Bear Creek Dam is located in the northwest corner of Alabama, 30 miles southwest of Muscle Shoals. It’s one of a cluster of four small dams located in the area and includes Upper Bear Creek, Little Bear Creek and Cedar Creek Dams. The dams provide flood damage reduction, recreation opportunities and water supply. None of the Bear Creek dams produce electricity.
For more information about TVA dams, visit www.tva.gov.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. For more information about TVA and its mission of service to the Tennessee Valley, click here.
The Bear Creek Development Authority (BCDA) manages most of the public land around the reservoirs. A $25 annual permit will get you unlimited access to the lakes, lands, picnic facilities and beaches (a 3-day pass and 1-day pass are also available). There are 8 resort cabins and numerous campsites in 5 campgrounds that can be rented through BCDA.
The Bear Creek area is popular for all kinds of water recreation activities especially canoeing and kayaking. The Bear Creek Floatway, which flows into Bear Creek Reservoir, is a popular spot for teaching first-timers to negotiate rapids and work with the current. Releases from Upper Bear Creek Lake provide adequate flow on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The 24 mile floatway is considered a Class I course except for Upper and Lower Factory Falls which are Class VI rapids and are very dangerous – only the most experienced paddler should attempt; portaging is available for all others.
Below Bear Creek Dam the Lower Bear Creek Canoe Trail provides a more leisurely float, running 34 miles downstream to Pickwick Dam on the Tennessee River.
More information about Tennessee Valley Water Trails can be found here.
All Seasons; check with BCDA for closings to their facilities.
How to Get There
From Huntsville: Take US-565 to Decatur; at intersection with US-65, stay straight on US-72A around Decatur and exit to Beltline Road, turn left; then exit to AL-24 (Gordon Terry Parkway) towards Russellville. Staying straight on AL-24 through Russellville will take you towards Little Bear, Cedar Creek and Bear Creek dams; going south on US-43 will take you towards Big Bear Creek Dam.
From Nashville: Take US-31 south to Columbia and then US-43 to Russellville. Turning right on AL-24 will take you towards Little Bear, Cedar Creek and Bear Creek dams; staying straight on US-43 will take you towards Big Bear Creek Dam.
From Memphis: Take US-72 east, then south on US-43 to Russellville. Turning right on AL-24 will take you towards Little Bear Creek, Cedar Creek and Bear Creek dams; staying straight on US-43 will take you towards Big Bear Creek Dam.
Visitor centers, trails, boat ramps, and canoe access points operated by TVA are provided to the public with no fee. Check with Bear Creek Development Authority for permits and fees to their amenities.
ADA Accessibility Notes
ADA accessibility at Little Bear Creek Dam's fishing pier
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets welcome but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6-feet. TVA is a partner of Leave No Trace and requests that visitors follow Leave No Trace practices, including picking up after your pet.