watauga lake

planning to paddle (sea kayak) and wilderness camp on watauga lake - in october. anyone been there? recommendations for put-in, camp sites, portions of the lake to paddle, gotchas etc.


last time I overnighted on Wautaga
the water temp was 42F and we enjoyed 4-5 foot rollers coming out of the Little Milligan area…

i’ve probably logged over a 1000 miles on this lake…October is a spectacular time to paddle there…I suggest leaving your vehicle at Mallard Cove (used to be Hank’s Boat Dock) they (at that time) charged a little to watch you car while your out)…do a big loop heading out of their cove and down the left side of the lake and then crossing to the dam…then up the other side of the lake.

There is a big island that is ‘popular’ but big enough for several campers spread out…hammocks are idea for camping on this lake because as you will see the National Forest side is often steep and tent sites rare (excepting on the big island)…also of note, running along the ridge from the dam is the Appalachian Trail…

let me know what days you’ll be there. I live 35 minutes from Rat Branch and would like to meet you whether I can paddle or not…I’ve also left a car at the dam parking area (TVA police are active there 24 hours a day)…Wautaga can rock and roll so pay attention to the weather forecasts…I’ve seen (when windsurfing from Watauga Poit) a sailboat get its mast snapped in two…

I have paddled there four or five times
…but never overnighted.

The portions that I have paddled all seemed to have steep banks and I would think it would be hard to find a suitable tent site.

In October the colors should be beautiful.