Hammocking the Nantahala Way

Many an outdoor enthusiast has relaxed on a hammock by the lake or stargazed from a traditional rope hammock on a bright, cloudless night. But did you know that hammocking is also a fun way to camp? The simplicity and comfort of hammocks is lending popularity to their use in outdoor recreation, and countless people are switching from tents to hammocks.

Camping HammocksHammock

When you think of a hammock, you probably imagine a contraption of woven ropes and long wooden spacers hanging in someone’s backyard. But camping hammocks are more reminiscent of the woven hammocks many cultures traditionally used for sleeping. Camping hammocks are made from a variety of weatherproof materials, but all are woven and lacking the support rods that stretch hammocks into flat, easy-to-flip surfaces. Sling your outdoor hammock between two trees or use a freestanding support. Leave yourself a bit of slack so your body can relax into a curve. On rainy nights, pull a rope taut above your hammock and sling a tarp over the line to protect you from the elements.


Hammocks give better support than sleeping flat. Many doctors suggest patients with back troubles replace their mattresses with hammocks, and medical research shows that the gentle rocking motion promotes better rest. Regardless of whether you’re ready to trade in your TempurPedic for a good ol’ cloth hammock, it’s by far the most comfortable choice for outdoor sleeping. Hammocks provide better alignment and inflict less tension than sleeping on the ground. And during those sticky summer months, the suspension of the hammock allows nighttime breezes from Lake Nantahala to keep you cool as you sleep.


Hammocking is easier and less costly than traditional tent camping. Unlike tents, hammocks are easily transportable and can be strung nearly anywhere. They are easier to assemble and disassemble than tents, and at a fraction of the cost. You can enjoy all the amenities of traditional camping and savor the beauty of nature as you drift off to sleep.

You can hammock on your porch, nap in a hammock by the lake, or near those explorers sleeping on the hard ground. Camp as a family or enjoy the wonders of nature on your own. The possibilities are as endless as Nantahala and your taste for adventure.

Lake house ideas to make your home stand out

lake house

Go for a rustic design like this one, or modern and chic–Your lake house, your choice!

Reflections on Lake Nantahala offers the perfect location for your new lake house. With a great view of the lake, quick access to the water with the nearby marina and dock, and the perfect, tranquil mountain setting in North Carolina, you have everything you need around you to provide the perfect lake house setting. Now that you have the setting, it’s time to think about what’s going inside of your lake house and in the lake house design. Here are a few ideas we have to help make your new home even more spectacular:

Incorporate natural colors into your home.

Life at the lake is all about getting back into sync with a slower pace of life and nature, so surrounding yourself with natural hues will help add to the feeling. Go rustic with exposed woods and rich autumn shades inspired by the leaves around you in the fall. If you want a more modern and chic look, incorporate a country white wash or white space as well as shades that you’d see in the water, such as the deep blue or soft green that Lake Nantahala showcases from a distance.

Be smart with storage.

Built ins are a great way to add space and interest to your home without sacrificing any square footage. Consider adding book shelves under your stairs or cubbies in the bathroom for towels and toiletries. If you want to get really creative, consider a modern design such as these Murphy style bunk beds.

Add a touch of whimsy and personality.

The lake house is your retreat, whether you live at Lake Nantahala year-round or just come for regular visits. Let your home show off the same care-free spirit you want to have while you’re there by adding fun accents with a lake theme, or just items that reflect your personality. Not feeling really inspired? Scour sites like Pinterest or Etsy for great lake house decor ideas and sources to find what fits your style.

Photo via Flickr CC

Swimming in rivers, streams discouraged due to high water levels in Nantahala

rain on the lake

Don’t let the rain get you down. With care for precautions, you can still enjoy a great day of swimming in Nantahala.

Swimmers in the Nantahala and Pisgah areas may want to make plans now to head to Lake Nantahala, as the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina has issued a statement discouraging swimmers in the rivers and streams of the area:

“The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina is urging visitors to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests to avoid swimming in the creeks, rivers and streams until water levels recede. Water levels are more than a foot above normal in some waterways. High water levels and strong stream flows pose a safety risk to visitors.”

With the added water from the consistent rain we’ve been getting in the area, the rapids of the Nantahala River and the power of the streams in the area has steadily grown, making the water somewhat risky for visitors. If you’ve planned to visit your lake house in the coming weeks or have planned a vacation to Nantahala, don’t worry; you don’t have to miss out on all water sports. To avoid the strong stream flows and to have a safer swim, Nantahala Lake provides a calmer, more serene retreat until the water recedes. The large lake can handle added water capacity well, keeping the waters calm and clear, perfect for swimmers, fishing, kayaking, boating, and other water sports.

