Old Hickory Lake

Nashville District
Published Jan. 10, 2024
Old Hickory Lake, sunset over a lake with tree line on right

Old Hickory Lake

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District welcomes you to Old Hickory Lake.

Located near Metropolitan Nashville, Tenn., 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 choose from including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking, boating, and water skiing. The numerous species of wildlife here, including abundant populations of waterfowl and wading birds, make nature study and photography additional exciting pastimes.


2024 Camping & Group Picnic Shelters

Mon. & Thurs. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tues. & Wed. CLOSED

Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sun. noon to 6 p.m.

*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.

Cages Bend Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season April 1 through Oct. 31. The campground is located on Old Hickory Lake near Hendersonville/Gallatin and Metropolitan Nashville. Cages Bend offers 43 sites with electric and water hook-ups. Additional amenities include hot showers, a dump station, a boat launch, and laundry facilities.
Cedar Creek Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season April 1 through Oct. 31. The campground is located on Old Hickory Lake just outside of Metropolitan Nashville, Tenn., and near The Hermitage, which is the historical home of President Andrew Jackson. The campground offers 59 sites with electric and water hook-ups. Additional amenities include hot showers, dump station, laundry facilities, picnic shelter, a playground, and boat launch.

The Corps of Engineers manages several day use areas on Old Hickory 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.  Shelters are available for reservation from May 1 until September 30. To reserve a shelter, contact the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777.


Old Hickory Lake's 22,500 acres of water offer an opportunity for all types of recreation. Pleasure boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, and fishing boats all share the waters on Old Hickory Lake. One of eight commercial marinas situated at various locations on the lake, or one of the many Corps of Engineers Access areas, provide easy access and supplies for boaters. As the number of boaters visiting Old Hickory 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 concerning boating regulations and boating safety information.

Fishing & Hunting

Bank fishing areas with accessible fishing piers exist at Rockland, Sanders Ferry, Shutes Branch, and Bledsoe Creek State Park. These piers can be accessed from parking areas via paved paths. Fish attractors are maintained in close proximity to these structures. Tennessee state fishing licenses are required for most individuals prior to fishing on Corps of Engineers waters.  Licenses may be purchased at County Clerk's offices, marinas and many other commercial establishments in the area. For up-to-date fishing information, lake elevations, and generation schedules visit the Old Hickory 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.

Eighteen fish attractor sites designated with marked buoys are maintained by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).  Cedar trees are suspended to attract and concentrate fish for anglers. These sites are very popular and productive for bass and crappie fishing. To install a fish attractor please submit this fish attractor permit application.

Old Hickory Lake Record Fish Application can be downloaded by clicking here.  To request an application via telephone please contact the Old Hickory Lake Resource Manager's Office at (615) 822-4846 or 847-2395.  You may also come in to the office during normal business hours (Monday - Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.) at No. 5 Power Plant Road, Hendersonville, TN 37075.

The State of Tennessee manages over 27,000 acres on Old Hickory Lake for the administration of programs designed to increase the numbers of fish, game and non-game wildlife. Most of this is primarily accessible by water. Much of this land is open for hunting. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency administers the wildlife management program on the Lake. To receive more information on the Old Hickory Lake's Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and Tennessee hunting information

Scuba & Swimming

Scuba diving is allowed at Old Hickory 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. 

Old Hickory Lake has four designated swim beach areas located at Cedar Creek, Laguardo, Lock 3, and Old Hickory Beach. Each area offers great swim beaches, picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and launching ramps. The daily cost is $5/vehicle or $2/per person walk-in (except Lock 3- no charge). Annual day use passes ($40) can be purchased at the Old Hickory Resource Office or from the attendants booth at these areas.


//CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO TORNADO DAMAGE// Old Hickory Lake Nature Trail is located off Interstate 65, exit 92. Old Hickory Nature Trail is part of the Nashville Greenways Project. Recognized by the Department of the Interior as a component of the National Trail System, this trail totaling 1.1 miles has three loops; Willow Swamp Loop, Wildlife Loop, and Woodland Loop.  Each loop has unique characteristics. All loops return along a railroad bed built in 1952 to haul materials and equipment for the construction of Old Hickory Dam.

Old Hickory Lake Archery Trail and Range is located within the Rockland Recreation Area, off Rockland road in Hendersonville, Tenn.  This challenging course offers a total of 28 targets. Each target can be approached from different angles and range in distances from 7 yards to 80 yards. Old Hickory Lake also offers bow hunters an archery range next to the trail as well as another challenging archery range at Taylor’s Landing in Hartsville, Tenn.

Shutes Branch Mountain Bike Trail is located within the old U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Shutes Branch Campground, the Shutes Branch Mountain Biking Trail has something for every type of mountain bike rider. The parking area and trail entrance is located at the top of the campground entrance hill on the left side of the road. Beginning on the sidewalk and marked with an informational kiosk and bench, the initial 2.5 miles of the nearly 8-mile serpentine trail is considered to be a great warm-up or simply a great ride for beginners. With numerous rocks, short ledges, and tight turns the next 4+ miles of trail are great for more technical riders and is considered to be a good challenge for honing in on your skills.  

