Nantahala National Forest


Chain Of Lakes
In the Nantahala National Forest, three picturesque reservoirs in beautiful mountain settings provide a playground for recreation enthusiasts. Hiwassee Lake (B-3), Chatuge Lake (E-4, 5), and Appalachia Lake (A-3) offer boating, waterskiing, fishing, and swimming opportunities, as well as a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature's wonders. The lakes are northwest of Murphy, along the Tusquitee River.

Hanging Dog Recreation Area
Located on Hiwassee Lake, this recreation area features a large campground, a picnic area, hiking trails, and a boat launching ramp. Hiwassee Lake has 180 miles of shoreline and is a popular place for fishing, boating, and waterskiing. Hiwassee is west of Murphy, between NC 294 and Forest Road 40.

Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area
This picturesque area is located on a pine-wooded peninsula surrounded by Chatuge Lake. It provides three camping loops with 100 camping sites, a swimming beach with shower facilities, hiking trails, two picnic areas, and a launching ramp for boating and fishing. The area is located between Hayesville and Shooting Creek off U.S. Highway 64.

Fires Creek
This area offers excellent trout fishing, picnicking, hiking, and camping opportunities. The 25-mile-long Rim Trail follows the ridge around Fires Creek and provides scenic vistas as it winds through several high-elevation bards. Huskins Branch Hunter Camp and Bristol Fields offer dispersed camping opportunities and Leatherwood Falls Picnic Area offers picnic sites near Leatherwood Falls and a handicapped trail along Fires Creek. The area is located northwest of Hayesville off Forest Road 442.

Tsali Recreation Area
Forty-one camping units with centrally located flush toilets and showers are located near Fontana Lake. Boat launching facilities are available adjacent to the campground, which also provides access to 18 miles of horseback/hiking trails. Nearby are the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala River, which has whitewater rafting opportunities. Cherokee, North Carolina, within 25 minutes driving time, has a museum and other Cherokee Indian attractions.

Horse Cove Campground Area
This campground has 17 units and is located beside a rushing mountain stream, Little Santeetlah Creek.

Cheoah Point Recreation Area
Located adjacent to Santeetlah Lake, this area has developed camping, picnicking, fishing, and boating facilities. Nearby, the Wauchecha Bald Trail provides access to the Appalachian Trail.

The Snowbird Area
This area of some 10,000 acres encompasses the headwaters of Big Snowbird Creek. Trout fishing, hunting, hiking, and primitive camping are favorites of visitors to this area. This was one of the last areas to be settled by white men in North Carolina. It was here, in 1836, that a number of Cherokee Indians fled to escape exile to Oklahoma over the "Trail of Tears."

Cable Cove Recreation Area
This area offers camping and hiking, with boating access on Fontana Lake. It is located four miles from Fontana Dam, the Appalachian Trail, and entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A one-mile loop nature trail identifies various trees, shrubs, and historical features for the visitor. This is a beautiful spot away from the crowds.

Rattler Ford Group Campground
This area has four units that will accommodate up to 50 people per unit. There are horseshoe pits, a volleyball court, and an area suitable for softball. A beautiful trout stream flows by the area and hiking trails are nearby. Reservations should be made at least three weeks in advance at the Cheoah Ranger Station.

Big Santeetlah Creek
A favorite with fishers, hunters, and primitive camping enthusiasts, this area is home to black bear, wild boar, grouse, wild turkey, and other small game.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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