TRAVEL GUIDE TO BRYSON CITY AND THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS
Places to visit IN THE SMOKIES
Fontana Lake Has Been Called The Best-kept Secret In the Mountains
The 29-mile long, 11,700-acre Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) lake has more than 240 miles of shoreline. And its deep, cold waters provide the ideal habitat for a variety of fish. In fact, record size muskie and walleye have been pulled from its depths. And many believe it’s one of the best smallmouth bass fishing lakes in the country, including the Fisherman’s Bass Tournament Circuit, which held its annual Hall of Fame Classic at Fontana in Fall 2001.
Fontana Lake is unique in many ways. Unlike most lakes in the area, shoreline development has been kept to a minimum. More than 90 percent of the land around the Lake is owned by either the National Park Service or the US Forest Service. Maps of the Lake are available at local fishing stores.
Fontana Lake provides a number of recreational diversions including fishing, boating and water skiing. And the scenery from the lake is unmatched. Those fortunate enough to go boating on Fontana Lake have a unique perspective of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At places the view is unobstructed from the lake level to the top of towering Clingmans Dome, the Park's highest peak.
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Old 288 – From Bryson City. Take US 19 S to turn at SR 1323 (Slope St.; begins at bridge by Kerr Drugs). Travel Slope St. .2 miles and turn left at the blinking light onto SR 1321 (Bryson Walk). Bryson Walk becomes Old 288. Travel 1.6 miles and turn left to follow the river continuing on Old 288 Travel .8 miles to the area at the end of the road.
There are picnic tables, restroom, covered pavillion and handicap fishing pier at this location.
Lemmons Branch – From Bryson City take US 19/74 West to NC 28 N (right turn towards Robbinsville). Follow NC 28 N about 3 miles to the site for the Tsali Recreation area. Turn right and follow signs to Lemmons Branch Boat Ramp.
Cable Cove – From Bryson City take US/74 West to NC 28 N (right turn ttowards Robbinsville). Continue on approximately 20 miles (8.2 past the 143 turnoff). Turn right onto SR 1287 (Cable Cove). Go 1.5 miles to the end of the road.
Flat Branch – From Bryson City take US 19 S to SR 1320. Turn right and go just .1 mile and turn right onto SR 1311 (Buckner Branch Road). Go 3.1 miles and turn right onto SR 1312 (Round Hill Rd.). Travel 2.8 miles and turn right onto SR 1313 (Greasy Branch Rd.). Travel 3.1 miles to area t the end of the road.
Lewellyn Branch – On Cheoah Lake, just below Fontana Dam. From Bryson City take US 19/74 West to NC 28 N (right turn towards Robbinsville). Follow NC 28N about 25 miles, crossing the Little Tennessee River just below Fontana Dam.
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Fontana Dam itself is an engineering marvel. When completed in November 1944 to produce electricity for the war effort, the 480-foot-high dam became the highest in the Eastern United States and the fourth highest in the nation. The story of its origin is effectively portrayed at the Fontana Dam Visitor Center (Open May to November, 9 am – 7 pm, daily).
Annual Drawdown — Because Fontana is a man-made lake (or reservoir), lake levels are controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Each September, TVA begins its annual draw-down, which lowers lake levels to allow for winter snows and spring rains. Sometimes in the winter you can even see remnants of home foundations from towns that were flooded when the lake was constructed.
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Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce
& Visitor Center
210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713
Karen Proctor Wilmot