Welcome to Dale Hollow Lake

If you’re looking for a fantastic destination in Tennessee and Kentucky, look no further than Dale Hollow Lake. This beautiful lake is located right on the border between the two states and covers an expansive 52,542 acres, making it the ideal destination to fish, swim, boat, and water ski.

But wait, there’s more! Dale Hollow also provides an excellent setting for land-based activities such as camping, hiking, and picnicking. As you explore the 620 miles of natural shoreline, you’ll get to enjoy the unmatched scenic beauty of the area.

One of the unique attractions at Dale Hollow Lake is houseboating. USA Today named Dale Hollow Lake one of the “10 Great Places to Go Float Your Houseboat” nationwide. Imagine spending a relaxed vacation floating on the serene waters of the lake, taking in the lush landscape and creating unforgettable memories.

Overall, Dale Hollow Lake offers an unmatched blend of water-based and land-based activities, making it a top choice for your next vacation. Whether you’re an adventurer, a nature lover, or simply looking for peace and tranquility, this lake has something for everyone.

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3 Facts About Dale Hollow Lake

01

Restricted Development

The entire shoreline of Dale Hollow Lake is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which limits development to marinas and day-use areas. This restriction ensures that the majority of the shoreline remains in its natural, heavily wooded state, preserving the beauty and ecological integrity of the lake for future generations to enjoy.

02

A Haven for Trout

The Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery, located just below the dam, is a testament to the lake’s excellent water quality. Established in 1965 and expanded in 1994, it’s the largest federal trout hatchery east of the Mississippi River, producing 1.5 million trout annually for distribution in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

03

Eagle-Watching Destination

Dale Hollow Lake is a prime location for eagle watching, especially during the winter months. From mid-December to mid-February, the lake hosts one of the largest wintering bald eagle populations in the area, offering a spectacular opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to observe these magnificent birds in their natural habitat.

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Must-See Attractions

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Holly Ridge Winery

Wineries & Vineyards

Nestled in the picturesque setting of Livingston, Tennessee, Holly Ridge Winery is a gem for wine enthusiasts. This family-owned winery, active since 1998, takes pride in producing a variety of award-winning wines, ranging from sweet port wines to white varietals. Visitors can enjoy a personalized wine-tasting experience, often led by the winemakers themselves, and explore over 29 different wines that cater to every palate.

Standing Stone State Park

State Parks

For nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, Standing Stone State Park is a perfect destination. Opened in 1939, this expansive park spans over a thousand acres and is surrounded by 10,000 acres of state forestry land. It offers a variety of activities, including hiking on over eight miles of trails, boating, swimming, and camping. The park’s trails range from easy to strenuous, leading visitors through beautiful forests, wildflower-covered fields, and around the serene Standing Stone Lake.

Grey Wolf Ranch

Farm & Animals

For something a bit more off the beaten path, head to Grey Wolf Ranch. Known globally for its excellent horseback riding and lessons, the ranch offers a range of activities, including guided trail rides, therapeutic horseback riding, and even corporate retreats. In addition to horse-related activities, Grey World Ranch also offers guided pontoon rides, fishing trips, and island adventures on Dale Hollow Lake.

Annual Events and Festivals

February 24, 2024

Annual Pig Tournament

Gather at the York Country Store in Pall Mall, Tennessee, for a unique and lively card game experience. The Annual Pig Tournament celebrates the local card game known as PIG, starting at high noon on the last Saturday of February. This event promises fun and excitement for card game enthusiasts and those looking for a glimpse into local traditions.

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October 26, 2024

Town of Byrdstown 3K/5K Run/Walk

Lace-up your running shoes for a good cause in the Town of Byrdstown. The 3K/5K Run/Walk, scheduled for the fourth Saturday in October, is an annual fundraiser benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This event combines physical fitness with community spirit, all while supporting a noble cause.

December 7, 2024

Byrdstown Christmas Celebration & Christmas Marketplace

Experience the festive atmosphere of Byrdstown with their Christmas Celebration & Christmas Marketplace. This event, taking place on December 7, offers a delightful array of holiday decorations, music, and a unique shopping experience for those last-minute gifts. Immerse yourself in the small-town charm and make new memories while enjoying outdoor caroling, hot cocoa, and a vibrant Christmas parade.

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Top Hiking Trails

Standing Stone Lake Trail

1674 Standing Stone Park Hwy, Hilham, TN

Discover the enchanting landscapes near Hilham, Tennessee, on this 4-mile (7 km) loop trail, which promises peaceful forests and plenty of chirping birds. The trail weaves through varying elevations, offering hikers the thrill of navigating switchbacks and narrow paths with scenic lake vistas. The tranquility of this trail, often devoid of crowds, allows for a reflective and peaceful hiking experience, making it a perfect escape into nature.

