Garner Lake Association

Lakeland, TN U.S.A.

Facts About Garner Lake

Garner Lake is a man-made lake, built in 1959 as the centerpiece of Lakeland Amusement Park, which operated until 1976. All notable lakes in Tennessee are man-made except Reelfoot, which was created by the major earthquakes of 1811-12. Garner Lake is the largest lake in Shelby County, TN. The lake area is 241 acres. Reports of the lake being 300+ acres are based on information which was misinterpreted from USGS maps (which officially list the lake as "Lakeland Lake") and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official survey. The number on the maps, 373, actually designates the area the lake would cover if it were filled to the top of the dam (a situation we never want to see). Some real estate listings still show incorrect numbers.


The lake is approximately one mile long and 1/2 mile wide at the dam. The shoreline is 8.44 miles. Depths range from 50 feet near the dam, to about 40 feet at mid-lake, to less than one foot in Osprey Cove at the south end of the lake. The average depth of the lake is 15 feet.


Garner Lake is fed by Scott's Creek, one of three major creeks in the City of Lakeland, and by runoff from the watershed. The total watershed (drainage area) is 777 acres according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake overflows into a continuation of Scott's Creek.

One inch of rain will raise the lake an average of 1.5 inches. Total annual rainfall is not as important as the timeliness of rain events to maintaining a "normal" lake level.


It costs about $100 per day, or about $3000 per month to run the pump.  Pumping for a day adds about one-eighth of an inch to the lake level. In summer this is approximately the typical daily evaporation amount. Winter daily evaporation is less.  Factors like cloud cover and relative humidity contribute to the variability of evaporation rates.


The lake occasionally freezes over for a brief period. This seems to be about a once-a-decade event on average. The lake was last frozen over in late December 2000 and early January 2001.  A large portion of the lake froze over in January 2014.


Surface to two-foot depth water temperatures in summertime range in the 80s to around 90.