Our Gorgeous Mountain Lakes Are Perfect for Canoeing in Murphy NC and All Around

lake-santeetlah-marina-slide3If you take every opportunity to indulge your canoeing passion, we invite you to visit our paddlers’ paradise. With eight sizable lakes just a short hop from Murphy, NC, you can splash your boat in different waters every day of the week. With the proper clothing and safety gear, you can go canoeing no matter the time of year!

Believe it or not, you can start your canoeing adventure right in downtown Murphy. First, stop at Appalachian Outfitters on Tennessee Street, where you’ll find PFDs and other safety gear, plus helpful area maps and local knowledge. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website also provides tons of useful boating information (including launch ramp locations).

Next, explore the Valley and Hiwassee Rivers via the Murphy River Walk Canoe Trails, featuring convenient parking and several put-ins around town. What will you see on your Murphy canoe trip? Well, during the summer months, Hiwassee Lake is filled to the gills with water, which spills into these rivers and backs up into the inlets and marshes. Enjoy life in the slow lane as you drift along, spying birds, fish, and probably a few small mammals that aren’t visible from the nearby walking trails.

If your canoe naturally gravitates toward lakes, plan a trip to nearby Hiwassee Lake, offering over 160 miles of shoreline in its 22-mile length. Much-smaller Apalachia Lake is just a stone’s throw away, and it’s secluded and absolutely beautiful. To reach either lake, put in at the Hanging Dog Recreation Area boat ramp; or launch your canoe below the Hiwassee Dam or Apalachia Dam.

If you’ve gotten the itch to explore more of our regional lakes, you’re in luck: they’re all within an hour’s drive. To the north, you’ll find massive Fontana Lake, with over 230 miles of shoreline and the most impressive dam you’ll ever see. Neighboring Santeetlah Lake offers enticing coves and stunning high-elevation mountains as a backdrop. Nantahala Lake is also worth a visit, as you can ogle the high-dollar lakefront houses while you paddle along the wooded shoreline.

Next, head south to Chatuge Lake, spread equally between North Carolina and Georgia. With 130 miles of shoreline, you’ll find lots of quiet creeks where you can stop for a snack. Finally, explore Georgia’s Blue Ridge Lake and Nottely Lake, just a half-hour’s drive from Murphy, NC. Although all these lakes attract seasonal pleasure boaters, there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Boating and Fishing in Fun in Murphy NC – A Previous Post

News Flash! Hanging Dog Campground in Murphy NC Will Reopen for Overnight Camping in 2016

309324525_88bc563c7c_oIf you’ve missed your overnight visits to Hanging Dog Campground – just a stone’s throw from Murphy, NC – you’ve probably missed more than the gorgeous scenery on Lake Hiwassee or nature’s sounds. You’ve been pining away for that bacon sizzling on your camp stove each morning – and your piping hot coffee that helps you clear the cobwebs after a good night’s sleep. Well, air out that tent and sleeping bag, because Hanging Dog will reopen to overnight visitors for the 2016 season!

To get new residents and visitors up to speed, Federal Forest Service officials closed Hanging Dog Campground in 2014 because of increasing operating costs and fewer visitors. Although the Recreation Area’s day use facilities are still available, we were all disappointed at losing our overnight camping spot. In fact, we heard rumors of desperate campers sacking out in their pickups or camping in their yards – they just missed the feeling of sleeping in the great outdoors.

Fortunately, our Cherokee County Commissioners have been working behind the scenes to turn this unfortunate situation around. They’ve spent considerable time huddling with the Forest Service, and have also gotten support from United States Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis and United States Congressman Mark Meadows. North Carolina Representative Roger West and North Carolina Senator Jim Davis have also helped to grease the wheels on this worthy effort.

As we write this, the Commissioners and Forest Service are hammering out the details of an overnight camping agreement for the 2016 season. As you might expect, Cherokee County will allocate some funds to upgrade the overnight facilities and perform seasonal maintenance work. Even better, the Commissioners are eying future collaborations with the Forest Service, with the goal of expanding recreational opportunities on Forest Service lands.

However, this groundbreaking news comes with one huge catch. If we want Hanging Dog Campground to be open for overnight camping beyond 2016, we must really throw our support behind it. In other words, start planning those overnight camping trips right now and get out there an USE IT!

Get your friends and extended family together, or plan a “get away from it all” weekend for yourself and a special companion. Pass the word on your Facebook page, and post a notice on the community bulletin board. Finally, book that coveted campsite when the website’s reservation portal opens. Remember, the Forest Service is keeping a close eye on this Murphy, NC landmark – for all the right reasons.

Lake Hiwassee Information – Located in Cherokee County by Murphy NC

The Hiwassee Dam began construction on July 15, 1936. being 1376 feet long, it is quite an impressive structure. You can actually drive over the dam itself on Hiwassee Dam Access Road (off of Highway 294). Now over 70 years later, the Hiwassee Lake has become the gorgeous lake that we all now know. This article has some great “technical” information about the lake that is sometimes hard to find all in one place.

Impounded in 1940, Hiwassee was originally known as “Fowler Bend.” The name was later changed to reflect the name of the river which it is located on.

According to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), it is 6,090 acres and located close to the center of Cherokee County, North Carolina (according to the Cherokee County Mapping Department, the actual lake 5,635.28 acres. With less than a 500 acre variation, that could be attributed to shoreline variations, etc.). From end to end, it is roughly 22 miles long and has over 163 miles of shoreline. There are many sections that are more than 200 feet deep! It’s quite a large lake with plenty of room to enjoy for boating and fishing. One of the most unique things about the lake is that only 7% of it has development! During the summer, the TVA targets to have the lake levels at 1515 to 1521 feet. On January 1, they shoot for around 1460. They try to maintain recreational levels from June 1st to August ST, with the exceptions of emergencies.

The lake is used primarily for power generation and regional flood control. Because of the flood control component, this is why the water level fluctuates. The TVA aims to have peak water level from June 1st through August 1st. It’s during the off season you see the water level drop 30-40 feet for flood control purposes. What’s amazing is it has an approximate flood water capacity of 3.6 billion gallons of water. One of the interesting things about the dam itself is that it has the ability to reverse flow and pump water back into the lake.

With only 7% of the land being developed, there is very little on the lake other than nature itself. The TVA transferred most of its original holdings to the U.S. Forest Service for it to be part of the Nantahala Forest, but kept lands in the Hiwassee Dam Reservation, the Micken branch area, and some land in Murphy. The majority of development on the lake is in Bear Paw Resort.

The TVA owns rights in one form or another up to the 1532 elevation, which means before you can do anything on the shoreline (dock, etc.) you must approve it with them.

For recreation, you have lots of options! There are four main marinas on Lake Hiwassee – Shooks, Dukes, Mountain View, and Harbor Cove. They provide boat rentals, fishing supplies, snacks, fuel, and much more. Not only that, the Hanging Dog Campground area has the best boat ramp on the lake. The US Forest Service offers several other boat launches that are completely free to use. Nice!

To get more information, contact the Hiwassee Watershed Team located at 221 Old Ranger Road; Murphy, NC 28906. You can call them at 828-837-7395

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John Poltrock – The Poltrock Team – www.MyMurphy.com – JohnPoltrock@gmail.com – Call Toll-Free (866) 687-7496 and demand The POLTROCK TEAM at REMAX Mountain Properties of Murphy North Carolina