J. Percy Priest Lake

Nashville District
Published Jan. 10, 2024
J. Percy Priest Lake photo with dam in foreground

J. Percy Priest Lake

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District welcomes you to J. Percy Priest Lake.  The lake provides a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for millions of visitors each year.  Because of the temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, visitors have numerous activities to participate in including fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, boating, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, and more. Because of the lake's proximity to Nashville (15 minutes from downtown) lakeside recreation can fit nicely into your other vacation plans.

J. Percy Priest Dam is visible from Interstate 40 and is located between miles six and seven of the Stones River.  It is conveniently located about ten miles east of downtown Nashville and impounds a lake 42 miles long.  J. Percy Priest Lake covers portions of Davidson, Rutherford, and Wilson Counties and consists of 14,200 surface acres of water at summer pool elevation (490 feet above mean sea level).  The water is surrounded by 18,852 acres of public lands; 10,768 acres are devoted to wildlife management.

Initially authorized in 1938, the project was called the Stewart's Ferry Project. However, Congress appropriated no funding for construction. Congress officially changed the project name from Stewart's Ferry to J. Percy Priest on July 2, 1958. In the June 30, 1968, businessman, E.W. Carmack, and the members of the Cumberland River Development Association petitioned the project be renamed in honor of Rep. James Percy Priest, who was a high school teacher, coach and reporter/editor for the Nashville Tennessean before he was elected to Congress. He represented Nashville and Davidson County from 1940 until his death in 1956. 

Nashville District Commander, Col. Gilbert Dorland (1952-1956) stated "the name change for a recently departed and greatly beloved member of the House was a piece of inspiration that brought approval of the request for funds." After several years of studies, the project received funding in 1963. Groundbreaking occurred on June 29, with excavation beginning the following month. President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the project on June 29, 1968.



Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 3:30 PM

3737 Bell Rd Nashville, TN 37214