Fort Loudoun Reservoir, located on the Tennessee River at Knoxville, is the uppermost in the chain of nine TVA reservoirs that form a continuous navigable channel from there to Paducah, Kentucky, 652 miles away.
Fort Loudoun Reservoir takes its name from the 18th-century British fort built on a nearby site during the French and Indian War. The fort was named for John Campbell, the fourth Earl of Loudoun, commander of British forces in North America at the time.
Fort Loudoun is a popular recreation destination, known for bass fishing, boating, and birdwatching. The tailwater area immediately below the dam is an excellent site for viewing a variety of waterbirds, including herons, cormorants, gulls, osprey, and bald eagles.
The reservoir is connected by a short canal to Tellico Reservoir on the nearby Little Tennessee River. Water is diverted through the canal to Fort Loudoun for power production. The canal also offers commercial barges access to Tellico without the need for a lock. Barges passing through the Fort Loudoun lock carry about half a million tons of cargo a year.