About Nine Lakes

Nine Lakes. Four Rivers. One East Tennessee.

In the 1930s and ’40s, the Tennessee Valley Authority built 32 dams along the Tennessee River system to control flooding, generate hydroelectric power for remote regions, and create a 650-mile navigable route between Knoxville and the Ohio River.

Six of those dams created nine lakes within an hour’s drive of Knoxville, Tennessee: Norris, Cherokee, Douglas, Melton Hill, Watts Bar, Fort Loudon, Tellico, Chilhowee and Calderwood Lakes.

These nine lakes changed the East Tennessee landscape forever. They covered up small towns, forever lost beneath water and displacing hundreds of thousands of families.

But like the powerful waters flowing over those dams, the people of East Tennessee are strong and resourceful.  They regrouped. They took advantage of improved waterways and electric power. New resort villages sprung up along these new lakes, offering recreation venues for boating, fishing and skiing. New methods of farming were adopted, to preserve topsoil and bring prosperity to the region.

Today these Nine Lakes and their tributaries irrigate our fields and vineyards, which are again flourishing on Tennessee’s gentle hills. We celebrate this region we call Nine Lakes! The waterways not only nourish us; they connect us.  You can’t have one lake without another, and “Going to the lake” is a common phrase we don’t even define. Which lake? Aren’t they all connected? Yes.

Come visit our Tennessee winemakers on the shores of Melton Lake. This glassy-smooth waterway in Oak Ridge is known for its world-class rowing venue, with eight lanes that stretch a mile. In fact, come watch the Dogwood Masters Classic Regatta the morning of May 19 and enjoy Nine Lakes Wine Festival that afternoon.

Nine Lakes Region — This is a beautiful place to visit. A place we call home.

Download Nine Lakes Map