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Tennessee Valley Authority

Surface Area: 28,780 acres

Shoreline Length: 393 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,073 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,020 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,075 feet

Average Depth: 50 feet

Maximum Depth: 150 feet

Water Volume: 1,460,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1941

Water Residence Time: 160 days

Drainage Area: 3,428 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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 Cherokee Lake Gifts

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Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

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Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

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


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