The most scenic Tennessee river watershed, Watauga River gorge beckons water enthusiasts and nature lovers to the mountains. Fed by the Watauga River, Elk River, Roan Creek, and pure mountain springs Watauga Lake is the third cleanest lake in America - great for fishing. At 1960 feet above sea level, it is the highest lake in the TVA system. In an area notorious for whitewater rafting, this 6400 acre lake is 19 miles long with 106 miles of shoreline. Most of this is undeveloped as 80% is in the Cherokee National Forest thus public land. Serious kayakers can navigate class IV rapids on the Watauga River and end up right at our dock, or on the Elk River and end up at the Elk River cabin or continue on to the lake. Watauga Lake allows visitors to slow down and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Cherokee National Forest, where the Appalachian Blue Ridge Mountains meet the Smoky Mountains. The Appalachian Trail crosses the Watauga Dam, a portion of its trek to connect Georgia to Maine. We believe this is the most beautiful part of the country if not the world!
Cherokee National Forest
The Cherokee National Forest surrounds 80% of the Watauga Reservoir and borders the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Covering over 630,000 acres, Tennessee's only national forest is the state's largest tract of public land. Open all year round - discover 30 picnic areas, 700 miles of trail, seven white water rivers and hundreds of miles of cold water trout streams. The rugged Cherokee National Forest mountain backcountry is densely wooded with diverse vegetation and abundant wildlife.
Watauga Lake is located northwest of Boone, NC - east of Elizabethton and southwest of Mountain City, Tennessee. Hike the Appalachian Trail across the Watauga Dam, which was started in 1942, halted by WWII and finally completed in 1948. Below the dam is a wildlife observation area where you can observe unique species of waterfowl. Operated for hydroelectric power generation, flood control, water quality and aquatic ecology, there is a second dam three miles below the Watauga creating the Wilbur Reservoir. The Wilbur Dam was started in 1909 and completed in 1912, the first hydroelectric dam in Tennessee. It was constructed by the former Tennessee Electric Power Company that was later bought out by the TVA in the late 1930's.
A Short Drive from Boone, North Carolina
Just 25 minutes from Boone, North Carolina and two miles from the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, our lake cabins are conveniently located near Ski Beech, Sugar Mountain, Boone, Banner Elk, Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain, Linville, Valle Crucis, Mountain City and Roan Mountain. Once at our cabins, you can jet ski, sail, scuba dive through the underwater Butler, picnic or just relax by the water's edge. Feel free to use our complimentary canoes explore.