Great Falls is one of seven dams acquired by TVA from private companies, and it’s the only TVA dam located outside the Tennessee River watershed. Named for the falls that plunge into the Caney Fork River a short distance below the dam, it is located about 75 miles southeast of Nashville.
Great Falls Dam, completed in 1916 by the Tennessee Electric Power Company for the purpose of power generation, was purchased by TVA in 1939.
The area surrounding Great Falls Reservoir is a scenic wilderness with numerous waterfalls, including the one that gives the reservoir its name. Whitewater rapids below the dam are world-renowned for kayaking and canoeing and have hosted national and international paddling events.
Nearby Rock Island State Park offers hiking, camping, swimming, and boating on Center Hill Lake. There is a boat ramp above the dam on Great Falls Reservoir, an old mill site on the river below the dam, and spectacular fishing in the scenic gorge of the Caney Fork River.