Cove Lake’s 717 acres are situated in a beautiful mountain valley on the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau. Scenic nature trails lead through a diversity of wetlands and woodlands offering wildlife viewing for the nature enthusiast. A paved walking/bike trail provides easy access to all park facilities. Visitors can spend the day fishing or simply sitting back and capturing the picturesque vista Cove Lake offers.
In the 1920s, several groups began lobbying state and federal legislators for the construction of a dam at the confluence of the Clinch River and Cove Creek to control flooding and provide electricity to the area. The project was initially known as the Cove Creek Project, but after the Tennessee Valley Authority assumed control of the project in 1933, it became known as the Norris Project. The project was named for Nebraska senator George Norris, who had advocated the creation of TVA in the early 1930s. The construction of Norris Dam began in 1934 and the dam’s gates were closed in 1936, effectively creating the Norris Reservoir.
The Tennessee Valley Authority constructed Caryville Dam to protect the town of Caryville from the Norris Reservoir, which would extend for several miles up Cove Creek. Regardless, several of the town’s structures were condemned or moved, and two highways had to be rerouted. TVA planned Cove Lake State Park as one of the Norris Project’s three demonstration recreational areas, the other two being Norris Dam State Park and Big Ridge State Park along the main reservoir to the east.
Hiking is a popular activity within the park. It contains an 11-mile section of the Cumberland Trail and connects Cove Lake State Park with Tank Springs in LaFollette.
Cove Lake State Park is a popular wedding location because of the beautiful natural scenery. There is an indoor pavilion that can accommodate up to 130 people and is great for receptions and rehearsal dinners along with other gatherings.
The park has 106 campsites equipped with grills and picnic tables. There are also six large picnic pavilions available for rent.