center hill lake tennessee

Center Hill Lake: Tennessee’s Emerald Gem

center hill lake tennessee-1

Center Hill Lake is located in middle Tennessee – essentially central to Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. Quietly harbored in DeKalb County and surrounded by small lake towns and other rural communities, this is a rural part of Tennessee.

Center Hill Lake stretches 64 miles covering an area of 18,220 mostly undeveloped acres. With roughly 415 miles of shoreline and easy-rolling ridge tops, Center Hill Lake is known as a well-preserved and peaceful santuary.

State Parks + Attractions

Edgar Evins State Park, Burgess Falls State Park and Rock Island State Park contain portions of the lake’s shoreline and house miles of hiking trails along with camping sites.

Tranquil waterways wind to Burgess Falls, Rock Island and Fancher Falls and other smaller waterfalls. There are also several other waterfalls, trails and scenic lookout points near the lake in the surrounding region.

Center Hill Lake’s emerald-like waters are well-known for fishing and recreational activities include kayaking, wakeboarding, skiing, and other interests. With Tennessee’s four distinct seasons, Center Hill Lake continues to be an ever-changing and alluring destination. 

Marinas, Amenities + Services

The lake is home to nine marinas that offer boat rentals, slip rentals, and other amenities. These marinas also provide fuel, fishing supplies, groceries, and even lakeside dining options.

The marinas are seasonal (not open year round) so it’s best to call ahead if you are visiting during the off season (September post Labor Day – early May).

Real Estate + Construction

While Center Hill Lake doesn’t offer any waterfront property (due to the lake and immediate surrounding acreage being owned by Corp of Engineers), it does off some picturesque views.

There are a few private docks, but there will not be any others added. The original docks can only be maintained and cannot be extended or built out. This can be an advantage – no private docks or waterfront property keeps this lake clean.

Property near the lake is available, but direct access to the water is limited and surrounding acreage immediately off the water is in fact the property of the Corps and not privately held. The park rangers can design a meandering pathway to the water, but foliage and tree removal is limited.

Because of the rural location and limited access to waterfront property (along with very steep inclines making building in general rather difficult), this lake is mostly noted as a low-key weekend getaway as well as a fishing and kayaking destination.

Waterfront Lake Home by Zurich Homes, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee

If you are set on a waterfront lake home, you will want to see Fairfield Glade, a nearby and very popular resort-style community in the region.


There are a few designated swimming areas at Center Hill Lake. You are welcome to swim anywhere along the shoreline; however, Ragland Bottom (near Sligo Marina), Floating Mill (near Hurricane Marina) and Rock Island State Park (on the south end) have small, sandy beaches with a swimming area.

Campgrounds + Recreation Areas

Center Hill Lake has several campgrounds and recreation areas that cater to both tent and RV camping. These areas provide facilities such as campsites, picnic areas, playgrounds, and restrooms. Some campgrounds offer additional amenities like hiking trails and boat ramps.

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