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.
Great Falls: Facts + Figures
- Construction of Great Falls Dam began in 1915 and was completed in 1916.
- 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.
- Great Falls Dam is a hydroelectric facility. It has two generating units with a summer net dependable capacity of 35 megawatts. Net dependable capacity is the amount of power a dam can produce on an average day, minus the electricity used by the dam itself.
- Great Falls Reservoir is 22 miles long and has 120 miles of winding shoreline and about 1,830 acres of water surface.
- Great Falls has a flood-storage capacity of 30,500 acre-feet.
- The dam is 92 feet high and stretches 800 feet across the Caney Fork River.
- Find Great Falls Dam at 1778 Great Falls Rd., Rock Island, Tenn.
More Information on Great Falls 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.
Odd Dam Out
TVA’s odd dam out, Great Falls, began operations in January of 1917 as a premier project of the Tennessee Electric Power Company. It was purchased 22 years later by TVA, and remains the quirkiest hydro project in the portfolio. Click here to learn why.