Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee, USA

Also known as:  Chickamauga Reservoir

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

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All About Chickamauga Lake

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

Chickamauga Lake is a fabulous recreational reservoir. It is located in southeast Tennessee, 20 miles from Chattanooga, and includes 810 miles of shoreline to enjoy. The name Chickamauga derives from a warlike tribe that separated from the main Cherokee Indian tribe and built its chief village along Chickamauga Creek.

Originally developed for flood control and power generation, Chickamauga Lake is now heavily used for recreation. Its diverse outdoor recreational offerings for both summer and winter include water sports, boating, sailing, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, golf, and swimming. Chickamauga’s popularity is evidenced by millions of annual visitors seeking the great outdoor experiences it provides.

The Chickamauga Dam and Reservoir were a New Deal project established to create more consistent navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power generation and recreation on the Tennessee River. The Dam is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) system. The 59-mile long reservoir was created by damming the Tennessee and Hiwassee Rivers. Construction started in 1936 and was completed in 1940. Prior to its construction, the City of Chattanooga faced one of the most serious flooding problems in the USA. Today, Chickamauga Dam and Lake have contributed to economic improvement and expanded recreational opportunities in Tennessee. Chickamauga Dam is a mile long; its turbines for power generation produce 160,000 kilowatts of electricity.

Chickamauga Lake is also part of the Tennessee River navigation designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, consisting of navigation locks that allow barges and boats to travel past the dams. The Chickamauga Lock controls boat traffic between Chickamauga and Nickajack reservoirs. Upstream, the Watts Bar Lock controls boat traffic between Watts Bar and Chickamauga reservoirs.

Chickamauga Lake provides a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities. There are more than 35 boat ramps, 15 marinas and two full service State Parks – Harrison Bay and Booker T. Washington. Campgrounds, both developed and primitive, surround the reservoir. Mini-campsites provide attractive venues for boaters and campers. Hundreds of camping sites, many picnic and recreation areas, playgrounds, and swimming areas dot the reservoir’s shoreline. Marinas provide slips for boating, food, fuel, and boat rentals. Harrison Bay State Park sports an 18-hole PGA golf course.

Sport fishing in Chickamauga Lake features black bass, black crappie, crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass and spotted bass. Perch and bluegill afford lots of fun for young anglers. Seven developed hiking trails and nearly a dozen developed swimming areas add to outdoor enjoyment. Wildlife viewing is enhanced by a significant variety of bird and other animal species, including the seldom-seen sandhill crane. For geocachers, hundreds of caches include some that are very easy to find. A GPS will add to your enjoyment while hiking!

Southeast Tennessee’s scenic Chickamauga Lake is an outdoor enthusiast’s gem. It will not disappoint you.

Things to Do at Chickamauga Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Chickamauga Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Sunfish

Find Places to Stay at Chickamauga Lake

If you’re considering a Chickamauga 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 Chickamauga Lake Vacation

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

Chickamauga Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Tennesee Valley Authority

Surface Area: 36,240 acres

Shoreline Length: 810 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 682 feet

Maximum Depth: 57 feet

Water Volume: 392,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1940

Drainage Area: 20,790 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.

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