Great Falls is one of seven dams acquired by TVA from private companies, and it’s the only TVA dam located outside the Tennessee River Valley. It was completed in 1916 by the Tennessee Electric Power Company and was bought by TVA in 1939 and is located about 75 miles southeast of Nashville on the Caney Fork River. It’s named for the impressive falls that plunge into the Caney Fork a short distance below the dam.
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 area surrounding Great Falls Reservoir is a scenic wilderness with numerous waterfalls, including the one that gives the reservoir its name. Whitewater rapids below the dam are world-renowned for kayaking and canoeing and have been the site for national and international paddling events.
Nearby Rock Island State Park offers hiking, camping and swimming. There is a boat ramp above the dam on Great Falls Reservoir, an old mill site on the river below the dam and spectacular fishing in the scenic gorge of the Caney Fork River.
Note: swimming or wading is not permitted downstream of the Powerhouse at any time, regardless of water releases. Always use caution in the gorge; water may rise rapidly. Monitor your surroundings and watch for slick rocks and swift currents.
How to Get There
From Knoxville: Take I-40 W to exit 322 in Crossville (Peavine Road); drive south on Peavine Road to intersection of US-70W – turn right (west). Follow US-70 W through Crossville to Sparta (Sparta Highway). West of Sparta, go south on US-70S (Spencer Highway). Follow this to Rock Island Road and then left to Great Falls Road.
From Nashville: Take US-70S to McMinnville; continue on US-70S towards Sparta. Turn left onto Rock Island Road and then left to Great Falls Road.
1778 Great Falls Road, Rock Island, TN 38581
Visitor centers, trails, boat ramps and canoe access points operated by TVA are provided to the public with no fee; check with Rock Island State Park for amenities (cabins, picnic tables), camping and use fees.
ADA Accessibility Notes
No ADA accessibility available at Great Falls Dam and Reservoir
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.