Check out the history of Wilson Dam on this episode of Tennessee Valley Uncharted!
Wilson Dam is on the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama. It is the only neoclassical-style dam in the TVA system, integrating themes of ancient Roman and Greek architecture into the modern structure. It has 21 generating units with a net dependable capacity of 663 megawatts.
The construction of Wilson Dam began in 1918, a year after the United States entered World War I. The federal government built two nitrate plants at Muscle Shoals for production of explosives, and Wilson Dam was constructed to supply the electricity needed to power the plants. TVA acquired Wilson Dam in 1933.
For more information about TVA dams visit https://www.tva.gov/Energy/Our-Power-System/Hydroelectric.
TVA is a corporate agency of the United States, it receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity to business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. But TVA is much more than a power company. Through its mission of service, the Tennessee Valley Authority improves the quality of life by providing safe, clean, reliable and affordable electricity; supporting communities through economic development; and carrying out environmental stewardship programs to ensure we all have a beautiful, unique place to live for generations.
The Muscle Shoals Reservation Trail system contains over 17 miles of paved and primitive walking trails, including the Native Plant Garden Trail, Wilson Dam Overlook Trail, Old Railroad Bridge Trail, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Park and Rockpile Recreation Area. The Recreation Area, which is near the dam, has several waterfalls and a playground modeled after the dam. The CCC Park includes a pavilion constructed by the CCC in the 1930s.
The Old First Quarters Small Wild Area is named after a complex that housed engineers during dam construction. Biking is allowed only on the paved trail sections. Small feeder creeks run through the natural area, forming an ideal habitat for a variety of ferns, including the rare walking fern.
Visit TVA trails website for more information.
How to Get There
Get on I-40
Take US-72 E to Wilson Dam Hwy. Drive to Reservation Rd in Lauderdale County
Take I-24 W, US-72 W, I-565 W and US-72 ALT W to AL-133 N/AL-157 in Colbert County
Continue on AL-133 N/AL-157. Drive to Reservation Rd in Lauderdal County
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 camping, fishing pier, mixed use trail, paved trail, playground, restrooms, water fountain.
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.