Melton Hill Reservoir has a nationally recognized rowing course and is a spring training site for collegiate teams from throughout the eastern United States. The reservoir has hosted a number of national championships.
Melton Hill Reservoir is on the Clinch River in East Tennessee. It extends almost 57 miles upstream from Melton Hill Dam to Norris Dam. The dam and reservoir take their name from a high knob located about two miles from the dam. On this hill is a mapping station established in 1884 by the U.S. Coast Guard and Geodetic Survey.
The area around Melton Hill offers year-round camping plus sheltered picnic tables and pavilions. Two boat ramps—one below the dam and one above—give boaters access to Watts Bar Reservoir as well as Melton Hill Reservoir. Roads on both sides of the river are popular for walking, jogging or bike riding. Game fish in the reservoir include sauger, crappie and bass.
Melton Hill Reservoir extends the reach of barge traffic 38 miles up the Clinch River to Clinton, Tenn., making the area attractive to industries that rely on this mode of transportation.
Melton Hill: Facts + Figures
- Construction of Melton Hill Dam began in 1960 and was completed in 1963.
- The dam is 103 feet high and stretches 1,020 feet across the Clinch River.
- Melton Hill Dam is a hydroelectric facility. It has two generating units with a summer net dependable capacity of 79 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.
- The reservoir provides nearly 193 miles of shoreline and 5,470 acres of water surface for recreation.
- Melton Hill is the only dam in the tributary reservoir system with a navigation lock. The lock has a 75- by 400-foot chamber and a maximum lift of 60 feet.
- Melton Hill is a run-of-river reservoir, meaning that water is passed through the reservoir without being stored long-term. The water level typically fluctuates less than two feet daily (between elevation 793 and 795).
- Find Melton Hill Dam at 1280 City Park Dr., Lenoir City, Tenn.
Find this unstaffed visitor center southwest of Knoxville. From I-40, take the Lenoir City exit and head west until you see the Melton Hill Sustainable Demonstration sign, then turn right onto the reservation. From I-75, take the Melton Hill exit and bear right off the ramp and turn right at the Melton Hill Sustainable Demonstration sign. Follow signs to the overlook.
More Information on Melton Hill 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.
A Dam of Firsts
Built in the relative peacetime of the early 1960s, Melton Hill was a groundbreaking dam: first to feature a lock on a tributary to the Tennessee River; first to NOT be solely funded by congressional appropriations; first to feature a sustainable recreation area. Read more about this dam of firsts.