The Joe Wheeler State Park

The Joe Wheeler State Park is located on the beautiful Wheeler Lake, which is a whopping 69,000 acres surrounded by nature.

It is in the northern part of the state, about 50 miles west of Huntsville.

It is named after the Civile War general “Fighting’ Joe” Wheeler, who both lived as well as fought in the area.

The park sets on over 2,500 acres and is surrounded by both beauty as well as serenity.

The park is divided by the Tennessee River, which forms the Lake, and is very popular with fishermen of all skill levels, as well as its natural beauty.

In fact, it is so popular that it has been inducted into the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame and the Certificate of Excellence, five years in a row.

It was acquired from the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1949, and in 1973 to 1974 there was a major investment made to improve the park.

The Makeup of the Joe Wheeler State Park

Boat Docks at the ParkBoat Docks at the Park

Joe Wheeler State Park features three distinct areas that are located on both sides of the Tennessee River.

The main area, which is located near Rogersville in Lauderdale County, includes facilities with large rooms that can seat up to 500 people.

There is also a waterfront lodge and restaurant that overlook the marina, which is fully stocked with both fishing supplies and groceries.

The second area, which is located just east on the Elk River, has a group lodge that can hold over 30 people.

The third area is south of the Tennessee River close to the Wheeler Dam and has rustic cabins and a recreational area.

The Things to do and Places to Stay at Joe Wheeler State Park

Lake View at the Joe Wheeler State ParkLake View at the Joe Wheeler State Park

There are five major things to do at the Joe Wheeler State Park for you and your family to enjoy, and here are the first three.

  • Fishing
  • Cabins and Cottages
  • Golf


Leading the list of things to do at the Joe Wheeler State Park is fishing, and there are venues for the amateur, Pro, as well as the bank fisherman.

The lake as this beautiful park is close to the Dam, and because of that, the tailwaters below it are very deep and there are gorgeous rock bluffs surrounding it.

Both the First Creek and Second Creek offer anglers excellent largemouth fishing, as well as catfish, crappie, bream ad stripe.

The Decatur “flats” are renowned for bigmouth and milfoil, a plant that provides habitat for fish as well as a source of food.

The striped bass include the white bass, hybrid stiped, as well as saltwater strip also known as “rock fish”.

The bream is very popular with bank fishermen, and a record smallmouth was recently caught in the tailwaters below the dam.

Picnic Area at the ParkPicnic Area at the Park

Cabins and Cottages

The Joe Wheeler State Park has an area known as the Wheeler Dam Village and used to be a construction camp during the building of the Dam.

During the construction in 1935, it had employee housing and accommodated more than 1,000 workers.

The brick cabins located there were built by the Tennessee Valley Authority during the construction of the Dam and were occupied by the construction executives and plant operators.

The wood frame cabins were built for the workers and their families and were meant to last only 2-3 years.

However, they are still standing to this day.

These wood cabins are located by the Dam, and there is a boat launch for Wheeler Lake as well as Wilson Lake.

The brick cabins are located on a bluff, and most have working fireplaces as well as central heating and cooling.

These have been completely updated and are available to the public to rent for a nominal fee.

There are 10 lakeside cottages that are located at the mouth of Frist Creek and have amazing view of Wheeler Lake.

There are two and three bedrooms, and have all the modern amenities including central air, fireplaces, a stove, fridge, and microwave.


The last of the first three things to do Joe Wheeler State Park is golf, and there is an 18-hole Championship Golf Course.

It rests in rolling hills that tie in with the river and is located inside a game sanctuary.

Because of this, the wildlife is all around you, and you can see deer and bluebirds every day.

The Second List of Things to Do at The Joe Wheeler State Park

Deer on The Hiking Trails at the Joe Wheeler State ParkDeer on The Hiking Trails at the Joe Wheeler State Park

Here is the second list of things to do at The Joe Wheeler State Park.

  • Boat Rentals
  • Hiking Trails

Boat Rentals

There are several different types of Boat Rentals for you and your family to choose from at this natural beauty.

They include Pontoon boats that are large enough for several people, as well as kayak rentals.

There are also Paddle Boat rentals which have no motors, where you can enjoy the quiet sound of the water and nature, and fishing boats are also available.

Hiking Trails

There are numerous hiking trails at the park, and they range from one-third of a mile to 3 miles in length.

They include the Champion Trail, the Wheeler River Trail, the Day Use, as well as the Awesome Trail.

There is also the Jimmy Sims’ Birding, the Multi-Use Trail, the Campground Trail, and the Shellcracker Slough Loop Trail.

If you take any of these trails, be on full alert, as you will most likely see deer as well as other smaller wildlife.

If you and your family are in the northern part of the state or visiting there, the Joe Wheeler State Park is a must-see visit.


Joe Wheeler State Park | Encyclopedia of Alabama

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