Center Hill Lake is a reservoir in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is located in Middle Tennessee near Smithville. Created by means of a dam constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1948, the lake had a dual purpose: electricity production and flood control. Center Hill Dam is 260 ft (79 m) high, and it is composed of concrete and earth structures, with 8 gates that are 50 ft (15 m) wide each. Center Hill Lake is one of four major flood control reservoirs for the Cumberland; the others being J. Percy Priest Dam, Dale Hollow Dam, and Wolf Creek Dam.
The lake, which is 64 miles (103 km) long, covers an area of 18,220 acres (73.7 km2). Center Hill Lake has a storage capacity of 762,000 acre feet (940,000,000 m3) of water. The lake has approximately 415 mi (668 km) of shoreline, with the deepest point at 190 ft (58 m). The watershed area for the lake is 2,174 square miles (5,630 km2). The lake is well known for water recreation and fishing.
Major tributaries of Center Hill Lake include the Caney Fork (the main tributary) and the Falling Water River.
Edgar Evins, Burgess Falls and Rock Island State Parks contain portions of the lake's shoreline, the rest of which has been relatively underdeveloped until recent years. Lately, the area surrounding Center Hill Lake has been the target of land developers, who have begun construction on several upper-middle-class vacation homes and condos. Some locals protest that these actions are destroying the beauty of nature that make it such an attractive locale for such developments.
In January 2007, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers placed Center Hill Dam under a high risk for failure, along with Wolf Creek Dam in Russell County, Kentucky.