Fontana Lake – Mile 79 Campsite

Location: Western North Carolina
Trip Starts: Tsali Boat Ramp
Trip Ends: Tsali Boat Ramp
Total Distance: 4 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Trails Used: Little Tennessee River
Trail Traffic: Moderate
Trip Type: Day Or Overnight Paddle Trip
More Information:

Nantahala National Forest
Cheoah Ranger District
1070 Massey Branch Road
Robbinsville, NC 28771
(828) 479-6431


This kayaking trip starts at the Tsali boat ramp in the Nantahala National Forest and follows the Little Tennessee River toward Fontana Lake. We chose a campsite in the area of Mile #79, but there are other options in the National Forest or in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – although a permit is required on this northern side of the lake. A lake map and/or a GPS is highly recommended for this trip if you are unfamiliar with the lake. We had the early morning and late evening hours mostly to ourselves during our trip, but motor boats can access the majority of Fontana Lake. So the mid-afternoon hours can be more chaotic on the water – especially during the summer season.

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