Guntersville Reservoir extends 76 miles through Tennessee River from northeast Alabama to Tennessee. The nearby town of Guntersville is named after John Gunter, an early Scottish settler who was an adopted member of the Cherokee tribe. He established the town of Guntersville a year after the American Revolution ended.
When TVA established the stairway of dams and locks that turned Tennessee into a 652-mile-long river highway, the rural town of Guntersville was transformed into a major port. Several large companies now have terminals at Guntersville for processing and distributing grain, petroleum and wood products.
When it comes to acres designated as Natural Areas, Guntersville has the most with over 5,500 acres. Natural Areas are managed to protect one or more species of plants or animals, exceptional natural or scenic qualities or large concentrations of viewable wildlife.
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.
Good fishing, clear waters and the beautiful backdrop of the wooded Appalachian foothills combine to make Guntersville one of the South’s premier recreation attractions. Crappie is the number one sport fish, usually accounting for more than half of the total catch. Bass and bluegill are also caught in large numbers. The area just below Guntersville Dam is known for its fine sauger fishing during autumn and winter, white bass in early spring and catfish during the summer.
Eagle watching has become popular on Guntersville Lake, where over 20 mating pairs visit each year. One of the most easily viewed nests is on the north side of Guntersville Dam and can be observed from a small parking area at the intersection of Dam Reservation Road and Painted Bluff Road.
The area below the dam offers unique opportunities for day hiking and caving. Cave Mountain Trail is a one-mile loop trail that leads you by a cave that was used during the Civil War to mine saltpeter, a basic ingredient of gunpowder. Other trails will lead you though scenic lake views, cemeteries and waterfalls. For information on Guntersville trails, visit TVA's Trails webpage.
Hambrick Hollow Cave is accessible only by boat and is a popular attraction for locals during the summer months when 30,000 gray bats emerge at dusk. It is located one mile upstream of Guntersville Dam. Sauta Cave, accessible by land, is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is also a popular place to watch bats emerge to feed. TVA has a 112- acre habitat protection area surrounding this cave. Note: All TVA caves are closed to the public; many large caves, like Hamrick, are gated to protect bats that may be roosting inside the cave from human disturbance and to help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a deadly fungus that is putting bat populations at risk. Read more about what TVA scientists are doing to protect bats here.
How to Get There
From Chattanooga: Take US-72 W to AL-79 at Scottsboro towards Guntersville. North side: Stay on AL-79 until intersection of AL-431; turn right towards Huntsville. Take AL-431 to Guntersville Dam Road, on left. South side: Stay on AL-79 until intersection of AL-431; turn left towards Guntersville. In Guntersville, turn right onto AL-69. Turn right onto Union Grove Road, then right onto Snow Point Road.
From Huntsville: North side: Take AL-431, south, towards Guntersville. Turn left onto Guntersville Dam Road. South side: Take AL-231 to Union Grove Road, turn left. Turn left on Snow Point Road.
Visitor centers, trails, boat ramps, and canoe access points operated by TVA are provided to the public with no fee
ADA Accessibility Notes
ADA accessibility available at the pavilion, restrooms
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.