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Posted 12/10/2022 in Tims Ford Lake Highlights

Tims Ford Lake: Details and Photos

Tims Ford Lake: Details and Photos

Tims Ford Lake:  A Reservoir of History and Recreation

Tims Ford Lake, located in southern middle Tennessee, is a reservoir managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Spanning 10,700 acres (16.7 square miles) with approximately 250 miles of shoreline, this lake is a significant landmark in the region. 

Its name originates from an early ford crossing the Elk River near Winchester, which was situated on or close to land owned by Abner Mansfield Tims, an early settler in Franklin County. This ford was in use until around 1885 when the Tims Ford Bridge was built over the river.

Devil's Step Island on Tims Ford LakeDevil's Step Island on Tims Ford Lake

The TVA, following its establishment in 1933, embarked on an extensive dam and reservoir construction program. This initiative led to the acquisition of over one million acres of land, paving the way for the creation of 34 reservoirs across five of the seven states in the Tennessee Valley region. Tims Ford Lake is a product of this ambitious endeavor.

Tims Ford Lake Details

  • 10,700 Acres (approximately 16.7 square miles)

  • Filling the lake completed in 1971

  • The lake is surrounded by 5 cities:  Tullahoma, Estill Springs, Decherd, Winchester TN, and Lynchburg TN

  • Tims Ford State Park is a 3,500 acre state park bordering the lake including a Jack Nicklaus golf course, many hiking trails, and camping.

  • There are 6 islands on the lake (and you can camp on them with a reservation)

  • The lake is stocked with a multitude of different types of fish

  • The deepest part of Tims Ford Lake lake is 150 feet at the Dam

  • There are 4 different marinas on the lake -- all have restaurants.

  • There are boat ramps all around the lake with adequate parking.

The State Park on Tims Ford Lake

The lake is surrounded by the Tims Ford State Park, which covers an area of 3,546 acres. For those with an adventurous spirit, the lake offers six islands accessible for camping and exploration: Leatherwood Island, Big Island, Little Island, Maple Bend Island, Goose Island, and Devils Step Island. These islands offer a primitive camping experience, devoid of facilities, and are managed by Tims Ford State Park -- reservations are required. The only way to reach these islands is by boat or kayak.  

Tims Ford State park is a beautiful park offering miles of hiking and biking trails, a marina, retreat center, lakeside cabins to rent, nature center (and events), camping (both tent and RV).

Tims Ford State Park - hiking on the lakeside trailTims Ford State Park Hiking Trail

Fishing on Tims Ford Lake

On December 21, 2021, Tims Ford Lake received the designation of a "Bill Dance Signature Lake." This title brings with it funds for upgrades above the water, such as docks, fishing piers, and signage, enhancing the fishing experience in the lake. The fishing is great for bass, walleye, and Crappie as well as catfish. Though there are also many other fish in the lake as well.

Fishing on Tims Ford LakeFishing on Tims Ford Lake
photo: RIch Pingston

The lake wildlife is just as extensive as the fishing.  Deer, owls, coyotes, even the occasional black bear can all be seen.  Even bald eagles call Tims Ford Lake home.

Bald Eagles by Tims Ford LakeBald Eagles by Tims Ford Lake
photo: Dan Zehring

Here's a list of Q&A for TIms Ford Lake if you want to learn more.

The Cities Around Tims Ford Lake

The lake is bordered by five cities: Winchester TN (the Franklin County seat), Decherd, Estill Springs, Tullahoma, and Lynchburg TN. Each of the cities has something unique and all have history dating back to the early 1800's well before the civil war. Two of the towns, Lynchburg and Winchester have historic town squares which shopping and restaurants. Lynchburg is known for Jack Daniel's distillery as well.  

Sunset over Tims Ford LakeSunset on the Lake

There are festivals and events in the area all year long.

Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg TN by Tims Ford LakeJack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg TN 

There are also two towns under Tims Ford Lake.  The first is Awalt and the other is Owl Hollow.

The Tims Ford Lake Dam: An Engineering Marvel

Constructed by the TVA between 1966 and 1970, the Tims Ford Dam stands tall at 175 feet and stretches 1580 feet long at its crest. It harnesses the power of the Elk River, generating an average of 40 megawatts of hydroelectric power. The reservoir boasts a flood storage capacity of 219,600 acre-feet. The water level in the Tims Ford Reservoir fluctuates by about 15 feet annually, with the summer level being 888 feet above sea level.

Tims Ford Lake Dam photo during the summerTims Ford Lake Dam 

The dam was TVA’s pioneering hydroelectric facility retrofitted with a small generating unit to maintain instantaneous downstream minimum flows. Comprising 85,400 cubic yards of concrete, the dam serves several purposes, as outlined by the TVA. It creates a navigable channel of the Elk River, generates power, provides water supply and flood damage reduction, especially for Fayetteville, Tennessee, and offers opportunities for water-oriented recreation amidst the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee. Additionally, it ensures future water supplies for towns in the vicinity.

TIms Ford Lake during FallTIms Ford Lake during Fall
photo: Dan Zhering

Tims Ford Lake is not just a body of water; it's a reservoir of history, recreation, and engineering marvels. Whether you're a history buff, an adventurer, or someone looking for a serene escape, Tims Ford Lake has something to offer.

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The Ultimate Guide To The Tims Ford Lake Area

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Winchester TN   ||   Tullahoma TN   ||   Lynchburg TN   ||   Estill Springs TN   ||   Decherd TN   

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