Lake Santeetlah, NC

Lake Santeetlah

Beautiful Lake Santeetlah is one of most unspoiled lakes you'll find in the North Carolina mountains, and often called one of the most beautiful in the country. Located about 100 miles west of Asheville along the Indian Lakes Scenic Byway, it's located in the "wild west" of Graham County. Since it's further away from the city and less developed, it's especially serene. About 80% of the 76-mile shoreline is in the Nantahala National Forest, in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains. It's just six miles from Robbinsville.

Lake Santeetlah

To explore the lake, you can rent pontoon boats, ski boats or kayaks at Santeetlah Marina (1 Marina Drive, Robbinsville) in "town." The Town of Lake Santeetlah occupies a peninsula in the lake with about 200 homes but only 50 permanent residents. 

Lake Santeetlah, NC

Pristine waters offer great fishing (bass, walleye, bluegill, crappie, bream and lake trout) and primitive campsites scattered around the lake along Joyce Kilmer Road (read more below). 


At Cheoah Point Recreation Area, find camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing and boating. The beach (pic above) is a great spot for a sunset picnic. The campground is open April-October and also has RV sites and primitive cabins. Six campsites provide electric hookups. Call the Ranger Station for more info (828) 479-6431. Or reserve online. Address: 1373 Thunder Bird Mountain Road, Robbinsville.

Also, find primitive first come, first serve campsites along the lake on Joyce Kilmer Road and Long Hungry Road off NC 143. The US Forest Service-Cheoah Ranger District requires registration for overnight camping for dispersed campsites on Long Hungry Road. To register, fill out a simple form at the information kiosk located at the entrance to Long Hungry Road. Camping here is limited to 14 days within any 30 day time period, camping equipment may not be left unattended for more than 24 hours, campsites must be occupied during the first night after camping equipment has been set up, and camping equipment and personal property must be removed when vacating the area.

Just a few miles north on US 129 is Yellow Creek Falls. The nearby Cheoah River is a favorite for whitewater lovers with Class IV and V rapids during scheduled dam recreational releases (about 17 days a year). 

West of Lake Santeetlah is Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest with great hiking through a virgin forest, just off the super scenic Cherohala Skyway. About 20 miles away is the much bigger Fontana Lake.

Yellow Creek Falls NC
Yellow Creek Falls
Hike just a third of a mile to reach this 50-ft. waterfall in the Nantahala National Forest near Robbinsville and Lake Santeetlah. It's a great summer swimming hole, too!
Graham County NC
Graham County Places to Stay
Find great places to stay in Graham County, home to Robbinsville, Lake Santeetlah, Fontana Lake and Stecoah in the Nantahala National Forest. Stay in log cabins, friendly B&Bs, luxury lodges, lakeside campgrounds and small hotels. 
Wehrloom Honey Farm
Wehrloom Honey Bee Farm
Visit this farm for all-natural raw honey products and watch bees at work in their observatory, located in Robbinsville, NC. Self-guided and guided tours available.

Discover and explore some absolutely gorgeous lakes near Asheville in the North Carolina mountains. Soak in the views all year round, and enjoy many water activities in the summer.... read more
This 75-mile North Carolina Scenic Drive follows NC Highway 28 and US Highway 129 by several lakes through the Nantahala National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains. The Indian Lakes Scenic Byway takes... read more
Drive the mile-high Cherohala Skyway in Graham County near Robbinsville, about 100 miles west of Asheville. This is definitely one of the most scenic drives in Blue Ridge... read more
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest near Robbinsville is a living memorial to writer/poet Joyce Kilmer, best known for the poem, “Trees.” Located by ... read more
Here are our favorite natural swimming holes in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville to cool off in on a hot summer day. Only Sliding Rock and the... read more