Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail In Tennessee

Here is everything you need to know about the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Tennessee
  • Length: 0.6 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is located in the Cumberland Plateau region of Tennessee and Kentucky. This scenic trail holds significant historical importance, as it was constructed during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal program initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The trail was built to provide employment opportunities for local communities and to improve the region’s infrastructure.

Construction of the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail began in 1935 and was completed in 1938. The project was overseen by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federal agency created to address issues related to the Tennessee River and its tributaries. The TVA aimed to control flooding, generate hydroelectric power, and promote economic development in the region.

The trail was designed to provide access to the newly constructed Dale Hollow Dam, which was built to control the flow of the Obey River and create a reservoir for flood control and hydroelectric power generation. The dam and reservoir were named after the nearby Dale Hollow, a valley known for its natural beauty. The trail allowed visitors to explore the area surrounding the dam and enjoy the scenic views of the reservoir and surrounding forests.

Over the years, the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, and camping. The trail not only showcases the natural beauty of the region but also serves as a reminder of the New Deal era and the efforts made to improve the lives of local communities during a time of economic hardship.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Dale Hollow Dam Visitor Center: This is the starting point of the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail. It provides information about the trail and offers parking facilities.

2. Dale Hollow State Resort Park: Located near the dam, this resort park serves as a trailhead for the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail. It offers amenities such as parking, restrooms, and camping facilities.

3. Obey River Park: Situated along the trail, Obey River Park provides access to the trail and offers parking facilities. It also has picnic areas and a boat ramp.

4. Willow Grove Campground: This campground is another access point for the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail. It provides parking, camping facilities, and access to the trail.

5. Lillydale Campground: Located near the trail, Lillydale Campground serves as a trailhead and offers parking and camping facilities.

6. Sulphur Creek Resort: This resort provides access to the trail and offers parking facilities. It also has amenities such as cabins, boat rentals, and a marina.

7. Holly Creek Resort: Situated along the trail, Holly Creek Resort serves as a trailhead and offers parking facilities. It also provides cabin rentals and boat rentals.

8. Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park: This state park is another access point for the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail. It offers parking, camping facilities, and access to the trail. It also has a marina and a golf course.

9. Dale Hollow Marina: Located near the trail, Dale Hollow Marina provides access to the trail and offers parking facilities. It also has boat rentals and a marina store.

10. Dale Hollow Lake Fishing Access: This fishing access point serves as a trailhead for the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail.

Transportation Available

1. Dale Hollow Marina – Full-service marina offering boat rentals and water taxi services.
2. Cumberland Transit – Outdoor gear shop providing bike rentals for trail exploration.
3. Dale Hollow State Resort Park – Offers shuttle services for guests staying at the park.
4. Dale Hollow Lake Taxi – Taxi service specializing in transportation around the Dale Hollow Lake area.
5. Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail – Scenic trail with bike rentals available at the trailhead.
6. Dale Hollow Lake Shuttle – Shuttle service catering to visitors exploring the Dale Hollow Lake region.
7. Dale Hollow Lake Fishing Charters – Charter boat service for fishing excursions on Dale Hollow Lake.
8. Dale Hollow Lake Pontoon Rentals – Pontoon boat rentals for leisurely exploration of the lake.
9. Dale Hollow Lake Jet Ski Rentals – Jet ski rentals for thrilling rides on the lake.
10. Dale Hollow Lake Kayak Rentals – Kayak rentals for peaceful paddling adventures on the lake.


The amenities available at the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There could be designated parking areas or lots where visitors can park their vehicles while accessing the trail.

3. Camping Sites: The trail may offer camping sites or nearby campgrounds where visitors can set up tents or park RVs for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There might be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals and gatherings.

5. Hiking Trails: The Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail itself provides a scenic hiking experience for nature enthusiasts.

6. Fishing Spots: As the trail is located near the Dale Hollow Reservoir, there may be fishing spots or access points for anglers to enjoy fishing activities.

