Fontana Lake is a man-made lake along Route 28. Route 28 connects up with the Tail of the Dragon (Route 129) at Deals Gap . Route 28 is called "Moonshiner 28". The Moonshiner 28 is 103 mile long from the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap to Walhalla, South Carolina. Route 28 was once used by moonshiners to deliever their products. Route 28 winds along Fontana Lake.
Fontana Lake is a reservoir impounded by Fontana Dam and the Little Tennessee River. The Lake is about 17 miles long. Fontana Dam is a hydroelectric Dam. The Dam opened in 1944. Prior to this it as a river with small communities dusted along its banks. The rail road, town and homes were along it's banks. One of these towns was Almond, NC. Towns, the Railroad and houses were all flooded when the dam was completed. Negotiations took place to remove these obsticals. One of the aggreements was that the home owners could have House boats on the Lake. As you glide down Route 28 these house Boats can be seen.
I am told that the federal goverment is in the process of removing these Houseboats. They consider them an eye sore. We will see.
The area around the Dam consists of many steep and jagged cliffs. Route 28 runs a ridge along the highway providing many breath taking overlooks. The Highway twists and turns down this ridge. The lake has many fingers that wind up steep valleys in all direction. The houseboats gather in some of these fingers.
Elk wonder near the dam. Elk were abundant throughout the United States, but by the mid-1800's, overhunting and habitat loss wiped out the eastern elk herds. In 2001, wild elk were restored to the Smoky Mountains. This elk was observed on the Cherokee Indian Reservation near Cherokee downtown! It's mating season so the elk are especially brazen.
The Lake and Moonshiner 28 provides an awesome ride to the Tail of the Dragon.
No pictures of North Carolina would be complete with out pictures of the waterfalls. These are on the road to the Highlands, Route 28 - The Moonshiner 28. Click on the following link: