Paddle Fontana Lake: With 240 miles of shoreline, 90 percent of which is owned and protected by the National Park Service or US Forest Service, Fontana Lake is a fantastic place for flat-water paddling. Portions of the 29-mile lake offer unobstructed views of the Smoky’s highest peak, Clingman’s Dome. Birds like blue herons, kingfishers, osprey, and falcons are abundant around the deep blue water. Although the lake is popular with motorized boats during the summer, its many tucked away waterfalls and quiet coves offer ample escapes for the self-propelled explorer. The lake has many backcountry campsites on islands and along its shores, making it possible to combine hikes and paddling into a multi-day adventure. Of note are the ruins of a thousand-person logging town at Proctor campsite at Hazel Creek.
Directions from Bryson City: In addition to several private landings, the sprawling Fontana Lake has four public boat access areas. We recommend hooking up with the local gear specialists and adventure guides at Bryson City Outdoors for more info and all the gear you need for this adventure. The most convenient access point from Bryson City is the Old 288 ramp. Take US 19 S from Bryson City to SR 1323 (Slope St., by the Kerr Drugs in town). Go .2 miles down Slope St. to a left at the blinking light onto SR 1321, called Bryson Walk. Go 1.6 miles to a left, following the river to continue on Old 288, which dead ends into the ramp after 0.8 miles.