The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina does, however, warn against some activities around the shore of the lake, stating that visitors to the Nantahala  and Pisgah areas should “avoid climbing near waterfalls and be aware of the potential for flash flooding.”

We hope that everyone continues to have a safe and amazing fun summer in the Nantahala area, especially at the lake! A little vigilance and safety can go a long way towards having a great day at the lake, even after all of the rain.

Photo via Flickr CC

Bikers and Motorcycle Enthusiasts Love Wayah Road

motorcycles to ride on Wayah Road in NC

Get your chopper out of its parking space and onto a great road when you travel Wayah Road in NC.

Whether you’re a weekend rider or a biker for life, motorcyclists know that part of what makes a ride enjoyable is the road itself. The scenery, the speed limit, the curves, and more all come together to make a ride a great experience or a lot of work. While most of you may be familiar with Devil’s Whip as a favorite route in NC, how many of you know Wayah Road? This alluring, scenic, curvy road is perfect for bikers.

Why is Wayah Road so great for bikers?

Motorcyclists will love Wayah Road for it’s scenery, curves, peacefulness, and the lack of semi-trucks and other large trucks along the way. The route begins (or ends, the preference is up to you) at US 64 (Murphy Road) and goes all the way through to US 19 in Topton, NC, right at Lake Nantahala. Wayah Road is perfect for the scenic ride out, as there aren’t many businesses along the route; instead, you’ll enjoy waterfalls and serene forest views as you ride. If you ride East to West, you can enjoy a burger or a picnic at the Lakes End Diner and Marina while you check out the lake before heading back or staying the night.

What are bikers saying about the Wayah Road route?

According to Motorcycle Roads, Wayah Road has a 4 out of 5 Star rating from reviewers. While several discuss the roads great turns, the great view of Nantahala Lake and that the road is one of their favorites, one rider went so far as to say that Wayah Road is  “one of my favorite roads, anywhere! I visit the area a few times per year and I always make sure this one is on the route.”


Have you tried out your bike on Wayah Road? Tell us about your motorcycle experiences near Lake Nantahala in a comment.


Photo via Lucas County Choppers on Flickr CC. 

Enjoy Kokanee Fishing at Lake Nantahala



Ashley Swann with her record setting Kokanee Salmon from Lake Nantahala.

Angler enthusiasts enjoy a wide variety of fishing near Nantahala lake. While the Topton, NC and Nantahala River areas are best known for their trout fishing opportunities, a day with your fishing pole at the lack will lend you more than a wide variety of catches. Lake Nantahala, however, holds a special kind of fish that no other lake in North Carolina has: The Kokanee Salmon.

What is the Kokanee Salmon?

The Kokanee Salmon is a variety of sockeye salmon that lives in landlocked, freshwater bodies around the United States. The fish, named for it’s title of “silver trout” in the Okanagan language, was stocked in the lake as a forage fish for other predators in the lake by the NC Wildlife Resource Commission in the 1960’s.  Lake Nantahala is the only lake in North Carolina to stock the fish, though the fish can also be found in lakes in the Western US, namely in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and several other states.

Want to set a record? According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the current record for the largest Kokanee Salmon from Lake Nantahala belongs to Ashley Swann and was set in June of 2009. The record-breaking catch weighed in at 3 lbs and 9 oz.

What other fish are available in Lake Nantahala?

Even if you don’t land a Kokanee Salmon, chances are you’ll catch an impressive variety and number of fish during a day at Nantahala Lake. In addition to the rare Kokanee and the famous Trout, you can find Bass, Sunfish, Crappie, and Walleye in the lake, providing you a wonderful variety of freshwater fish to target for your day on the water.

Tips for Fishing at Nantahala Lake

Ready to head out on the lake for a day of angling? First, make sure that all of your licenses and gear are ready to go and that the fish you’re targeting are in season. If you’re a lake area resident, such as a homeowner in the Reflections on Lake Nantahala Community, you’ll even get to save on your license as they are cheaper and last longer for area residents.  If you want a little help finding the sweet spots on the water, consider using a fishing guide from the Nantahala area.

Photo via NC Wildlife Resource Commission

Kayaking on Lake Nantahala: Which Kayak is right for you?


Choosing the right kayak for your Lake Nantahala adventure is the first step.

