Douglas Dam is on the French Broad River in east Tennessee. The reservoir extends 43 miles upriver from the dam through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Douglas Reservoir is a popular recreation destination, known for picnicking, camping, boating, and fishing. The dam is just minutes from Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, TN.
Douglas and other TVA dams built during World War II made a historic contribution by providing hydropower to drive the war effort. Work on Douglas Dam began in February 1942 and was completed on a crash schedule in just 12 months and 17 days. The construction of Douglas set a world record for projects of equivalent size. TVA used the same plans it had drawn up for Cherokee Dam in order to complete Douglas Dam so quickly. For more information about Douglas Dam, click here.
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.
Birdwatchers enjoy the fall migration of shore birds, wading birds and other waterfowl that flock to Douglas from late July to early October. The birds rest and feed along the muddy shoreline that is exposed as the level of the reservoir is lowered to winter flood control levels. A good place to observe birds is at Rankin Bottoms Wildlife Management Area managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency – you might get lucky and spot an American White Pelican, a Black-necked Stilt or a Wood Stork.
The Trotter Bluff Small Wild Area features a 1.2 mile loop hiking trail through a mature hardwood forest and limestone sinkholes - also a good trail to hike in the spring to catch wildflowers in bloom. For more information on the Trotter Bluff Trail and the nearby Dandridge Partnership Trail, visit the TVA Trails webpage.
There are two campgrounds on the Douglas Dam Reservation: Headwater (above the dam) and Tailwater (below the dam) Campgrounds. There are over 120 campsites between the two campgrounds; almost all the RV sites have water and electric hookups; there are four accessible sites and eleven tent sites. Each campground has a boat launch ramp with a courtesy dock and there is a beach adjacent to the headwater campground. For more information on the Douglas campgrounds see TVA's Camping webpage.
Picnicking is popular at the Douglas Dam Overlook where you will find individual tables as well as a pavilion that will seat 200 people; the pavilion can be reserved.
The campgrounds, beach and adjacent picnic area are closed in the winter; check the TVA website for dates. The boat launching ramp and overlook area is open year round.
How to Get There
From US I-40, east of Knoxville, TN:
Take exit 407.
Travel south on TN-66 towards Sevierville, turning right onto TN-139.
Then turn right onto TN-338 – this will take you to Douglas Dam, the 2 campgrounds (signs to the Headwater Campground are after you cross the dam), the day use areas and the Trotter Bluff Trail.
The day use areas which include the picnic tables, beach and boat launch ramps are free. There are fees associated with the campground and the pavilion.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Several campsites, the pavilion, restrooms, showers, swimming beach and picnic areas are accessible.
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.Pets are not allowed in the beach area.