Bunkum Cave Trail

1300 Cordell Hull Memorial Dr, Byrdstown, TN

This easy, 2-mile (3.5 km) loop trail, nestled near Byrdstown, Tennessee, is a gateway to historical exploration and natural wonder. As you meander towards the majestic Bunkum Cave, the trail descends gracefully, leading you to the awe-inspiring cave entrance that stands 100 feet wide and 50 feet tall. It’s a favorite of the area and a must-tackle when staying near Dale Hollow Lake.

Groce Ridge via Boom Ridge Trail

5970 State Park Rd, Burkesville, KY

Set off on a grand adventure on this 3-mile (5 km) out-and-back trail near Albany, Kentucky, which is perfect for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding. The trail itself winds through lush woods and leads to a serene lake view—an idyllic spot for a leisurely picnic or a moment of quiet reflection. Plus, as it has remained off the trodden path, you’ll likely encounter few other travelers. Bring some snacks and make an afternoon of it!

Best Golf Courses

Stonehenge Golf Course

222 Fairfield Blvd, Crossville, TN

Rated as the #1 resort course in Tennessee, Stonehenge Golf Club offers a world-class 18-hole, par 72 golf course designed by Joe Lee. The course is named after its native stone walls and features natural rock outcroppings, with a signature downhill par 3, 14th hole. The club also boasts a beautifully appointed clubhouse and excellent dining facilities.

Visit their website for more information

Belle Acres Golf Course

901 E Broad St, Cookeville, TN

Established in 1930, this historic course offers a 9-hole, par 35 track spread over 2,923 yards. It’s the oldest active course between Nashville and Knoxville, initially featuring sand greens and later evolving to today’s bent grass greens. The course’s recent redesign and the largest practice facility in the area make it a must-visit for both serious and casual golfers.

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Stearn’s Golf Course

1 Henderson St, Stearns, KY

Established in 1936, this golf course is part of the rich history of the former coal company town of Stearns. The 49-acre course is accompanied by a log clubhouse dating back to 1936 and a historic kidney-shaped pool from the 1930s. The course’s unique setting and historical significance offer a distinctive golfing experience, highlighting the region’s coal mining heritage and unique landscapes that were originally deemed too harsh for a course.

Visit their website for more information

Water Sports

Fishing

Imagine casting your line into the sparkling waters of Dale Hollow Lake, renowned for its exceptional smallmouth bass fishing. This is where the world record smallmouth bass was caught, tipping the scales at an impressive 11 pounds and 15 ounces. The lake’s clear, rocky waters are also home to walleye, crappie, catfish, and more. So, whether you’re a seasoned angler or just dipping your toes into the world of fishing, the lake’s abundant fish population promises an unforgettable experience​​​​.

Boating

Glide across the vast expanse of Dale Hollow Lake, with its 27,000 acres of shimmering water and scenic 620 miles of shoreline. This majestic lake is a boater’s dream, offering everything from peaceful pontoon rides to exhilarating speedboat adventures. The lake’s welcoming marinas, like East Port Marina and Mitchell Creek Marina, are ready to equip you with everything you need for your aquatic adventure, ensuring a day full of fun and sun-soaked memories.

Water Skiing

Feel the rush of excitement as you water ski on Dale Hollow Lake, where the thrill of speed and the beauty of nature combine for an adrenaline-packed experience. Perfect for those who crave adventure on the water, the lake’s open expanses provide the ideal playground for water skiing. If you’re new to the sport, friendly and skilled instructors are available to guide you, ensuring that your water skiing adventure is safe, fun, and unforgettable.

Winter Activities

Winter Fishing & Boating

Even in winter, Dale Hollow Lake remains an angler’s paradise thanks to its world-record smallmouth bass. Tactics like the float-and-fly method prove to be effective, and anglers can enjoy the tranquility of the lake with fewer boats and a peaceful atmosphere. While fishing, remember to dress warmly and always wear a personal flotation device for safety​​.

Winter Hiking

The mild winters of Dale Hollow Lake provide the perfect setting for hiking, and you’ll likely have the trails all to yourself. That is, besides the wildlife you might encounter, such as deer and bald eagles, which adds a touch of nature’s magic to your hike. The crisp winter air and the quiet beauty of the landscape make hiking a refreshing and rejuvenating activity during this season​​.

Winter Scuba Diving

While not as commonly associated with winter, scuba diving in Dale Hollow Lake can be a unique experience during the colder months. The clear waters of the lake offer excellent visibility, allowing divers to explore the underwater world in a serene environment. It’s essential to have the proper cold-water diving gear and be accompanied by experienced divers or guides, as winter diving comes with its own set of challenges and safety considerations.

