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

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!