Chilhowee Lake Paddling
Tallassee, TN 37878
Chilhowee Lake provides part of the boundary between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest. This shallow 10-mile long, cool water reservoir is more river-like, coursing a narrow, twisted route that stretches upstream to Calderwood Dam, near the state line. This quieter lake provides a peaceful setting for fishermen and paddlers. The lake's 1,747-acre reservoir has a drainage area of 1,977 square miles and runs parallel to US 129. The dam was completed in 1957, impounding the Little Tennessee River. The lake borders the southern entrance to the Foothills Parkway and nearby Abrams Creek, which flows into the Chilhowee Lake. Access is easy and convenient with several boat ramps on US 129 along the Lake's northern border.
Paddling: Paddlers will find several boat ramps along US 129, the lake's northern border, providing easy lake access. A great destination paddle is to head over to the Chota Memorial Site. Once at the island, find a spot along the bank to dock and walk over to the Chota Memorial Monument, which consists of eight pillars — one for each of the seven Cherokee clans and one for the nation. The grave of Chief Oconostota, uncovered in the 1969 excavations was re-interred next to the monument. Another course to explore is the opening into Abrams Creek which runs down out of the Great Smoky Mountains. Paddle this scenic little feeder stream until the current becomes too much to paddle against.