Hidden flatwater gems of Southern Appalachia?

Because not all of us live by the BWCA, right?

I live north of Asheville, close by the Appalachian Trail. There are obvious flatwater destinations nearby – Lake Lure, Lake Fontana. But I want to locate smaller, less-visited waters tucked up in the mountains of East Tennessee, Western NC and Southwest Virginia, perhaps even NW Georgia. I am guessing that East Tennessee will have more to offer, given the TVA dams. Edumacate me, please.


Hopefully you have been to Jocassee/ Devil’s Fork State Park in upstate SC.

I’ll be in that area myself from this spring on and I’ve compiled a list to check out, from the Interwebs, books etc. These are mostly in NC, plus a bit of SC and mostly within 1-2 hours of Asheville. No guarantees on most of them, they’re just “for further research”, so, I’ll also be very interested in gems a little further afield.

Lake Santeetlah
Price Lake
Calderwood Lake
Bear Creek lake
Cheoah Lake
Lake James
Lake Junaluska
Lake Lure
New River State Park
Calderwood Lake

Makes a nice day trip.

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Ive enjoyed Cheoah and Calderwood but Calderwood is my favorite. The highway follows Cheoah and is often busy and loud. Motorcycles love it.
Calderwood is mostly down in a valley. It is a popular lake for ww boaters near the upper dam and the parking lot can get very crowded.

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My interest runs to photography and printmaking. My ideal paddle would be a snug tight place with more vertical scenery so down in a valley sounds right. I have scans of some of my landscapes online at www.xynk.org if you care to see the kinds of places that catch my eye.

Calderwood should do it. One short arm of it goes into the Joyce Kilmer forest. I paddled it one fall with the leaves falling. Unforgettable and I wasn’t photographer enough to capture it.