Pickwick Dam

Pickwick Dam, Tennessee is well known for its fantastic recreational activities including fishing and boating, as well as its close proximity to several historical sites. The Pickwick Landing State Park and surrounding areas have a rich history and much to offer for history buffs and lovers of the outdoors.

History of Pickwick

The Pickwick area can trace its name back to a post office that was named Pickwick in 1883 after a Charles Dickens story titled The Pickwick Papers. The area was surveyed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and chosen as the site of a new dam as part of the New Deal enacted by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Pickwick Dam was intended to improve flood control and river navigation as well as provide affordable electricity, employment for local residents, and recreational opportunities. The construction of the dam itself was completed in 1938, and the nearby Pickwick Village was transferred from the ownership of the Tennessee Valley Authority to the State of Tennessee in 1969 to allow for the creation of Pickwick Landing State Park.

Pickwick Landing State Park
Today, Pickwick Landing State Park includes over 1,500 acres of land and an abundance of wildlife perfect for fishing and birdwatching. Visitors to the park will find comfortable lodging at the Pickwick Inn. The inn offers incredible views of the lake from each guest room, shuttle rides to the nearby marina, and a full-service in-house restaurant called The Captain’s Galley. The restaurant is open seven days a week serving three meals per day and offers updated Southern Cuisine options, wine, dessert, and a buffet. Guests who desire more privacy may choose to stay in one of the ten nearby cabins. A stay in one of these cabins allows guests access to the inn’s private swimming pool and tennis courts.

Pickwick Recreation

The Pickwick area is an excellent location for fishing during all seasons. The city of Savannah located just a few miles upriver is even known as the Catfish Capital of the World. Pickwick hosts the annual Catfish World Championship Fishing Tournament and the Sauger Fishing Tournament. Any outdoorsmen looking to do some Pickwick Dam catfishing are encouraged to check online for a Pickwick Dam fishing report to ensure a successful day of sport.

For lovers of the outdoors, there are two main campgrounds available for Pickwick visitors including the Pickwick Landing campground and the Bruton Branch campground. Together, they provide 81 camping sites open year-round. Pickwick also offers over two miles of public beaches including Circle Beach, Sandy Beach, and Bruton Branch to accommodate swimmers on both sides of the lake. Hikers of all levels may choose between two hiking trails spanning 2.8 and 1.2 miles with both natural and paved surfaces.

If outdoor sports are what you’re after, Pickwick contains both traditional golf courses and disc golf courses perfect for players of all ages and skill sets. The Tennessee Golf Trail includes nine golf courses offering a variety of obstacles and scenery. Disc golf courses can be found at Pickwick Plantation and near the inn at Pickwick Landing State Park.

Watercraft enthusiasts have a multitude of options for boat rentals and docking. Marinas can be found at Pickwick Landing State Park and the Grand Harbor resort, both of which include boat rentals and shops selling outdoor necessities and Pickwick themed souvenirs. The Bruton Branch campground includes a boat ramp for campers looking to spend some time out on the lake.


Just 15 minutes from Pickwick Dam TN is the Shiloh National Military Park. The park encompasses 5,000 acres of land and offers ample opportunity for sightseeing and education. The visitor center displays artifacts from the Civil War and offers regularly scheduled viewings of an educational film about the Battle of Shiloh. Located on the park grounds are monuments, a United States National Cemetary, the Shiloh Indian Mounds, and even a nesting pair of Bald Eagles. Tours and demonstrations are seasonally led by Shiloh’s park rangers free of charge.


Another attraction near Pickwick Dam is the city of Savannah. Located in Savannah are Cherry Mansion and the Tennessee River Museum. The museum is open year-round and includes exhibits ranging from ancient fossils to Civil War artifacts. Cherry Mansion is best known as the headquarters of Ulysses S. Grant around the time of the Battle of Shiloh. It’s even said that Grant was seated for breakfast in the home when he received word that the battle at Shiloh had begun. Years later, the home was the workplace of Alex Haley’s grandparents Queen and Alex Haley.