Links and Other Information

Watauga Lake is secluded in the Cherokee National Forest near Butler, TN half way between Boone, North Carolina and Mountain City, Tennessee. Please plan in advance on what surrounding areas you plan to visit so you can accurately map the routes you will need to take. The Blue Ridge Parkway can easily be accessed between Boone and Blowing Rock, NC where it crosses Hwy 321/ 421. The Linn Cove Viaduct was designed to protect Grandfather Mountain from environmental damage from Parkway construction and vehicles, a great day trip. Backbone Rock trail and falls is a nice day trip the opposite direction thru Shady Valley. This is a mountainous area with 80% of the lake shoreline inside Cherokee National Forest. We have provided you with links that can be very helpful to you in planning your trip to the area including dining. For NASCAR fans, Bristol Motor Speedway is only 40 miles away. Close enough for the race, but far enough to enjoy the majestic mountain views of sparsely populated National Forest and Watauga Lake.

Watauga Lake is one of the most beautiful in the entire TVA system in Upper Northeast Tennessee. The word “Watauga” is a Native American term meaning beautiful waters. The lake is located in Carter and Johnson counties in upper East Tennessee. ThirteenLook Mommy, I caught a fish!!!Look Mommy, I caught a fish!!! species of game fish including rainbow and brown trout, walleye, and smallmouth and largemouth bass inhabit the waters of the lake which is 19 miles long with 106 miles of shoreline. Roan Creek, Elk River and Watauga River feed the lake. The lake borders the Cherokee National Forest at the southwestern end of Johnson County. At 1960 feet above sea level Watauga Lake is the highest lake in the Tennessee Valley Authority system. It offers access to the Appalachian Trail which crosses the Watauga Dam as well as many other hiking trails.

Below Watauga Dam is Wilbur wildlife observation area where visitors have a chance to view unique species of waterfowl. Other popular activities on the lake include swimming, jet skiing, boating, sailing, water skiing and camping. A portion of the Appalachian Trail runs through the area, as well as several spectacular waterfalls, making this a beautiful place for hiking. There are many area flea markets, farmers markets, antique stores and small town festivals throughout the summer months for visitors to enjoy. Other points of interest include the Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Caverns, Linville Caverns, Sycamore Shoals State Historical Area, Roan Mountain State Park, Rhododendron Gardens, and the Hands-On Museum in Johnson City.

Canoeing on Watauga Lake. Neighboring towns are Mountain City, Elizabethton, Valle Crucis, Butler, Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk. The Blue Ridge Parkway and these other links are a source of useful information on the larger area.

The Cherokee National Forest site is very helpful for planning your visit to the Forest. Each year millions of people visit Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest. It is a place of scenic beauty that provides opportunities for anyone interested in nature and history. The Forest stretches from Chattanooga to Bristol along the North Carolina border. The 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest is the largest tract of public land in Tennessee. It lies in the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountain range, one of the world’s most diverse areas. These mountains are home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animals. Because of the Cherokee’s majestic mountains, tumbling streams, and diverse vegetation, recreation opportunities are plentiful. Discover the 30 developed campgrounds, 30 picnic areas, 700 miles of trail, hundreds of miles of cold water streams, seven whitewater rivers, thousands of acres of dispersed opportunities, and abundant populations of wildlife that are here for your enjoyment.

Links for Local Boat Rentals and Adventure Guides

To ensure availability for water craft rentals make your reservation as soon as possible.Lake trout
The marinas stay very busy and rentals could get booked.

Carefree Boat Club – Watauga Lake is home to one of 27 branches of the Carefree Boat Club where members enjoy the use of a brand new fleet of boats on area lakes for a flat monthly fee.

HawksNest Ziplines – Hawksnest currently has 20 ziplines including 4 mega zips, 2 over 2000 feet long and 2 over 1500 feet long. With 4 miles of zipline riding with heights over 200 feet and speeds up to 50 mph. Ziplines are over trees, through trees, over lakes and creeks with panoramic views on almost every ride. Experience the biggest and best with the spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fish Springs Marina – Boat Rentals On Watauga Lake, East Tennessee. There’s no reason to be left on the shoreline wishing you could experience Watauga Lake from the water. Fish Springs Marina has a fleet of Tahoe Pontoon Boats and Sailboats available for rental year round.

Mountain Adventure Guides – Rafting, Caving, and Climbing. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing family float trip or an extreme adventure weekend, you’ll find it at USA Raft.

Wahoo Adventure – Canoeing, Kayak and Tube tours & Bike Tours. For 35 years, Wahoo’s has consistently offered the highest quality whitewater rafting, canoeing, tubing, and hiking adventures available. Headquartered in Boone, NC; with locations close to Asheville, NC; Banner Elk, NC; Blowing Rock, NC; Erwin, TN; Johnson City, TN; and

Watauga Lake Marinas

Pioneer Landing RV campground with boat slips.

Cove Ridge Marina Boat slips, dry dock, supplies, campground and grill.

Mallard Cove Marina Docks, boat slips, rentals on Watauga Lake.

Lakeshore Captain’s Table Restaurant, Boat rentals, dock, slips.

Fish Springs Marina Marina, Boat sales, supplies and rentals.

Tilawa Marina (formerly Pappy’s) Marina, RV campground and boat slips.