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Dale Hollow Lake

Nashville District
Published Jan. 10, 2024
Dale Hollow Lake photo, lake with dam

Dale Hollow Lake

The Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Dale Hollow Lake. Dale Hollow Dam and Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the River and Harbor Act of 1946. The project was completed for flood control in 1943. Power generating units were added in 1948, 1949, and 1953. The project was designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and built by private contractors under the supervision of the Corps. The dam, powerplant and reservoir are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

Dale Hollow is a vacation destination that borders the Tennessee-Kentucky state line and each year the lake provides recreational opportunities to millions of visitors. Surrounded by a thick expanse of forest, the clear blue lake creates a stunning scenic backdrop for a variety of water and land recreational activities.  The temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, allows visitors to have many opportunities to fish, hunt, camp, picnic, boat, canoe, hike, scuba dive, ride horseback, and enjoy the great outdoors.


Camping & Group Picnic Shelters

Registration Center hours are:

Mon. & Thurs. 11 am to 5 pm

Tues. & Wed. CLOSED

Fri. & Sat. 10 am to 7 pm

Sun. 12 noon to 6 pm

*If the Registration Center is closed when you arrive, please select a non-reserved site and return to register for your stay during the hours listed above.

Dale Hollow Dam Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season March 31 through October 30. The campground is located directly below Dale Hollow Dam. The campground features 72 level single party campsites, three group camping (double party) sites and one large group picnic shelter. There are an abundance of amenities including electric hookups, drinking water, flush toilets, and a dump station. Click here for a map. 
Lillydale Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season April 23 through October 30. The campground features 112 single party campsites and one group island tent camping (double party) site; 14 of which are unique island camping.  There are an abundance of amenities including electric hookups, drinking water, flush toilets, and a dump station. The nearby day use provides one large group picnic shelter.  Two boat ramps, two volleyball courts, two swimming beaches and a 7.5 mile one-way trail provide additional recreational opportunities. Click here for a map. 
Obey River Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season April 14 through September 11. The campground provides the largest camping area at the lake, as well as the largest and most visited swimming beach.  Obey River Park Campground features 123 single party campsites: four group camping (double party) sites and two large group picnic shelters. There are an abundance of amenities including electric hookups, drinking water, flush toilets, and a dump station. Click here for a map. 
Willow Grove Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season May 19 through September 5. The campground features 81 single party campsites, one group camping (double party) campsite and one large group picnic shelter.  There are an abundance of amenities including electric hookups, drinking water, flush toilets, and a dump station. A swimming beach, volleyball court, playground and a 7.5 mile one-way trail provides additional recreational opportunities. Click here for a map. 
Primitive Camping on Dale Hollow Lake is a unique series of 31 locations with a total of over 70 individually designated family campsites dispersed over 620 miles of shoreline.  Campsites are located in both the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. Most designated tent sites are accessible only by boat, while a few can be reached by country road.  Each location is designated and marked and has a vault or pit type toilet and a ground grill or fire circle.  All areas are considered “pack it in-pack it out” locations with minimal services. Campers are expected to bring plenty of water and garbage bags.  These sites must be reserved before use. Click here for a map.

The Corps of Engineers manages several day use areas on Center Hill Lake. Some shelters may be reserved (for a fee) up to 365 days in advance.  Reservations may be made through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS).  When a shelter is not reserved, it is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The following areas provide ramp access: Moody’s Access, Compton Bottom, Gum Grove, Gunnels Camp, Keisling Bottom, Plank Yard, Wolf River Bridge, and Jones Chapel. There are no fees to use these areas. To reserve a shelter, contact the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777.



Dale Hollow’s forested shoreline stretches for 620 miles and includes 27,700 surface acres of pristine waters. Fifteen commercial marinas, situated at various locations on the lake, provide easy access and supplies for boaters. A few limited, and posted spots, are restricted to overnight stays.
Dale Hollow Lake is a Designated No Discharge Zone The States of Kentucky and Tennessee have determined the protection and enhancement of the quality of the waters within Dale Hollow Lake require greater environmental protection. These States have agreed to completely prohibit the discharge from all vessels any sewage, whether treated or not, into these waters. View EPA determination.

 As the number of boaters visiting Dale Hollow Lake have increased in recent years, the Corps of Engineers encourages visitors to wear life jackets, pay close attention at all times, abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages, and become familiar with the rules of the water and basic boating regulations. You may contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency or Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources concerning boating regulations and boating safety information.

Fishing & Hunting

Dale Hollow Lake is renowned for water purity and fishing. In addition to yielding the world record Smallmouth Bass, Dale Hollow has produced many outstanding catches of other fish. Fishing licenses are required in both Kentucky and Tennessee. A reciprocal fishing agreement provides for sport fishing licenses from either state to be valid in the Wolf River, including Illwill Creek, beginning at the state line as it crosses the Wolf River at its mouth where it joins the Obey River. Special permits are required in each state for trout fishing. Licenses may be purchased at County Clerk's offices, marinas, and other commercial establishments in each state. For up-to-date fishing information, lake elevations, and generation schedules visit the Dale Hollow Lake Facebook page. For the most up to date information on generation releases and lake levels, please visit: TVA's Lake Information or call 1-800-238-2264, press 4, then 37, then press the # key.

Please notes this hunting map

*Please note:  Water release schedules often change without notice due to unanticipated changes in weather conditions and power system requirements. Use caution near dams. A large amount of water may be discharged without warning at any time. Your safety depends on obeying all posted safety regulations and warnings. 

Hunting is permitted on public property.  Hunting licenses are required in both Kentucky and Tennessee.  Special permits are required in each state for hunting certain game such as deer and waterfowl. Check state laws for complete information. Licenses may be purchased at County Clerk's offices, marinas and many other commercial establishments in each state.

Scuba & Swimming 

Scuba diving is allowed at Dale Hollow Lake. Divers must display a "Diver Down" flag in the area where they are diving. Boaters should be alert to the "Diver Down" flag and keep a safe distance away. The nearby sunken foundation of the historic Willow Grove School House provides a popular destination for scuba divers. Divers also explore Diver’s Rock at the outlet of Sulphur Creek, the springhouse near the Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, the steep banks of Ashburn Creek, and the cliffs of Pleasant Grove.

The Corps of Engineers does provide designated swimming areas with adjoining sand beach with restrooms nearby at Obey River Day Use, Lillydale Campground and Day Use, and Willow Grove Campground. Pets, glass containers, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited in beach areas.  Day use areas have a $5 per vehicle user fee charge.


Red Oak Ridge Trail Located 8 miles north of Celina, Tenn., off highway 53, Red Oak Ridge hosts 18 miles of beautiful and scenic trails developed for horseback riding. Primitive camping permits are required for overnight stays. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited and coggins papers required. Follow the signs toward Holly Creek Marina and Red Oak Ridge. Click Here for a trail map of Red Oak Ridge.

Accordion Bluff Hiking Trail This is a one way 7.5-mile stretch of scenic trail connecting Lillydale and Willow Grove Campgrounds, both located approximately 20 miles north of Livingston, Tenn. NOTICE:  Allow approximately 6 to 7 hours for a quick pace hike of the trail. For a more leisurely walk, allow 8 to 10 hours. Click Here for a trail map of Accordion Bluff.


Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM

540 Dale Hollow Dam Road Celina, TN 38551

(931) 243-3136


  • January

    2024 Campsite Reservation Information

    Campers may now make their reservations 180 days in advance and picnic shelter reservations 360 days
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