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part ofDale Hollow Lake, US Army Corps of Engineers
Status: Open through Thu Dec 31 2015   Season Dates


Dale Hollow Lake Primitive Camping is a unique series of 32 locations with a total of over 70 individually designated family campsites dispersed over 620 miles of shoreline. Campsites are located in both the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. Primitive camping offers a unique lake front camping experience. Remote locations along the shoreline offer campers a peaceful nature experience. Most designated tent sites are accessible only by boat; while a few can be reached by country road.

Natural Features:

Dale Hollow Dam and Lake was completed in 1943. Although the dam was built for flood control and power generation, it has now become a recreational oasis for more than 3 million visitors each year. The dam is located on the Obey River, about three miles east of Celina, Tennessee. Surrounded by a thick expanse of forest, the clear blue lake creates a stunning scenic backdrop for a variety of water and land recreational activities. In the late fall through early spring, the American bald eagle can be spotted flying overhead or perched on low-lying limbs. Dale Hollow hosts the second-largest wintering eagle population in the states of Tennessee and Kentucky.


Dale Hollow Lake, with its crystal clear water and forested hillsides, is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Dale Hollow is renowned for its fishing opportunities and holds the world record for smallmouth bass and is known as a trophy smallmouth lake. Boating and water skiing are popular activities, and with 27,700 surface acres of water and 620 miles of shoreline, there is plenty of space for campers to explore the lake.


Primitive camping sites are remote and accessible by boat; a few have vehicle access. Each location is designated and marked. Each area has a vault or pit type toilet and a ground grill or fire circle. Tent camping is permissible within the designated areas. Cove Creek, Eagle Creek Ferry, Gunnel's Camp, Jones Chapel, Plank Yard, Red Oak Ridge A, and Taylors Ford are the only locations which provide for vehicle access. All areas are considered pack-it-in, pack-it-out locations with minimal services. Campers are expected to bring plenty of water and garbage bags. Cove Creek is the only location with drinking water.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Boat-In Sites
  • Fishing
  • Pit Toilets
  • Tent sites
  • Water Activities
  • Waterfront Sites
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • Reserved campsites should be occupied by check-out on the day following your scheduled arrival date. If not, the reservation will be marked as a no-show and the site made available for another reservation.
  • Post a printed copy of your confirmation letter to your tent or at the site. To protect your identity, mark out the address information. Ensure that the reservation name, site and dates are visible.
  • No water; please bring your own. Toilet facility consists of vault/pit type.
  • Pack out all your trash and camping items.
  • Fires in designated areas only.
  • No off-road vehicles allowed.
  • Parking locations on the lake may charge a use fee for that area.
  • Houseboats are permitted to tie up nearby the area.
  • Firewood quarantines are in effect. Firewood from outside the area is not permitted. Obtain firewood locally. No chainsaws or cutting wood at the site. For more info visit www.dontmovefirewood.org .
  • Alcohol is not permitted at Cove Creek, Sewell Bend A, B, C and Red Oak Ridge A, B, C.
  • Complete rules and regulations enforced are found in Title 36, Chapter III, Part 327 Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Don't Move Firewood: Protect your forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. Visit Dontmovefirewood.org for further information.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
36.56694, -85.47861
36°34'1"N, 85°28'43"W


Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Resource Manager's Office, Dale Hollow Lake, 540 Dale Hollow Dam Road
Celina  TN  38551

Phone Number:

Information:  (931)243-3136
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Bureau of Land Management Federal Highway Administration National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Smithsonian Institution USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tennessee Valley Authority Bureau of Reclamation National Archives Records Administration