Nantahala Lake is located in Macon County, North Carolina in the western part of the state. The lake is regulated and maintained by Duke Power and is a major source of hydroelectric power to the region. (7) Nantahala is located at 3,000 feet in the Nantahala National Forest. The lake was created in 1942 by Nantahala Power to provide electricity for war efforts. With 42 miles (68 km) of shoreline, the lake offers recreational opportunities at Nantahala that include swimming, boating, skiing, and many other activities. Fishing is another popular activity at the lake. Fisherman target largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, salmon, catfish, and many different species of panfish (please see photo of Lake Nantahala below). (7)
" Fun at Nantahala Lake"
The Nantahala River, one of the nation's top rafting and kayaking destinations, is supplied with its water by Nantahala Lake. Water is released from the Nantahala Dam to create the whitewater rapids in the river. When the river is not being supplied, it is very calm but when the water is released from the lake it is considered 'on,' which is when kayaking and rafting occurs. Without Nantahala Lake, the region would lose its whitewater industry and a huge source of income. (7)
Beautiful Lake Chatuge is nestled between two states and the two towns of Hiawassee Georgia and Hayesville North Carolina. This pristine lake has 132 miles of shoreline and is ideal for fishing, swimming, boating and camping. The place "where the water dogs laughed," is how Cherokee legend described the Tusquitee area. A part of the Nantahala National Forest in Clay County, North Carolina., it is one of the most scenic lakes in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) water system. (8)
This pristine lake, exquisitely nestled between the Tusquitee Mountains named "the Great Blue Hills of God," by the Cherokee has 128 miles of shoreline and is ideal for fishing, swimming, boating and camping. Visitors enjoy casual walks along the dam with its spectacular view of the lake and surrounding mountains. The lake has numerous outcrops of land forming numerous private coves that are for great fishing, swimming, boating, and water sports. The fishing is great with more than 32 species in the lake (please see photo of Lake Chatuge above). (8)
The breathtaking Lake Glenville is a reservoir located just 8 miles from Cashiers, North Carolina or about a 45 minute ride from Franklin, NC. It was formed by the damming of the west fork of the Tuckasegee River in 1941. Between 1951 and 2002, it was officially known as "Thorpe Reservoir" after J. E. S. Thorpe, Nantahala Power's first president. It is still listed as such on many maps. The lake bottom plunges as steeply as the mountains that meet the shore. The depth a short distance from the waters edge may register 80 feet (24 m) or more. The lake also has 26 miles (42 km) of shoreline and the highest elevation of any lake east of the Mississippi (please see photo of Lake Glenville above). (9)
Fontana Lake is a reservoir impounded by Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee River located in Graham and Swain counties in North Carolina, which is about a 45 minute ride from Franklin, NC. The lake forms part of the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the northern border of part of the Nantahala National Forest. Depending on water levels, the lake is about 17 miles (27 km) long. The eastern end is the Tuckasegee River near Bryson City. The lake has many inlets into coves and many islands formed from former mountain peaks, especially near the eastern end. As with most dam-impounded lakes, the steep banks are exposed when water levels are low. Many towns were submerged shortly after the creation of Fontana Lake, such as Proctor and Judson (please see picture of Fontana Dam below). (10)
Short of a multi-day hike, Fontana Lake provides the only access into the most remote areas of the Smoky Mountain National Park. When the lake is at the normal summer level, a boat may be used to access remote trailheads such as Hazel Creek. From the observation tower on Clingmans Dome, on a clear day the lake can be seen nearly a mile below. While the maximum controlled elevation of the lake (top of dam gates) is 1,710 ft (520 m), the normal Summer surface elevation is 1,703 ft (519 m). NC 28 roughly parallels the southern shore of the lake and US 19 between Bryson City and Wesser/Lauada briefly skims an inlet at the extreme southeastern edge. (11)