Lakes are a great place for paddlers. If you love to kayak or canoe, or think it’s something you’d be interested in, the calm but large waters of Nantahala Lake provide the perfect scenario for beginners or experienced paddlers with beautiful and scenic views and easily maneuvered waters. With close proximity to the Nantahala Outdoor Center and the rapids of the Nantahala River, kayaking in the area allows you access to both rougher rapids and the calm, serene paddling of the lake. Do you know which kayak to get for your sport? Here’s a guide to help you pick the kayak that will meet your needs.

Do you need a recreational kayak, whitewater kayak, or a touring kayak?

Before you purchase your kayak, decide on your intent for the sport. This includes the duration of your trips, what kind of water you plan to use your kayak in, and your ability level before you buy. Choose the description that best applies to you:

  1. Do you plan to just take basic cruises around the lake? Would you like more stability in your kayak for beginner’s assurance and for taking photos? If so, a recreational kayak is probably for you.
  2. Do you want to try out your kayak on multi-day trips along a camping route? Would you like for your kayak to be used in the lake and the ocean on vacations? Will you need to transport gear in your kayak with you? A touring kayak will fit your needs better than a basic recreational model.
  3. Do you want to be able to use your kayak on the rapids of the NOC along the Nantahala River, as well as the calm waters of Nantahala Lake? Consider investing in a whitewater kayak; these kayaks are built for the rushing rapids of a powerful river, unlike your basic recreational model.


Photo via  U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region via Flickr CC. 

Enjoy a clean and clear lake experience with the crystal water of Lake Nantahala

When most people think of time of the lake, they think of water sports, fishing, swimming, and their other favorite lake activities, but not about the clarity of the water. Lakes, especially in the South with the presence of red clay and other muddy soils, tend to be thought of as murky waters; they’re fun to enjoy, but crystal clear water is not expected. Lake Nantahala is a special gem, up in the North Carolina mountains, as the water of the lake is well known for it’s clarity.

lake nantahala, nc

A view of the lake bottom from the Lake’s End Marina dock.

Lake Nantahala was formed in 1942 when the Natahala River itself was dammed to create a clean and crystal clear reservoir. The surrounding area had remained mostly wild and untouched, not receiving access to electricity until the 1940’s, with mail still being delivered on horseback. Since it’s formation, the lake has maintained it’s pristine beauty and seemingly untouched clarity; from shoreline to over 15 feet deep, visitors can see clearly to the bottom of the lake on most days.

The pristine beauty of the lake and clean nature of the water make it a site of exceptional natural splendor for visitors to the area and lake residents. The beautiful water is often the talk of much conversation and an instant photo choice for new visitors.  From a distance, the water showcases a deep, almost sapphire blue appearance, but from the shoreline or a boat, people get to enjoy a glass-like purity that allows you to enjoy a view straight to the bottom of the lake or into its depth.

When is the last time you spent time on the water? How about the last time you visited a lake this clear? Take a summer weekend and head up to Nantahala to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and to have a day on the lake. Make sure to send us a tweet at @lakenantahala to let us know you’re in the area!



Hiking In Nantahala How-To’s

trail hiking

Hike for one day or for two weeks; either way, there’s a trail near Nantahala that’s perfect for you.

Lake life may not seem the norm for residents of large cities, but at Lake Nantahala, we find the area to be an excellent weekend “escape” for those residing in Atlanta, New Orleans, Charlotte, and more who just want a weekend to get back to nature and to enjoy a little quiet. When it comes to getting back to nature, hiking is one of the most popular past-times in the area, as Lake Nantahala’s beautiful surroundings has lent the area to excellent trails, including access to the Appalachian Trail. Before you head to the woods, there are a few things you’ll want to take note of when hiking in NC:

Stick to the trails

When hiking in densely forested areas, a trail comes in handy not just as a natural map, but also as a clear pathway. Get a trail map or do extensive research on the  trail you plan to take while you’re at the lake so that you know what to expect, the duration of the hike, and the expertise needed to navigate it.

Pack accordingly

Even while taking a short hike in the area, you may want to have a bottle of water with you or a quick snack. On longer hiking ventures, make sure you have the correct over night gear, provisions, and equipment to handle the weather, trail, and situations you may encounter.

Be respectful of others

One of the reasons that people choose to purchase real estate in NC with a lake view of Lake Nantahala is the pristine, clear nature of the water. From the docks to the deep, you can see clearly down to the bottom of the lake, as far as the sun can reach, until it’s too deep to see further. This clarity is in part due to the cleanliness of the lake, and the respect people have for the water and the land around it. When hiking, dispose of wrappers and trash appropriately, follow the trail guidelines for pet waste, and be conscious of noise and behavior around neighboring hikers.


Planning a weekend trip or a full out hiking excursion near the lake? Get more details and hiking how-to’s from The Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Have a trail you love in the area? Tell us about it in our comments section.