Where to Eat

Dale Hollow 1 Stop BBQ

$ – $$ • BBQ

Ricky Bobby’s Roadhouse

$ – $$ • Pizza, Burgers, and More

The Fork

$ – $$ • American

Where to Shop

Dale Hollow Antiques

Antique Store

Daisy Mae’s Boutique

Clothing Store

Uptown Boutique

Boutique Store

Where to Sleep

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Islandview Family Cottage

Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 3
Sq Footage 1,350
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$250.00 / day

Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Dale Hollow Lake

Choose Your Location Wisely

Dale Hollow Lake spans across both Tennessee and Kentucky, offering a variety of experiences. If you’re looking for tranquility and scenic beauty, consider a rental in more secluded areas. Alternatively, if you wish to be closer to amenities like restaurants, shops, and marinas, look for rentals near towns like Byrdstown, Tennessee, or Albany, Kentucky. Each area around the lake has its unique charm and activities, so think about what type of vacation experience you’re looking for.

Plan Your Activities

Dale Hollow Lake is known for its excellent fishing, boating, and water sports. If you’re interested in these activities, consider a rental that offers or is close to boat rentals and fishing guides. The lake is also surrounded by beautiful trails for hiking and areas for bird watching, so outdoor enthusiasts should plan accordingly.

Consider Seasonal Variations

Like many vacation destinations, Dale Hollow Lake experiences peak and off-peak seasons. Summer is typically the busiest time, perfect for water activities but also the most crowded. If you prefer a quieter getaway, consider visiting in the spring or fall. Not only will you likely find better rates on rentals, but you’ll also enjoy the lake’s natural beauty with fewer crowds.

Be Prepared for the Weather

The weather around Dale Hollow Lake can vary, so it’s wise to pack accordingly. Summers can be warm and perfect for swimming and water sports, while evenings can cool down, making a light jacket or sweater a good idea. If you’re visiting in the off-peak season, be prepared for cooler temperatures and potentially unpredictable weather.

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Jet Skiing

Going Deeper on Dale Hollow Lake

Dale Hollow Lake, nestled in the picturesque landscape of Tennessee and Kentucky, has a history as rich and deep as its waters. The lake’s story began with the construction of Dale Hollow Dam, completed in 1943 on the Obey River, just a short distance from where it meets the Cumberland River. This monumental project was initially authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the River and Harbor Act of 1946, with its primary purpose being flood control. However, the dam’s role expanded significantly in the subsequent years, with the addition of power-generating units in 1948, 1949, and 1953, marking a transition from mere flood control to a vital source of hydroelectric power.

Over the decades, Dale Hollow Lake has transformed into a hub of recreational and natural beauty, drawing visitors with its crystal-clear waters, world-class fishing opportunities, particularly for smallmouth bass, and a serene environment perfect for various water sports and leisure activities. The lake also serves as a gateway for those interested in exploring the region’s rich historical and cultural heritage, including notable sites like the birthplace of Cordell Hull and Sergeant Alvin C. York’s State Park.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dale Hollow Lake

The Dale Hollow Lake area offers various camping options for outdoor enthusiasts. Many campgrounds provide playgrounds, picnic pavilions, and boat ramps to enhance your stay. Check online for availability and reservation information to secure your preferred campground.

Yes, cabin rentals are available at Dale Hollow Lake to cater to different group sizes and preferences. You can search online for rental options, reviews, and booking information to ensure you find the perfect cabin for your vacation needs.

Dale Hollow Lake is deemed one of the cleanest lakes in the United States, making it an ideal spot for swimming. With 620 miles of undeveloped shoreline, you’ll find a place to dip your toes and enjoy the refreshing water.

Dale Hollow Lake, straddling the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, is known for its deep and clear waters. Its depth varies across different areas, with the deepest point reaching over 130 feet. This depth contributes to its popularity for various water activities, including fishing and boating.

Accessing Dale Hollow Lake depends on where you’re coming from. The nearest major cities include Nashville, TN, and Lexington, KY. The lake is reachable by car from these cities, and there are several entry points depending on which part of the lake you wish to visit.

Absolutely! Dale Hollow Lake offers a variety of activities suitable for families, including water sports, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. The lake’s marinas provide amenities like boat rentals, and the surrounding area has several parks and picnic spots, making it an excellent destination for a family getaway.

Muskoka is known for its picturesque towns and charming villages. Some popular towns you can visit include Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and Port Carling. Each town offers its unique attractions, shops, and restaurants, making them perfect stopovers during your exploration of the Muskoka region.

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