Fontana Lake, North Carolina, USA

Also known as:  Fontana Reservoir

Fontana Lake, nestled in western North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains, was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to provide hydroelectric power to the surrounding area. It includes the tallest dam in the TVA system and the tallest dam in the eastern United Sates. Fontana Lake is often called one of the most beautiful mountain lakes on earth. It’s impossible to talk about Fontana Lake without mentioning Fontana Dam’s unique properties. – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Fontana Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Fontana Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Fontana Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Fontana Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Fontana Lake

Lake Locations: USA - South - North Carolina - Mountains -

Fontana Lake, nestled in western North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains, was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to provide hydroelectric power to the surrounding area. It includes the tallest dam in the TVA system and the tallest dam in the eastern United Sates. Fontana Lake is often called one of the most beautiful mountain lakes on earth.

It’s impossible to talk about Fontana Lake without mentioning Fontana Dam’s unique properties. An engineering marvel, the dam reaches skyward 480 feet and unlike many other dams, no water spills over the top. As the reservoir fills and nears capacity, water is let out through spillways at the base of the dam. Fontana Dam was built as the United States entered World War II, and served to generate power and produce aluminum that the country needed during the war. The dam stretches 2365 feet across the Little Tennessee River.

Clocking in at an impressive 10,230 acres, Fontana Lake offers visitors many recreational activities. With over 39 miles of winding hiking trails, this mountain lake provides you with stunning vistas and incredible photo opportunities. Additionally, the Appalachian Trail, extending more than 2,000 miles north-south from Georgia to Maine, passes over the top of Fontana Dam, so if you’d like to say you’ve walked the Appalachian Trail, Fontana Lake is the place to do it. The TVA maintains a trail shelter with hot showers, earning it the moniker Fontana Hilton by grateful hikers.

Fishing and hunting are two of Fontana Lake’s popular activities. Fontana Dam’s deep, cold waters provide an ideal habitat for many of the most-desirable fish species. The reservoir reaches a maximum depth of 440 feet with an average depth of 135 feet. As if to prove a point, the lake has produced several record-winning muskie and walleye from beneath its surface. In addition to that tempting information, many anglers say that Fontana Lake is one of the best smallmouth bass fishing lakes in the entire nation. The Fisherman’s Bass Tournament Circuit agrees: in 2001, they held their annual Hall of Fame Classic at Fontana Lake.

One of the lake’s unique boasting points is its unparalleled natural beauty. Surrounded by 238 miles of tree-dotted shoreline, Fontana Lake is protected from overdevelopment, as more than 90 percent of its shoreline is publicly owned by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. This ensures wildlife protection, water quality, and provides visitors with the opportunity to truly get back to nature.

If you are lucky enough to be at Fontana Lake and Dam, you must take a dip in the cool, clean waters. Swimming, tubing, boating, and water skiing are all enjoyable pastimes. Several private boat docks and marinas exist, where one can rent anything from a kayak to a large houseboat for the duration of your stay. If you’ve brought your own boat to the lake, take advantage of TVA’s public boat launch areas.

The TVA draws down lake levels in winter in preparation for heavy spring rains. The normal summer pool level is 1710 feet above sea level. Winter pool drawdown is about 50 feet. Water levels can decrease even further during drought. Because marinas and boat launch areas may close when water levels are low, it is best to check the water level before your visit.

Tsali Recreational Area, located along the southeastern shore of the lake, is known as a haven for nature lovers. Indulge your love of hiking, mountain biking, nature observation, bird watching, and horseback riding at this beautiful park. Named for the Cherokee leader who lost his life in an altercation with federal soldiers, Tsali Recreational Area is a must-visit during your Fontana Lake vacation.

If outdoor exertion isn’t your style, head north of the lake to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 800 square miles of national biological preserve await you, and offers some of the most spectacular scenic driving trails you will ever experience. Furthermore, this areas is also home to the Tail of the Dragon, an 11-mile stretch of winding highway well-known to be one of the best sports car and motorcycling roads in the country.

Fontana Lake is so full of natural beauty and fun activities that all family members will love a vacation there, so pack your bags and get going!

Things to Do at Fontana Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish Species Found at Fontana Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye

All About Fontana Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Fontana Lake

The Fontana Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Fontana Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Fontana Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Fontana Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Fontana Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Fontana Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Tennessee Valley Authority

Surface Area: 10,230 acres

Shoreline Length: 238 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,710 feet

Average Depth: 135 feet

Maximum Depth: 440 feet

Water Volume: 513,965 acre-feet

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Fontana Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Fontana Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Fontana Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Fontana Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Fontana Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Fontana Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Fontana Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Fontana Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Fontana Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Fontana Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Fontana Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Fontana Lake forum group? Click Here

New Fontana Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi