Lake Chatuge

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Lake Chatuge in Hayesville North Carolina

Lake Chatuge


Jackrabbit Mountain: From Hayesville, travel east on US 64, turn south and travel 2.5 miles on NC 175, turn right on SR 1155.

For more information:

Tusquitee Ranger District,
201 Woodland Drive,
Murphy, NC 28906.
Phone (704) 837-5152.

Boat Rental

Boundary Waters
528 Sunnyside Rd
Hwy 288 Hiawassee, GA 30546

(800) 323-3562 (706) 896-2530>

Beautiful Lake Chatuge is nestled between two states and the two towns of Hayesville North Carolina and Hiawassee Georgia

In Cherokee legend Tusquitee refers to the place "where the water dogs laughed." This area, now a part of the Nantahala National Forest in Clay County, has one of the most scenic lakes in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) system. The 130 miles of shoreline around Lake Chatuge is magnificently framed by the nearby Tusquitee Mountains and "the Great Blue Hills of God," as the Cherokee called the Blue Ridge Mountains.Visitors enjoy leisurelyy strolls along the dam with its spectacular view of the lake and surrounding mountains. The lake has numerous fingerlike projections of land forming interesting coves for great fishing, swimming, boating, and water sports.

The Chatuge Dam is 144 feet high, and the lake supports water sports and recreation. The fishing is good with more than 32 species in the lake. Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area | s situated on a pine-wooded peninsula with hiking trails that offer pleasing views of Lake Chatuge. It isn't just the abundant salamanders who find reason for mirth in this popular family recreation area. Clay County Recreation Park is also popular with families.

History of Lake Chatuge

In 1942, the TVA constructed a 2,950 foot earthfill dam across the Hiawassee River, forming Lake Chatuge.

The record in the Towns County Herald on Thursday, May 29, 1941, states:>

>"The Tennessee Valley Authority, faced with a serious shortage of electric power for defense industries in the southeast, has requested $51,000,000 for the construction of four new dams on the Hiwassee River at the Barnett Bridge in North Carolina (just over the Towns County, GA, line.) Two of the proposed dams will be storage dams, while the other two will be power dams. The one affecting this county most will be a storage dam. Indications point to early start on the construction of the dam..."

On July 17, 1941, the Senate passed the TVA bill, paving the way for construction to begin in earnest. "Water contour lines have been surveyed and the markers show that Hiawassee, the town so reported as being in danger of complete inundation, will be able to keep doing business at the same old stand. The land acquisition men are still working on deeds and titles at the courthouse in Hiawassee. Orders to go to work on the dam are expected any day."

Construction of the earth-filled Chatuge Dam across the Hiwassee River about three miles southeast of Hayesville, NC, began on July 17, 1941. The TVA dams brought badly needed jobs for local folks in the lingering post-depression years, which was a definite boost for the local economy. Of course, the folks whose land lay in the path of the lake were not so happy. Gone forever were the approximately 3,700 acres in Clay County, NC and 3,500 acres in Towns County, Georgia. It was the area's richest and best farmland from which the residents had gleaned their livelihoods. Churches and schools were interrupted and moved. The January 9, 1942 issue of the Towns County Herald, stated that "...141 houses had to be moved...about 60 families have left the county--affected directly or indirectly by the building of the dam."

Bell Mountain on lake Chatuge

Technical Facts of Lake Chatuge

The dam is made up of 21,900 cubic yards of concrete, and there was 362,466 cubic yards of earth excavation for the foundation.

Normal maximum pool for Lake Chatuge flood control holds 7,050 acre feet of water. Lake Chatuge has 1 enclosed water-cooled generator and a second generator that was added later.

Lake Chatuge is 13 miles long and has 128 miles of shoreline with 4 miles of island shoreline giving a total of 132 miles of shoreline. offering many recreational opportunities including fishing, canoeing, skiing, and picnicking.

Fishing for four species of bass, bream and catfish is popular among visitors

Chatuge Dam is 144 feet high, 2,850 feet long, and 980 feet wide at the base.

The reservoir is operated for many uses mostly built for power generation and flood control. It is also beneficial for water quality, aquatic ecology and helps maintain navigation depth on the TVA ferment dam system.

Lake chatuge Map


Fishing, swimming, skiing, camping, boating, hiking.


Clay County Recreation Park:

30 campsites, picnic shelters, ball field, swimming area, and a boat-launching ramp.


6.2 miles east from Hayesville on US 64 (turn right onto NC 175).

Jackrabbit Mountain:

103 camping sites, swimming beach with showers, hiking trails, picnic areas, and a boat launching ramp.


There is a charge for camping.

Closest towns:

Hayesville, North Carolina, approximately 6 miles.

Hiawassee Georgia

Lake chatuge

Outdoor Recreation in the mountains | Nantahala National Forest | Appalachian hiking trail | Fires Creek wilderness area | Joyce Kilmer–Slickrock Wilderness Area
Georgia Waterfalls | Hiking trails of the Georgia Mountains | Georgia State Parks

lake Chatuge

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