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Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant

photo of raccoon mountain reservoir

The Raccoon Mountain project is TVA’s largest hydroelectric facility. Water is pumped to the reservoir on top of the mountain and then used to generate electricity when additional power is needed by the TVA system.

Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant is located in southeast Tennessee on a site that overlooks the Tennessee River near Chattanooga.

The plant works like a large storage battery. During periods of low demand, water is pumped from Nickajack Reservoir at the base of the mountain to the reservoir built at the top. It takes 28 hours to fill the upper reservoir. When demand is high, water is released via a tunnel drilled through the center of the mountain to drive generators in the mountain’s underground power plant.

The area around Raccoon Mountain is a state-designated Wildlife Observation Area. The mountaintop is home to whitetail deer, woodchucks, gray foxes, and, of course, raccoons. 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.

The Raccoon Mountain Visitor Center

Located off Raccoon Mountain Road near U.S. Highway 64/72 west of Chattanooga, Tenn., the Raccoon Mountain visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round except major holidays. Newly refurbished and staffed by TVA retirees, the visitor center has maps, displays and videos depicting the history of TVA and construction of the facility. Tours of the power plant itself are no longer available.

Time-lapse Raccoon Mountain Unit 3 disassembly

Time-lapse video of the 81 days of disassembly and 30,000 man hours for Unit 3 maintenance at TVA's Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage facility near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

More information on Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant

Recreation facilities

Raccoon Mountain Brochure

Download a color brochure with pictures of Raccoon Mountain and information about the site (PDF, 238 kb).

Directions to Raccoon Mountain

From Chattanooga, Tenn., go west on Interstate 24 to exit 175 (Browns Ferry Road). Turn right on Browns Ferry Road toward Lookout Mountain. After about 0.9 miles, turn left on Elder Mountain Road. Go about 1.8 miles and turn left on TVA Access Road. Continue about 1.2 miles to the visitor center. Total driving distance from Chattanooga is about 8 miles. Estimated driving time is about 20 minutes.

           
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