Santeetlah, Fontana

My wife and I are going to be based out of Bryson City NC (first time) for about five days of lake/river kayak paddling in August. I’ve pulled some information from “Places-2-Paddle,” but we are looking for some good day trip info – good put in spots, interesting shoreline, special features, easy to reach islands, etc. – for Santeetlah, Fontana, or other water in that area. This is a non-whitewater, relaxing trip. Also, any personal experience advice or “what not to dos” will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any assistance.

The west end of Fontana , near the
dam, has few power boats and some good paddling destinations not far away. Put -in is the Fontana Resort Marina.

One of my favorite lakes is a few miles west of Fontana- Calderwood.Very narrow , pretty lake.

I spent a week paddling Fontana in May.

I put in at Cable Cove and basicly followed the wonderful, very informative article written by Johnny Molloy for Seakayaker magazine.

I also contacted Johnny ( ) and he was very helpful providing further info.

Across the lake from Cable Cove you can paddle Hazel Creek and/or Eagle Creek, both easy and wonderful destinations.

Camping on Eagle Creek definetely easier than Hazel Creek - no portage vs campsite 1 mile inland - but both very nice.

Paddled both …
a few times. Agree with what has been posted on Fontana. Santeetlah is an excellent day trip. Put in at the last ramp on the road to Joyce Kilmer forest. Little development on this end of the lake and a nice tumbling creek feeds the lake. Good fishing here too! Nice hiking in JK also!

Santeetlah, Fontana
Thank you for your information and taking the time to post. I’m sure our trip and paddling will be more enjoyable because of your assistance.


Both lakes mentioned are great lakes. In fact I will be at Santeelah this weekend. I’ve only done santeelah once, and used the dock at the south end of the lake. Nothing spectacular, just great quiet paddling. Dont forget to hike Joyce Kilmer forest while at Santeelah. Short easy hike with increible trees. Don’t forget other lakes, specifically Bear Creek and Eagle creek lakes past Sylva off of Hwy 281. The docks have signs leading to them but not by name. Bear Creek has an incredible water fall (Sol’s Creek Falls) that recently got no tresspassing signs posted by it. Its a shame, but I doubt many people will care if you check out the fall anyway. They are after the first 90 degree turn and strait ahead, then up a small steep trail.

have fun,