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Fontana-Lake has the highest dam in the Tennessee Valley Authority System, and ranks among the most beautiful in the world. It's located 35 miles west of Bryson City and is surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains, national forests and deep river gorges. Part of the Appalachian Trail crosses the top of Fontana Dam, which wasn't designed as an overflow dam, so it has a distinct appearance, with no water spilling over the top of it. Water is, instead, released through spillways downstream from the base of the dam. Fontana Lake is 29 miles long and has more than 240 miles of shoreline - most of which has not been developed, with more than 90 percent of it being owned by either the National Park Service or the U.S. Forest Service. Fishing is excellent in Fontana Lake, due to its' deep, cold waters that provide the ideal habitat for many species of fish. Boat docks and launching ramps are located at various sites around Fontana Lake, and other activities in the area include swimming, water skiing, hiking and horseback riding. History buffs also love Fontana Lake. When it was built, communities like Hazel Creek and Sugar Fork were cut off from the outside world because the lake covered their only access road. Today, some of the old cemeteries, chimneys and roads of the towns still remain. Also, "The Road to Nowhere" is a six-mile scenic drive that provides spectacular views of Fontana Lake and the Appalachian Mountains. It was originally meant to be a road for the residents who had to give up their homes when the dam was built to have access to their ancestral gravesites, but the government never completed it.

Surrounding areas: Stecoah, North Carolina (8.6 mi), Robbinsville, North Carolina (9.0 mi), Nantahala, North Carolina (13.8 mi), Almond, North Carolina (14.7 mi), Nantahala Gorge, North Carolina (15.2 mi), Topton, North Carolina (15.3 mi), Andrews, North Carolina (17.4 mi)


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