Chickamauga Dam has four generating units with a net dependable capacity of 119 megawatts. It lies just north of Chattanooga, and is instrumental in preventing the flooding of the city.
Chickamauga Reservoir is on the Tennessee River just north of Chattanooga. The reservoir stretches 59 miles upriver from the dam to Watts Bar Dam.
Chickamauga Reservoir is named for a tribe of Native Americans that broke away from the Cherokee Nation in the 1700s. They lived in villages along North Chickamauga Creek, which joins the river just below Chickamauga Dam. The reservoir is popular for fishing, boating and swimming. There are boat ramps on the reservoir and canoe access points on North Chickamauga Creek.
The Big Ridge Small Wild Area is a 200-acre upland hardwood forest situated on a high ridge above the north shore of the reservoir at the dam. An easy 1.3-mile loop trail leads through the forest. Spring wildflowers include bloodroot, toothwort, larkspur, trillium and mayapple.
Before TVA created Chickamauga and other reservoirs above Chattanooga, the city had one of the most serious flooding problems in the nation. Now the river that often threatened the city contributes to its economy as a major artery for barge traffic.
Chickamauga: Facts & Figures
- Construction of Chickamauga Dam began in 1936 and was completed in 1940.
- The dam is 129 feet high and stretches 5,800 feet across the Tennessee River.
- Chickamauga Reservoir has 784 miles of shoreline and about 36,240 acres of water surface. It has a flood-storage capacity of 345,300 acre-feet.
- In order to maintain the water depth required for navigation, the minimum winter elevation for Chickamauga Reservoir is 675 feet. The typical summer operating range is between 681.5 and 682.5 feet.
- Chickamauga and other reservoirs on the Tennessee and its tributaries have prevented nearly $5 billion in flood damage in the city of Chattanooga alone.
- The 60-by-360-foot lock at Chickamauga lifts and lowers river craft about 50 feet between Nickajack and Chickamauga reservoirs.
- Chickamauga Dam is a hydroelectric facility. It has four generating units with a summer net dependable capacity of 142 megawatts. Net dependable capacity is the amount of power a hydroelectric dam can produce on an average day, minus the electricity used by the dam itself.
- Find Chickamauga Dam at 4601 Amnicola Hwy., Chattanooga, Tenn.
More Information on Chickamauga Reservoir
The Unified Development of the Tennessee River plan
stressed TVA was to provide flood control, navigation and electricity for the region. TVA’s dams are tangible evidence of its primary mission: improving life in the Tennessee Valley. We’re celebrating the plan with an in-depth look at 32 of the dams it comprises.
Before Chickamauga Dam, Chattanooga—the Valley's most flood-prone city—suffered from massive economic damage and mosquito-borne health crises because of the untamed river, suffering serious damage in 1867, 1875, 1886 and 1917. When the Tennessee Valley Authority was formed in 1933, annual flood damage to the Chattanooga area was estimated at $1.7 million (well over $31 million in today’s dollars). Read about how Chickamauga Dam changed all that.