Located in one of the most scenic locations in the Southeast, Watauga Lake, the highest body of water in Tennessee, is surrounded by Cherokee National Forest and flanked by the stunning Appalachian Mountains.
Not surprisingly, water recreation is plentiful at Watauga, which includes the Doe, Elk and Watauga rivers, as well as a number of streams and a total of seven waterfalls. Its 106-mile shoreline features highly developed recreation areas that are ideal for boating and swimming, as well as a number of other activities.
Enjoy Some Great Fishing
The Dennis Cove Recreation Area is the best place for river and stream fishing while boating and lake and pond fishing is great all around the lake, particularly at Cardens Bluff Campground, Little Milligan Boat Launch, Rat Branch Boat Launch and Sink Mountain Boat Ramp.
Swimming and Camping
There are also plenty of great places to swim, with Shook Branch Beach being one of the premier spots to take a dip. Watauga is a perfect to camp too, especially on the lakeshore at Cardens Bluff or in the back country along Laurel Fork Creek at Dennis Cove.
Hiking & Biking Trails
The lake also offers up plenty of great hiking and biking trails, along with horseback riding and a shooting range at Pond Mountain. Picnicking is also quite popular around the lake with the Watauga Point Picnic Area and Shook Branch Beach being the top locations. There are also some great little restaurants, like The Captain’s Table.
If you want to spend a few days or even longer at Watauga, there are some great Bed and Breakfasts, like Prospect Hill, or you can rent a cabin several places, including Lakeshore Lodging (www.lakeshore-resort.com).
Scenic Views from the Road
If you love to drive, you’ll want to take the scenic route along U.S. 321/TN 67, which follows the Watauga Lake shoreline, which accesses several national forest recreation areas and provides spectacular views of the lake and forests on Iron Mountain. The highways split the lake and both routes pass through farmland, rural communities and scenic mountain views.
And after a day spent on the water or enjoying the outdoors and you’re ready to do nothing but relax, there are plenty of wonderful places to do that too at Watauga!