Fontana Lake, NC

Does anyone have any suggestions about put-ins at Fontana Lake, NC. I am looking to paddle with my wife and kids some weekend in October. Any recommendations about motels? Last year the lake level was low so we went to Claytor Lake, VA. I cannot find the level on the TVA website for Fontana. Anyone been recently? Thanks.

It’s still very low. Consider Lake
Calderwood as an alternative. You can access it from a power company campground on hwy 129. Calderwood does not get drawn down the way Fontana does, and Calderwood has relatively little powerboat traffic. There are no lakeside developments and the lake has a steep and narrow character.

2nd Calderwood. Fontana Village
has a range of accomodations from motel rooms to condos to flea bag duplexes(my favorite).It is 10-15 minutes from Calderwood.

Just looked at a map
and saw that Lake Santeetlah is also nearby. Has anyone paddled here recently. Places2Pladdle lists reviews that are no more recent than 3 years ago. Keep the suggestions coming. Thanks.

Santeetlah has a lot of houses;
Calderwood has none. Just upstream from Calderwood is Cheoah with no houses,but a highway is next to it.

You can launch at Fontana Marina,at Fontana Village, in the lowest water and enjoy that end of the lake.

If you call FV , they can tell you about the lake conditions.

I hope you don’t mind, but I looked at
your profile and noticed that you are from “the western piedmont”.

Have you ever paddled Lake James?

It has seventies miles of shore line, and the whole northern end is owned by the state and has no houses.

It has nice clear water, and the views of Table Rock, Hawkes Bill and the Blue Ridge are great.

If it interests you, let me know and I’ll e-mail you or post here with some good launch areas and trips.

I am not sure about resorts, but when we go down to paddle today, I’ll keep a watch for some on the drive there.



I live and paddle on fontana
The lake is somewhat lower than summer, but it’s still a great paddle. Depends on how far your wanting to go. Hazel Creek is a great destination…put in at Cable Cove off of hwy 28…go straight across the lake and turn right on the otherside of the point. The point is straight out from the boat launch. It’s about a 4 mile paddle to Hazel. Also, put in at Tsali and you can paddle until your tired. Hazel is about 15 miles from there. Use a map…google earth is good to see what your planning. Plenty of camping.

The lower water levels really don’t affect me when I paddle…still very enjoyable. I actually see more wildlife when it’s down some. Turkey…wild boar…bear.

accessibility is more a concern than
water level. My wife is not very steady on her feet and a long walk from the car to her kayak is something we try to avoid. Smooth ground and paved ramps always work best. Even getting in from a dock is ok as long as the dock is not more than 18 inches above water.

Lake Jocasse
is another alternative–easy access, beautiful lake, some motor boat traffic but not crowded, lots of waterfalls…

I second the Jocassee
If you get the chance…head to Jocassee. It’s probably one of the most scenic lakes around, including western NC and SC.

BTW, Fontana has easy launch spots…Tsali, Cable Cove and Almond all have boat launch ramps and easy access.

If you want to see a Jocassee
waterfall, you have to hike a couple hundred feet in sand. The lake is way down;you can still access it from the ramps though.

Thanks for all the great suggestions…
we have about 3 to 4 weeks to plan this. It will be plenty of time to research these suggestions. Hopefully, I will post a commentary about our paddle so you know your suggestions went to good use.

Santeetlah is great
Santeetlah is a great paddle - you can stay out of the boat traffic and away from the houses if you saty on the lower half of the lake. Tons of great camping spots too. I plan on going back out there in october for an over night trip. I was out there in June, and the boats were only a small issue up by town, the rest of the lake was fantastic.

Calderwood is good, not much camping, water has been too high lately to go thru the tunnel though.

Piedmont Paddling
There is also Badin Lake which was down on water during the summer but is back to nearly normal - we were there a week ago and it was lovely and quiet and serene!

Part of Uhwarrie National Forest, there is a free launch ramp between Arrowwood Campground and Badin Campground with superb facilities for those who have any mobility problems. Badin CG is a wonderful place during the week mostly because it is all yours! We are headed there this Sunday for a few days…

Steav & Ketu