7. Boating Facilities: If the trail is close to a water body, there could be boating facilities such as boat ramps or docks for visitors to launch their boats or enjoy water-based activities.

8. Wildlife Viewing: The trail may offer opportunities for wildlife viewing, allowing visitors to observe and appreciate the local flora and fauna.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Dale Hollow State Resort Park – Lodging and food services located within the park, offering a variety of accommodations and dining options.
2. Mitchell Creek Marina – Lodging, food services, and emergency services available at this marina, providing a range of amenities for boaters and visitors.
3. Willow Grove Resort – Lakeside lodging and food services, offering a peaceful retreat with various accommodation options and a restaurant.
4. Holly Creek Resort – Lakeside lodging and food services, providing cozy cabins and a restaurant with scenic views of the lake.
5. Sulphur Creek Resort – Lodging, food services, and emergency services available at this lakeside resort, offering cabins, a campground, and a restaurant.
6. Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park Golf Course – Lodging and food services located within the park, with a golf course for outdoor enthusiasts.
7. Dale Hollow Lake Marina – Lodging, food services, and emergency services available at this marina, providing boat rentals, accommodations, and a restaurant.
8. Cedar Hill Resort – Lakeside lodging and food services, offering cabins, a campground, and a restaurant with lake views.
9. Sunset Marina & Resort – Lodging, food services, and emergency services available at this marina, providing accommodations, boat rentals, and a restaurant.
10. Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park Campground – Lakeside camping with nearby food services, offering a rustic experience for outdoor enthusiasts.

Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail Difficulty Notes

The Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans approximately 4 miles and features a variety of terrains, including wooded areas, open fields, and rocky sections. While the trail is generally well-maintained, there are some steep inclines and uneven surfaces that may pose a challenge for beginners or those with limited mobility. Additionally, the trail can become muddy and slippery after rainfall, requiring extra caution. However, the beautiful scenery, including views of the Dale Hollow Lake and surrounding forests, makes the effort worthwhile for those seeking a moderately challenging outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

1. Dale Hollow Dam: The trail starts at the Dale Hollow Dam, which offers a stunning view of the dam and the reservoir. It is a great spot for photography and enjoying the scenic beauty of the area.

2. Dale Hollow Lake: As you walk along the trail, you will have beautiful views of Dale Hollow Lake. The lake is known for its crystal-clear waters and is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and water sports.

3. Obey River: The trail follows the Obey River for a portion, offering picturesque views of the river and its surrounding landscape. You can enjoy the peacefulness of the river and maybe even spot some wildlife.

4. Historic Celina: The trail passes through the town of Celina, which has a rich history. You can explore the historic downtown area, visit local shops and restaurants, and learn about the town’s past.

5. Standing Stone State Park: Located near the trail, Standing Stone State Park is a beautiful natural area with rolling hills, forests, and a lake. You can take a detour from the trail to explore the park, go hiking, have a picnic, or even camp overnight.

6. Historic Sites: Along the trail, you may come across various historical sites, such as old homesteads, abandoned buildings, or remnants of the area’s past. These sites offer a glimpse into the region’s history and add an element of intrigue to your hike.

7. Natural Landmarks: The Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is surrounded by natural landmarks, including cliffs, rock formations, and scenic overlooks. These landmarks provide breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and are perfect for capturing memorable photos.

8. Wildlife: The trail is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, birds, squirrels, and more. Keep an eye out for these animals as you hike, and you might be lucky enough to spot some of them in their natural habitat.

9. Fall Foliage: If you visit during the autumn season, the trail offers spectacular views of the changing colors of the leaves. The vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow create a picturesque backdrop for your hike.

10. Peace and Serenity: One of the most significant attractions of the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is the peace and serenity it offers. The trail is relatively quiet and less crowded, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy a tranquil hiking experience.

Usage Guidelines

– Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
– No hunting or trapping is allowed in the trail area.
– Camping is only permitted in designated camping areas.
– Fires are only allowed in designated fire pits or grills.
– Do not damage or remove any plants, trees, or natural features.
– Bicycles are allowed on designated trails only.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Swimming or wading in the dam area is prohibited.
– Fishing is allowed in designated areas and requires a valid fishing license.
– Follow all posted signs and regulations.
– Be mindful of seasonal restrictions or closures that may be in place.

