Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant
Site Directions: From Chattanooga, take I-24 W; take exit #174 (Hwy 41) and turn right; travel 2.5 miles on Hwy 41 and turn right at pumped storage plant sign. Travel 8.2 miles, following signs to the visitor center.
Lat: 35.04678°N Long: -85.3986°W
Hours: 9 am- 5 pm daily, except major holidays (see TVA link below)
Seasonality: year round
Site Description: This site is a monument to Tennessee Valley Authority engineering.
Water is pumped from the Tennessee River into a 528-acre man-made lake atop the mountain, where it is gravity-fed to turbines within the mountain to generate electricity.
A tour of the facilities is available by taking an elevator deep underground. From the mountaintop visitor center, an observation deck provides a panoramic view of the beautiful Tennessee River Gorge.
The area around Raccoon Mountain is a state-designated Wildlife Observation Area.
Miles of hiking trails loop around the lake provide quite a nice hike, although they are also mountain biking trails so watch for bikers.
Visitors might see migrating hawks, falcons, and eagles in spring and fall.
The most compelling wildlife attraction of the area is a large wintering population of Bald Eagles, which can be sighted from the overlook as they hunt in the woods and waters.