Not from here? Never heard of Center Hill Lake? No problem.

First of all, welcome to the lake! We hope you stick around for a while and visit often.

So, what do you need to know about the lake? Here are a few facts…

1. Center Hill Lake is located in middle Tennessee – about an hour east of Nashville.

The lake is located centrally to Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. It’s easy to access from major interstates and highways.

Ragland Bottom swimming camping center hill lake tennessee

2. There’s no such thing as waterfront property on the lake.

Center Hill Lake was built by the Corps of Engineers, and they still own the lake. While there are some amazing homes and farms with views to die for, you won’t be able to be waterfront.

A certain amount of acres bordering the lake are owned by the Corp of Engineers. There’s 26 privately owned docks, but there won’t be anymore added. Those were grandfathered in back in the 50 / 60s. Your only option for lake access is to apply for a pass permit, but it must be meandering and it will be designed and constructed by park rangers.

3. It’s rural.

That’s one of the best things about it!

It’s low key, rural, quiet and well preserved. This is a popular destintion for those wanting somewhere to go and escape. We host popular and fun events every year including amazing July 4th fireworks shows!

wheelhouse restaurant sligo marina

4. The marinas / restaurants are mostly seasonal. 

Tennessee has four distinct seasons. While winter months (November – February) are mild, it still gets cold and traffic at the lake dies down. Marinas and restaurants close during the winter. Exact dates change so call ahead to make sure they’re open if you are coming out of season.

You should still visit during winter though! A lot of people still book cozy weekend stays. Winter has its advantage. If it snows, it’s beautiful. Because there’s less traffic, it’s very quiet – making it a great place to go and rewind.

5. There’s a lot of cool things to do and see.

Fly over the lake, take a kayaking tour, jet bikes, hike giant waterfalls, rent a jet ski… might as well just be here all summer because you won’t be bored and you won’t run out of things to do.

fancher falls center hill lake tennessee waterfall

6. There are waterfalls you can get to by water.

There are three waterfalls on the lake at Center Hill Lake: Burgess Falls, Rock Island and Fancher Falls.

Fancher Falls is only accessible by water.

Burgess Falls is a state park you can visit and get to by water.

Rock Island State Park is the tail end of the lake and houses Twin Falls waterfall and Great Falls.

And no, we aren’t talking about some small waterfall in somebody’s backyard. We’re talking about BIG waterfalls. We’re talking about a 136′ tall waterfall at Burgess. And Fanchers….well that’s an 80′ waterfall. Kayak, jet ski, boat…you just gotta get there. Rock Island has even hosted the U.S. Freestyle Kayaking World Championships.

BUT accessibility is subject to water level. The water level fluctuates depending on when they’re generating at the dam and rainfall. Also, the way to Burgess can get a little tight and crowded during summer so please be mindful of others. Do not speed and cause wake. Why are you in a rush anyway? Enjoy the ride! 😌

fishing center hill lake tennessee

7. It’s a great fishing spot.

Drop that boat in and spend a day killing time. If you have a kayak or plan to rent one, drop it in too! Fish the shoreline, and take in some amazing views of the lake. This lake is full of crappie, Walleye, trout, catfish, various species of bass and others. When you’ve caught enough, fry em up and kick back! (Frog legs too!)

8. You can rent a boat and jet ski.

Don’t have a boat? No way to explore the lake? Man, that’s too bad. Just kidding! It’s all good. You can rent a boat, pontoon or jet ski from the marinas and local vendors! Edgar Evins State Park also offers pontoon cruises if you’d rather sit back and just learn about the lake.

9. You can swim anywhere, and there are two designated areas.

Ragland Bottom, Rock Island State Park and Floating Mill are the only three designated swimming areas at the lake.

Ragland Bottom is near Sligo Marina and Floating Mill is near Hurricane Marina for reference.

You are free to swim anywhere along the shoreline though. The bordering state parks are great places to set up shop for the day.

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