Environmental Study Area is a 23-acre wildlife viewing area located off of Walton Ferry road in Hendersonville, Tenn. In 1982 several food plots for wildlife consumption were established. In 1986-1987 an interpretive trail, orchard, wild flower plot, weed strips and brush piles were added. In 1988 a honeybee demonstration was added. In 1989-1990 a large variety of nut producing trees and fruit bearing shrubs were planted. Wood boxes for blue birds and squirrels were also established along with artificial animal dens. In 1994 a pine seedling nursery, additional trails and more food plots were added. There are over seventy-five different species of shrubs and trees that have been planted to attract a variety of different species of wildlife such as birds, bees, butterflies, rabbits and squirrels. The area has small mowed open areas and trails as well as untouched areas to provide cover for the wildlife. This is also an effort to encourage shoreline residents to provide for wildlife populations. The shore has also been rip rapped to demonstrate on proper way of erosion control. The Environmental Study Area is unique and is enjoyed by sightseers, bird watchers, fishermen hikers or anyone else that wants to get away from everything and enjoy the aesthetic and relaxing beauty that it has to offer. The area is a prime location for outdoor education, environmental studies and demonstrations because of fits size and close proximity to several surrounding schools.

Because of it’s size, undeveloped state, and proximity to several schools the area is a prime location for an environmental study and demonstration area. The area provides an excellent opportunity for all to enjoy the beauty of Old Hickory Lake.

Outreach Programs

The Team at Old Hickory Lake offers many educational programs to school groups, church groups and other organizations free of charge. These (15 to 30 minute) programs include such topics as water safety and the natural sciences. Call and arrange for a Park Ranger to come visit your location or have your group come out to the lake! Programs must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance to allow Park Rangers to prepare.

  Natural Science Programs - at Lake

(These programs are required to be performed onsite Old Hickory Lake)

Native Trees of TN Identification – Learn how to identify various species of trees that call middle Tennessee home by their bark and their leaves at Old Hickory Lake’s certified arboretum located within Walton Ferry Environmental Study Area.

  Natural Science Programs

(These programs can be performed on and offsite of Old Hickory Lake and Park Rangers may use various forms of digital media including videos, PowerPoint and music)

History of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – When was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers established and what was/is this agency responsible for here in the United States and abroad are questions answered in a PowerPoint presentation.

History of Old Hickory Lake – Discover how the creation of Old Hickory Lake improved the transportation of goods on the Cumberland River, became a great home for many wildlife species, how it has provided recreational opportunities for millions visitors each year and supplies water and electricity for several surrounding communities.

Career Day Park Ranger – Responsible for the protection of the most precious natural resources and safety of millions of visitors every year, a Park Ranger’s day is never mundane. Learn about the many hats a Park Ranger wears and skills that are needed every day to ensure the preservation of the natural environment for generations to come.

Fish of Old Hickory Lake – Who is nibbling at my toes? Old Hickory Lake is prime habitat for many species of fish. Learn how to identify the most common fish found in lake.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – Learn the importance of going Green, fun facts about trash, and view examples of what can and can’t be recycled.

Reading with Rangers – Spend story time with Park Ranger and learn about various natural science and water safety subjects. Each story is accompanied by an associated activity to take home.

Invasive Flora - Are there Aliens in Your Backyard? Learn to identify non-native plants in your yard and how you can help eliminate them to maintain biodiversity!

Water Management Education Series - Developed to raise public awareness, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District's Water Management Education Series includes a video series that breaks down and discusses the operation of the Cumberland River Reservoir System from the perspective of a Corps of Engineers’ water manager, How the Cumberland River System Works overview brochure, and a school outreach program aimed at informing students and their families about the Corps of Engineers’ flood damage risk reduction mission.

  Water Safety and Boating Safety Programs

(Park Rangers may use various forms of digital media including videos, PowerPoint and music)

Water Safety for Kids – This is a general water safety program that teaches various topics through simulations, role playing and hands-on activities.

Safe Boating - Learn the importance of having all required safety equipment onboard and in good working order. *A corps patrol boat maybe used to demonstrate what is required on a boat, if an outdoor area is provided.

Sinking Ship - Through a hands-on skit, learn the importance to have a proper fitting life jacket for each person on board that is in good working order.

HELP! Reach, Throw, Row, but Don’t Go – Recognize the signs of a swimmer in trouble and learn proper techniques for using Type IV throwable devices.

Wear it Right – Choosing and Fitting a Life Jacket – Keep water recreation fun and safe by learning the purposes of the different types of life jackets and how to properly select the right size.

Hypothermia and “Cold Hand Luke” - Learn the stages, symptoms and treatment of hypothermia, as well as, play a fun, but chilling interactive game.


Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
5 Power Plant Rd., Hendersonville, TN 37075