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fontana lake - more than just parks

Fontana Lake

Scenic lake on the southern end of the park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park


The Fontana Dam, built  in 1942 at the outset of the second world war, was originally the fourth tallest dam in the world. The dam created Fontana Lake and provided power for the growing industrial needs of a nation at war. The lake marks the southern end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and dips into Nantahala National Forest. The lake is a great spot for a picnic lunch away from the crowds in the busy parts of the park, or quiet walk. The drive to the lake from the main part of the park is very scenic, especially in the fall.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Fontana Lake is in the fall when the mountains surrounding the lake display their brilliant fall colors. There typically won’t be any crowds at the lake so any time of day is fine. Mornings can be the most scenic as the mountains surrounding you are cloaked in the mist that gives the area its name.

Things to Note

The lake is a good distance away from most other points of interest in the park so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you’re planning your trip and only have a limited amount of time.

Fontana Lake | Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains Film

This film is the culmination of two weeks exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We chose Great Smoky Mountains as our second ever park film because of it’s extraordinary display of fall colors, it’s incredibly diverse wildlife population, and it’s prominence as the most visited national park in the country. This film was shot entirely in 4K UHD.


Explore more of Great Smoky Mountains

Jim Pattiz

Co-Founder of More Than Just Parks. Filmmaker, Conservationist, Public Lands Enthusiast

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