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.

Fontana Lake Marinas, Boat Rentals and
Boating Activities in the Smoky Mountains

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Fontana Marina

300 Woods Rd.
Fontana Dam, NC 28733
Phone 828-498-2129
Fontana Marina Fontana Marina offers a full line of services for the enjoyment of Fontana Lake including watercraft rentals, free boat launch, a ship store, fishing tackle and license, lake tours and more. Shuttle services by pontoon boat are available for backcountry enthusiasts wishing to explore the southern rim of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Alarka Boat Dock

Contact: Tony Sherrill
7230 Grassy Branch Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-3841
Located on Fontana Lake in Swain County NC, Alarka Boat Dock is a one stop source for boat/pontoon put-in, Fontana Lake History Tours, fishing guides, and boat or pontoon rentals. Dock-slips available for boats and pontoon storage. Fishing supplies, ice, bait, snacks, gas and oil, t-shirt and caps, also boat supplies.
Lake fishing and trout stream guides available upon request.

Smoky Mountain Jet Boats

Contact: Nick Williams
22 Needmore Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-0522
TF 888-900-9091
Fax 828-488-0522
Smoky Mountain Jet Boats Enjoy a thrilling, scenic ride on Fontana Lake in our 11-passenger jetboat! On the water 40 minutes; allow 1 hour total. Our combination hike and jetboat ride trips include guided hike, picnic lunch, time for swimming and jetboat ride. Allow 4 hours. A 6-8 hour Adventure in the Park includes a swim and snacks, an extreme hike and jetboat ride. Reservations recommended; walk-ins welcome; group discounts; custom rides available.

Fontana Guide Service

Contact: Kyle Fronrath
3336 Balltown Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713
Mobile 828-736-2318
Fontana Guide Service Be our guest on beautiful Fontana Lake. Relax and enjoy breath taking views, sunsets, waterfalls, rivers and wildlife from our spacious pontoon boat. Choose a half or full day trip of any kind, or customize your own. Fishing, Sightseeing, sunset, swimming, & Fall leaf trips available. Great for birthday parties, corporate groups, honeymooners, & families. We have something for every budget. Dogs welcome! HD photos & videos of your trip available upon request. Let us guide you on your one-of-a-kind Fontana Lake experience.

Almond Boat & RV Park

Contact: Jim & Jo Mathis
1165 Almond Boat Park Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-6423
Fax 828-488-8175
Lakeside cottages, one & two bedroom. Each with complete kitchen with cooking utensils and table service for six. Sofa bed in the living quarters will sleep one adult or two small children. Electric heat, air conditioning, private front porch facing the lake. Bedding and linens are furnished. Towels are changed daily and clean linens offered every fourth day. Fishing boat and pontoon rentals available.

Public Boat Access Areas

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.

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.


Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce
& Visitor Center

210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713


Karen Proctor Wilmot
Executive Director

800-867-9246 toll-free
828-488-3681 local
828-488-6858 fax