About Sumner County
Nashville's North Shore
It is a stroke of great fortune for the entire region that such an immense resource and recreation amenity lies within greater Nashville. Old Hickory Lake provides a wonderful, accessible water paradise for residents and visitors alike. The lake is actually the impoundment of the scenic Cumberland River, which meanders from its headwaters in the the hills of southeastern Kentucky … through middle Tennessee … and ultimately flows into the Ohio River near Paducah, Ky.
Old Hickory Lake is the dividing line between Nashville-Davidson County to the south and Sumner County to the north … thus Sumner County is deemed “Nashville’s North Shore.” Although the lake has over 440 total miles of shoreline that touches five counties, Sumner County has by far the most public parks, recreation areas, marinas and homes on Old Hickory of any of the counties.
The Cumberland River is not only beautiful, is it extraordinarily historic, having served as a bountiful hunting ground for native Americans … to being the transportation route for some of the region’s earliest white settlers … to providing a channel of commerce for riverboats that plied its waters in the 19th century.
Facts About Old Hickory Lake
- President Andrew Jackson’s Namesake – His toughness, aggressiveness and zest for living was legendary … and earned him the widely recognized nickname of “Old Hickory.” His beloved home – the Hermitage – is located just to the south of the lake.
- Dam and Lock – The lake was formed by Old Hickory Dam and Lock, a project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, constructed between 1952 and 1957. The dam generates hydroelectricity as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority power grid.
- Cruise to the Gulf … and Beyond – Because Old Hickory Lake is actually the impoundment of the Cumberland River, adventurous boaters can navigate the Cumberland ... to the Ohio River ... to the Mississippi River or Tennessee/Tombignee Rivers ... all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Or they may take a much shorter cruise to docks in downtown Nashville to attend festivals, concerts or NFL Tennessee Titans football games.
- Not Just For Fishin’ – From kids with cane poles to competition bass boaters, Old Hickory provides a haven for catching many different species and sizes of fish. The lake – with depths of up to 65 feet in its channels – also provides water recreation for power boaters (runabouts, jet skis, cruisers, houseboats), speed enthusiasts (skiing, wakeboarding, tubing) and more quiet craft (kayaks, canoes and sailboats). Duck blinds for winter hunting, wildlife sanctuaries and wetlands also dot the lake and its tributary streams and creeks.
- Well Managed and Maintained – Because it is such a precious resource, Old Hickory Lake is a closely monitored and managed reservoir that has a fairly constant water level that is well suited for conservation and recreational purposes. Environment and recreational management is under the auspices of the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA). The dam, water levels, navigation channels and shoreline is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.