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South Holston Dam, Bristol

(4.5/5 based on 65 reviews on the web)
South Holston Dam is a hydroelectric and flood control dam on the South Fork Holston River in Sullivan County, in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is the uppermost of three dams on the South Fork Holston owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which built the dam in the 1940s as part of efforts to control flooding in the Tennessee River watershed. On October 21, 1950 the valve gate closed and water began backing up to create South Holston Reservoir. Work began on the dam in December 1941, but in November 1942, the War Production Board requested that the operation be suspended because of a shortage of critical materials. Work did not resume until July 1, 1947. The dam now impounds the South Holston Lake of, which extends northeastward across the Tennessee-Virginia state line.LocationSouth Holston Dam is located 50mi above the South Fork Holston River's confluence with the North Fork Holston River (which forms the Holston River proper). The dam site is situated in an area where the river descends out of the Appalachian Mountains and enters the upper Holston Valley. The dam and the Tennessee half of its reservoir are surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest, and the Virginia half of the reservoir is surrounded by the Jefferson National Forest. The reservoir includes parts of Sullivan County in Tennessee and Washington County in Virginia. The city of Bristol straddles the Tennessee-Virginia border a few miles northwest of South Holston Dam.
Use our Bristol tourist route planner to visit South Holston Dam on your trip to Bristol, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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  • I have taken my motorcycle there multiple times. Very cool place to be in the summer time and fall is nice with lots of natural beauty from the trees. 
  • This is a beautiful location for a walk, a picnic, birding, or wetting a hook. Nice walking trail 1-1.5 miles. Several fly fishermen trying their luck. We saw several nice trout from above while cross...  more »
  • Not being a local the roads were a little hard to navigate and the water was way down. Other than that it was very beautiful. It seemed very busy for this time of year so It must be a popular spot wit...  more »
  • Beautiful secluded lake surrounded by wonderful mountainous terrain. Many free camping areas accessible by boat.
  • I was at the dam a few days ago for the first time in a long time an i was shocked in the condition I grew up near there an my dad was a maintance man working there for years in those days if was emaculate an dad was proud of the job he did now it is grown up and dirty i know that funding was taken from parks etc but tva owns an operates the dams and make millions from the electricity if looks like some could be used to maintain the dams better dad if he were alive would be heartbroken over this i was heartbroken seeing a neighborhood landmark in this condition