Seasonal Information

The Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is a picturesque hiking trail located in the beautiful region of Tennessee and Kentucky. This trail offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the pristine Dale Hollow Lake and the majestic Cumberland River. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are particularly ideal for visiting.

One of the best times to visit the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is during the spring season, which typically lasts from March to May. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the 60s to 70s Fahrenheit (15-25 degrees Celsius). The trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery, creating a picturesque backdrop for hikers. Spring is also a great time for birdwatching, as many migratory birds make their way through the area.

Another fantastic time to explore the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is in the fall, from September to November. The autumn foliage paints the landscape with a stunning array of colors, making it a truly enchanting experience. The temperatures during this season range from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10-25 degrees Celsius), providing comfortable hiking conditions. Fall is also a great time for fishing enthusiasts, as the lake is teeming with various species of fish.

It’s important to note that the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail does not have any seasonal closures. However, it’s always a good idea to check for any temporary closures or restrictions before planning your visit. Additionally, it’s advisable to bring appropriate gear and supplies, such as sturdy hiking shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water, regardless of the time of year you choose to explore this beautiful trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Pathways: Smooth and level paved paths throughout the trail for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
4. Wheelchair Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options.
5. Accessible Fishing Platforms: Fishing platforms designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
6. Braille and Tactile Signage: Signage with Braille and tactile features for visually impaired individuals.
7. Accessible Informational Materials: Brochures and maps available in accessible formats such as large print or electronic versions.
8. Assistance Animals Allowed: Service animals are permitted to accompany individuals with disabilities.
9. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints or overlooks with wheelchair accessible ramps or platforms.
10. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays with accessible features such as audio descriptions or tactile elements.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or damaging the surrounding environment.
2. Carry a map and compass: Ensure you have the necessary tools to navigate the trail and find your way back.
3. Dress appropriately: Wear sturdy footwear, dress in layers, and bring rain gear to be prepared for changing weather conditions.
4. Stay hydrated: Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout your hike, especially during hot weather.
5. Watch out for wildlife: Be aware of your surroundings and respect the wildlife by observing from a safe distance.
6. Use insect repellent: Protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects by applying repellent before starting your hike.
7. Be cautious near the water: Exercise caution when near the dam area, as water levels can change rapidly and currents may be strong.
8. Avoid hiking alone: It’s safer to hike with a companion or in a group, but if hiking alone, inform someone of your plans and expected return time.
9. Carry a first aid kit: Be prepared for minor injuries by carrying a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic, and pain relievers.
10. Leave no trace: Respect the environment by packing out all trash, minimizing your impact, and leaving the trail as you found it.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is of significant importance due to its unique ecological features and the need to protect its natural resources. The trail is situated within the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery, which is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of aquatic species and their habitats. As such, the conservation efforts in this area are focused on maintaining the integrity of the surrounding ecosystem.

One of the key conservation aspects of the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is the preservation of the Cumberland River, which flows adjacent to the trail. The river supports a diverse range of aquatic species, including several endangered and threatened species such as the Cumberland darter and the Cumberland elktoe mussel. Efforts are made to ensure the water quality remains high, minimizing pollution and sedimentation that could harm these sensitive species.

Additionally, the trail traverses through various forested areas, which are crucial for maintaining biodiversity and providing habitat for numerous wildlife species. Conservation efforts in these areas involve managing invasive species, promoting reforestation, and protecting critical habitats. The trail also serves as a corridor for wildlife movement, allowing for genetic exchange and maintaining healthy populations.

Overall, the conservation status of the Dale Hollow Dam Area Trail is focused on preserving the unique ecological features of the area, protecting endangered species, and maintaining the overall health of the ecosystem. Through ongoing conservation efforts, this trail continues to provide a valuable recreational experience while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the surrounding natural resources.

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