Photo via Flickr CC.

Rent a Boat for Your Day on Lake Nantahala

Whether you’re building your dream house in one of the stunning lots at Reflections on Lake Nantahala, or if you’re just visiting for the weekend, you don’t have to bring a boat with you to have fun. At the lake’s Marina (next door to the Lake’s End Diner), you and your family, friends, or team can rent the boat that fits your needs best.

view from Lake Nantahala marina

Our marina has a great view of the lake, and all of the boats you’ll need to enjoy a day out on the water.

For Groups

For groups, we have larger pontoons that are perfect for a lazy day on the water. Grab a cooler and a few friends and head for the water, relaxing while the boat moves along or swimming off of the side.

For Individuals

You don’t have to have companions to enjoy a day on the lake. Kayaks and canoes are the perfect rentals for individuals, couples, or small groups who want to paddle out on the water and enjoy a day exploring without the company of a crowd.

For Sport

Take one of our ski boats out for a spin if a little bit of water sports is what you’ve been waiting for this summer. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a little bit of speed along with the scenery on Lake Nantahala.

Lake Nantahala marina

Enjoy a burger on the patio of Lake’s End Diner or have a snack at one of our picnic tables.

No matter which boat is right for you, Lake Nantahala is the perfect getaway for Summer weather. Beat the heat with a dip in the lake, enjoy a delicious burger at the diner, or pack your own feast and take advantage of the picnic tables at the marina. You’re minutes from canopy tours, white water rafting, and more, so enjoy the activities on the lake and beyond!

On the lake, you have everything you need for a great afternoon, enjoying the beautiful forests of the Topton, NC area.

Which boat fits your personality? Tell us about your boating preferences in a comment!

5 Things to Make Your Memorial Day Amazing

american flags on memorial day

Memorial Day is a national day of remembrance as we look back on and thank those who gave their lives serving in the armed forces. While a somber observance, Memorial Day is also a great reminder to spend time with the ones we love and to celebrate the freedom that the fallen sacrificed their lives to protect. One of the most popular celebrations is a great day on the Lake; we’ve got a few tips for you to help make your Memorial Day celebration at Lake Nantahala the best yet.

1. The perfect entertaining venue

Reflections on Lake Nantahala provides the perfect, scenic locale for a lake day celebration. If you have access to a beautiful back deck or a porch, or if you own a dock by the lake, set up enough seating for your guests. Make sure that chairs are grouped to encourage conversation by grouping them in sets of three or more. By separating the sets, you encourage attendees to get up and move around between smaller, more intimate conversations, bringing everyone together.

feet on the edge of a boat on Lake Nantahala

The boat is the perfect place to kick back and relax.

2. Activities at the lake house

While lounging in the sun or spending a day out on the boat are the perfect agenda for a holiday, have back up plans in case of rain or activities to enjoy while at the lake house. Popular games such as ladder ball or corn hole are easy to play on the shore or in the back yard, while card games provide great entertainment indoors. If your family has lost someone in the armed forces, share your favorite memories of them to honor them on Memorial Day.

3. Activities in the area

If you plan to stay in town for more than just weekend, local activities are a great way to round out your Memorial Day and vacation week celebrations. Visit the Nantahala Outdoor Center, just minutes from Lake Nantahala, for rafting, kayaking, and more. Get out your fishing line and enjoy a day of fishing on the lake or in the local rivers. Take the family to enjoy a sporting event, such as the 10th Annual Fletcher Flyer Bike Ride, heading through Western North Carolina on June 2.

summer cocktail in a mason jar

Make a summer cocktail or a refreshing lemonade to enjoy at the lake house.

4. The right food

Memorial Day is all about the grill or the barbecue, so break out the smoker or the charcoal and get ready to cook up some goodness. Spread the table with North Carolina favorites like barbecue ribs and potato salad with a fresh pitcher of sweet tea, lemonade, or a Summer inspired cocktail. Consider your guests as you plan your menu–Are there any vegetarians? Is anyone allergic to anything? Have at least one dish that each person can enjoy.

5. The right mindset

While this may seem like a no-brainer, too often we use long holiday weekends to catch up on work or in a frazzled state trying to complete a project at home. Instead, spend some time in the “lake house state of mind.” This weekend, focus on relaxing, spending time with you friends and family, and being happy. You’ll be glad that you did!


Are you spending Memorial Day at Reflections on Lake Nantahala or around the Topton, NC area? Share a photo of your festivities with us on Facebook!

Photos via Flickr CC users DavidYuWeb, Ada Be, and 3Liz4