About Lake Nantahala

Lake's End has been a fixture of the Nantahala community since the late 50's, when Sam Passmore started his little outpost on the shores of Lake Nantahala, elevation 3,012' above sea level. Back then; it was called Sam's Boats & Cabins. The lake had been formed a few years earlier when the Federal Government installed a dam on the upper Nantahala River, forcing the relocation of the old town of Aquone, which was located on a site that is now more than 100' underwater. 

Today, the lake feeds the Lower Nantahala River, world famous for its wonderful white water rafting and kayaking, and the lake is considered one of the most pristine and pure lakes in the entire Southeast.

In the late 60's, the late Lawrence Griffing (Griff) and his wife, Ruth, along with their children, Jane and Lynnie, took the reins, added the Diner/Store and created a wonderful spot for campers and fishermen who visited the lake and used the Diner and Campground as headquarters during their stay at the lake. 

During the early 70's, Lake Nantahala was the official training ground for the Army Green Beret and Special Forces. They set up camp at Appletree Campground, just down the road from the restaurant, as well as a communications headquarters on top of Wayah Bald, the highest point in the area at 5,400' above sea level. Most days, the Soldiers flew to the Diner in Chinook and Huey helicopters for lunch. They landed in the grass right next to the Diner, which provided much excitement for the local kids and fellow diners. Many of the Soldiers passed out MRE's, Army issue can openers, fatigue patches and other things the kids loved to get their hands on. In the early morning hours, the Soldiers could be seen out on the lake practicing "Scout Swimming," which is a method of swimming that leaves only the head above water and leaves no wake, and in the afternoons, the fighters and bombers would dive bomb the dam, which was their target for practice strafing and bombing runs.

In the 90's, Duke Power, an environmentally sensitive power company that still owns and manages the lake today, purchased the lake from Nantahala Power & Light. Through their efforts and the care of the residents and surrounding community citizens, the lake is as pristine today as it was when it was first formed.

Built on the work that began in 2006, in late 2014 and early 2015, new ownership began a transformation of the Marina, Café & Grill and surrounding areas and amenities. The facility underwent a significant renovation and modernization program. While maintaining many of the facilities iconic features, the Marina and Café & Grill offer a lake front resort facility, surrounded with a friendly atmosphere and featuring a new and improved fleet of rental watercraft, renovated docks and wet and gas, a new restaurant, featuring quality food and service, to include a new breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Our vision of revitalizing the facility included the ship and adventure store, grounds, and community fire pit. The amenity spaces throughout the facility have been updated to include the addition of horseshoe pits, volleyball net, relaxing lake front hammocks and other games and activities. 

While the foundation of our vision is clear, our objective is to participate in the creation of a unique destination where family and friends can gather to enjoy the beauty of the area and the many events and activities. Thank you for taking the time to learn about the history of the area and we look forward to welcoming you as our guest.

The Adventure Crew at Lakes End



Technical Information About the Lake

Name: Lake Nantahala
Location: Macon County, North Carolina
Coordinates: 35.199 longitude, -83.652 latitude
Created: 1942, by Nantahala Power & Light
Regulated By: Duke Power Company
Surface Elevation: 3,012 feet (915 meters)
Shoreline Mileage: 30.4 miles
Area of Full Lake: 1,605 acres
Depth: 73.3 to 100.0 feet
Marine Life: trout, bass, catfish, walleye, crappie, sunfish, freshwater salmon
Access: two public boat landings; primitive camping on public National Forest Lands
Nearest Towns: Topton, Andrews, and Franklin, North Carolina
Time Zone: Eastern Standard
Average Temps (High/Low): January 46/25, July 86/62
Average Rainfall: 6"/month

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Current Lake Levels