Center Hill Lake is a reservoir in central Tennessee. Not far from Smithville, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed a dam in 1948. To this day, the 750 civilians and U.S. Army Officers of the Nashville district take care of the area. The reservoir itself has a max depth of 190 feet. At 632 feet above sea level, the lake and camping area around it take up 28 ½ square miles. Center Hill Lake has millions of visitors every year.
There are a variety of different activities you can do around the area that group or solo visitors can enjoy. If visiting in the fall, you can spend a weekend hunting in the surrounding area near the lake. If you're visiting during the summer, however, you can take part in activities such as swimming, boating, or fishing. Thanks to Tennessee having a fairly temperate climate, camping is enjoyable year-round, whether in a tent or by renting an RV.
Center Hill Campground and Center Hill Lake are just five minutes apart. The entrance to the campground is a well-maintained dirt road. It is incredibly easy to access from nearby paved roads. The lake has nine different marinas, including boat docks, that are accessible throughout the area. While the park is less than 60 miles east of Nashville, the rural setting makes it perfect for getting away from a busy life in the city and allows you to relax and enjoy nature. Depending on the route you take to get to the lake or campground, you may experience some winding roads with sharp turns. If you're driving an RV or large vehicle, it is advised to go extra slow around these parts of the drive.
Long Branch Campgrounds offers six campsites and 50 electrical and water hook-up sites for visitors. They do give you the option to reserve a campsite prior to your visit to ensure there is a spot for you and your family. There are plenty of water-based activities to do at Long Branch such as fishing or boating. This campground offers showers, bathrooms, picnic tables, and a playground.
There are over 100 campsites available at Floating Mill Park. Whether you want to set your tent up on the shoreline, or camp out of an RV, there’s a spot for you. You’ll get the beautiful view of Tennessee’s Highland Rim and there are a plethora of water activities available. Floating Mill Park takes reservations online up to a year in advance. There are 30-amp hook-ups for RVs, as well as water hook-ups. This campground has flush toilets, modern showers, hiking trails, picnic tables and more.
With just under 60 campsites available, Ragland Bottom is a beautiful campground nestled on the shores of Center Hill Lake. They allow reservations to be made online up to six months in advanced. Ragland Bottom has 40 sites available that have water and electric hook-ups for the more modern camper, as well as 16 tent-only campsites. You'll find lots of wildlife to see in the area, especially along the hiking trails. Ragland Bottom offers just about everything you could need or want in a campground, including a washer and dryer, showers, grills and more.
Easily one of the best ways to enjoy rural Tennessee is to go boating on Center Hill Lake. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and hills that give you a beautiful view anywhere you look. There are over 415 miles of shoreline and the visibility in the lake ranges from 3 ½ feet to six feet in the summer.
There are fishing boat rentals available as well as houseboat options if you need a break from the RV or tent. You'll also be able to take out different types of watercraft onto the water. Whether you have a kayak, paddleboard, canoe, or other types of watercraft, you'll be able to enjoy boating on Center Hill Lake.
If you enjoy a bit of leisurely sport, you'll enjoy one of the several golf courses in the area. Not only will you be able to enjoy a solo game, or one with friends and family, you'll be surrounded by the beautiful foliage of the countryside in Tennessee.
Golfing is a great way to get some exercise while on your weekend getaway. You don't need to worry about packing your clubs and taking up space in the RV, as all golf courses have clubs that you can rent.
For those who would rather be in the water than on it, you can take a dip in Center Hill Lake. Bring your family and friends with you to cool off during the humid Tennessee summers. There is a maximum depth of 190 feet. Note that there is no lifeguard on duty, so please keep children chaperoned at all times. Feel free to bring fun floating devices and water games to enjoy during your stay.
Center Hill Lake is also a popular destination for hunters. There are around 20,000 acres of forest that are public property all-around Center Hill Lake. It is important to make sure you have a hunting license and only take part in this activity during the proper time of year.
There are plenty of different animals around the area that you can hunt during the season including Whitetail deer, squirrels, rabbits, and even wild turkey.
Hiking is another popular off-season activity you can take pardon. There are three hiking trails available that can test your endurance or serve as a relaxing walk through the woods.
Buffalo Valley Nature Trail, Lost Springs Trail, and Ye Ole Red Post Trail are all beautiful hiking trails around Center Hill Lake. No matter your activity level, you'll be able to enjoy some time in the woods on any one of these trails!
Because the area has a temperate climate, fishing is a popular activity for the majority of the year. You can bring your own boat or rent one from one of the local rental sites. There are several fisher tractors and brush piles throughout the lake making it the perfect fishing area.
You'll find fish such as smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, spotted bass, catfish, bluegill, and a few different types of crappie. Believe it or not, Center Hill Lake produced the state record spotted bass in 1989, weighing over five pounds.