TVA’s dams make certain that the Tennessee Valley is ready to deal with whatever April showers may come. And three of its most remarkable dams are kicking off the month by opening the doors of staffed visitors centers, which illuminate the agency’s history, offer information about how TVA operates its electric system and explain how the river and its tributaries are managed for multiple public benefits—including flood control.The dams opening visitor center doors on April 1 are:
TVA’s Tallest Dam
Fontana Dam, near Bryson City, N.C., towers 480 feet high, and is the tallest dam east of the Mississippi River.
The dam itself forms part of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches 2,190 miles through 14 states along the eastern U.S., from northern Georgia to mid-Maine.
Find this staffed visitor center (pictured above) off N.C. Highway 28 near the Tennessee border. It’s open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily April through August, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. September and October.
TVA’s First Dam
Historic Norris Dam, the first built by TVA as part of its Unified Development of the Tennessee River plan, was completed in 1936. The same-named planned community that supported the families of dam workers still thrives today in East Tennessee.
Find this staffed visitor center north of Knoxville off Interstate 75, Exit 122. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April through November
TVA’s Longest Dam
At more than 8,800 feet, Kentucky Dam is by far TVA’s longest—and it forms the largest reservoir in the eastern United States, stretching 184 miles through West Tennessee and Kentucky.
Find this staffed visitor center off U.S. Highway 62 east coming from Paducah, Ky., or west from Clarksville, Tenn. It’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April through October.
Other Visitor Centers
Raccoon Mountain/Laurel Point
Located off Raccoon Mountain Rd. near U.S. Highway 64/72 west of Chattanooga, this staffed visitor center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through October, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern November through March.
South Holston Dam
Located on South View Dam Dr. in Bristol, Tenn., the unstaffed visitor center is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. April through October, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March.
Fort Patrick Henry Dam
Located off Interstate 81, Exit 59, the unstaffed visitor center is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. April through October, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March.
Located off Reservation Rd. in Muscle Shoals, Ala., the unstaffed visitor center is open 24/7 year-round.
Located off Snow Point Rd. (CR-50) near Guntersville, Ala., the unstaffed visitor center is open 24/7 year-round.
The centers close for major holidays and in times of severe weather. TVA’s website frequently posts closure information.