Lake Allatoona

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Lake Allatoona
Red Top Mountain State Park, November 2015.jpg
Location Georgia, United States
Coordinates 34°8′18″N 84°38′38″W / 34.13833°N 84.64389°W / 34.13833; -84.64389Coordinates: 34°8′18″N 84°38′38″W / 34.13833°N 84.64389°W / 34.13833; -84.64389
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Etowah River, Allatoona Creek, Little River, Noonday Creek
Primary outflows Etowah River
Basin countries United States
Surface area 12,010 acres (48.6 km2)
Max. depth 44.196 metres (145.00 ft)
Water volume 367,500 acre⋅ft (0.4533 km3)
Surface elevation 840 feet (260 m)
Islands Seven Islands
Settlements Cartersville, Emerson, Canton, and Acworth
Allatoona Dam and Lake

Lake Allatoona (rarely called Allatoona Lake, its government name) is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir in Georgia, located in northwestern metro Atlanta. The lake is mostly in southeastern Bartow County and southwestern Cherokee County. A small portion is located in Cobb County near Acworth. Cartersville is the nearest large city to Allatoona Dam. Red Top Mountain State Park is located on its shores, on the peninsula between the Etowah and Allatoona arms of the lake. Most of the north side of the lake remains protected from land development because of its isolated location, mostly blocked by the lake.


Allatoona serves seven authorized purposes:

  1. Flood Control
  2. Hydropower generation
  3. Water supply
  4. Recreation
  5. Fish and wildlife management
  6. Water quality
  7. Navigation

There are several private marinas and public boat ramps.

Allatoona also supplies much of the drinking water for the three counties it is in. The lake is supplied mostly by the Etowah River, and its major tributary the Little River (which joins the lake at Bell's Ferry), and in turn Noonday Creek. The other major arm of the lake is Allatoona Creek, extending down to Acworth, where pre-existing Lake Acworth now empties directly into Allatoona at Lake Acworth Drive (Georgia 92). Other significant streams include Kellogg Creek and Rose Creek.

The Allatoona Dam holding back the lake was completed in 1949 on the Etowah, which in turn merges into the Coosa River downstream (northwest) at Rome. The basin upstream (mostly northeast) of Allatoona covers about 1,100 square miles (2,850 km2). This is nearly as large as the basin of Lake Lanier (Atlanta's biggest water source), but since the Allatoona is smaller, it drains and fills more rapidly than Lanier during droughts and floods.

The lake's summer level has averaged 840 feet (256 m) above mean sea level. During major droughts it has dropped as much as 13 feet (4 m) below this, exposing old tree stumps and former hills which are normally submerged at depth safe for navigating boats. Its maximum capacity or flood stage is +23 feet (7 m) [863 feet (263 m) AMSL], though it has never been known to reach this level, and flooding of boat ramps and other lakeside facilities begins to occur well below it.[citation needed][1]


Allatoona Pass was the site of an intensive 8-hour battle during the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War in June 1864. More than 1,500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or missing.

The lake was authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1941 and 1946. The creekside town of Allatoona was destroyed by the creation of the lake. Several roads were also severed or rerouted, including Acworth Dallas Highway.

The general contractor for construction of Allatoona Dam was National Constructor Inc. The total cost of the Allatoona project for construction, land, clearing, and relocation was $31,500,000 in 1950.

The record high water on Allatoona of 861.19 feet (262.49 m) occurred on April 9, 1964.

Visitors to Allatoona spent more than $12 million for consumable goods in 1999.

The Corps collected more than $1 million in camping and day use fees in 2006.

From 1950 through 2006, 281 drownings have occurred in Allatoona.

The power plant began operation January 31, 1950. Since 1957 the summer pool elevation has been 840 feet (256 m) AMSL. Since 1957 the winter draw-down has been 823 feet (251 m) AMSL. Two municipalities withdraw water from the lake. The city of Cartersville uses 12,000,000 US gallons per day (45,000 m3/d). Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority uses 43,000,000 US gallons per day (160,000 m3/d).

During the late 1980s there was a prolonged drought. The peak of the drought in 1986[2] exposed vast portions of the lake bed revealing tree stumps, roads, and foundations of houses (Wilson's farm). Grass grew in some places and children were seen to mow the grass and play baseball on the newfound vacant lots.

In 1998 Allatoona clocked 86,813,126 hours, which were more visitor hours than any of the other 450 Corps of Engineer projects in the United States, and exceeded that in 2006 with more than 92 million visitor hours.

  • The presence of Allatoona Dam has prevented nearly $80 million in flood damages since 1950.



There are eight privately operated marinas that provide fuel, storage, boat repairs, rentals, supplies, and/ or other boater's needs.[citation needed]

There are also two yacht-clubs, one off Kellogg Creek Road towards the middle of the lake and the other off Red Top Mountain State Park Rd.[citation needed]

Boat ramps[edit]

The Corps of Engineers provides fifteen public boat ramps throughout the lake area located in three counties: Cobb, Cherokee and Bartow. These are used for water sports, water park area, paddle boating, picnic place, for the south-western part of the lake. Parking is provided.


Camping: The Corps of Engineers operates several campgrounds and campsites on the Lake Allatoona area.[3]

Hunting: All hunting seasons are set by the appropriate state or local governing authority. State hunting licenses are required at all areas open to hunting on the Corps of Engineers property. Georgia may require an additional stamp for hunting in WMA's (Wildlife Management Areas).


External links[edit]