Nantahala Lake

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Nantahala Lake
Location Macon County, North Carolina
Coordinates 35°11′58″N 83°39′08″W / 35.19944°N 83.65222°W / 35.19944; -83.65222Coordinates: 35°11′58″N 83°39′08″W / 35.19944°N 83.65222°W / 35.19944; -83.65222
Type Reservoir
Basin countries United States
Built 1942
Shore length1 42 mi (68 km)
Surface elevation 3,035 ft (925 m)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Nantahala /næntʌˈhlʌ/[1] 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.[2] Nantahala is located at 3,000 feet (910 m) 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; aficionados will find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, salmon, catfish, and many different species of panfish. The lake water is very clear; there is almost no dissolved silt/clay. However, when daytime waves stir up the lake bed along the shoreline, the water within the first several feet of shore can become temporarily cloudy. Most of the shoreline plummets steeply into and beneath the water, limiting this effect.[3]

Water usage[edit]

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.


  1. ^ Talk Like A Tarheel, from the North Carolina Collection's website at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  2. ^ "Lake in Macon County - Western North Carolina Mountains". Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  3. ^ "Lake Nantahala, NC". Retrieved 2012-05-03.