North Georgia contains many national forests, rivers and lakes. Much of North Georgia’s most highly valued property is located in areas around rivers and lakes because boating, swimming and other water sports are so popular that land with private access to water is highly prized. Many homes in North Georgia’s lake regions have gorgeous mountain views, are adjacent to trout filled streams and creeks, and are located in the midst of forests filled with wildlife and spectacular scenery.
Many of North Georgia’s lakes are natural but some are man-made. During the 1950’s, historic flood control issues and the need for massive amounts of hydroelectric power for cities caused the federal government to authorize funds for construction of dams that would create large lakes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the dams and because it was understood that the new lakes would create environments filled with recreational opportunities, the Corps of Engineers was also given responsibility for developing and maintaining the surrounding land areas for public use.
North Georgia’s largest lakes
The largest, best known and most popular lakes for tourists in North Georgia are Lake Chatuge, Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona, Lake Hartwell and Lake Russell. Lake Chatuge was created in 1942 after the Tennessee Valley Authority completed construction of Chatuge Dam, which blocked the Hiawassee River in Tennessee. Centered in North Georgia’s Enchanted Valley, Lake Chatuge is renowned for its spectacular location adjacent to the mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest and year round trout fishing in Lake Chatuge’s tributary rivers and streams.
Lake Lanier was created in 1956 after Buford Dam was constructed on the Chattahoochee River near Cumming and it is used as a source of drinking water for the City of Atlanta. The Lake Lanier Islands Resort was developed by the State of Georgia as a recreational resource for the citizens of Georgia and it is well on its way to becoming Georgia’s first all inclusive, comprehensive resort destination. Included within the Lake Lanier Islands Resort are the PineIsle Resort, the Chattahoochee Rapids Beach & WaterPark, the Legacy Lodge & Conference Center, and an 18-hole championship golf course that was designed by Gary Player.
Lake Allatoona was created in 1950 after Allatoona Dam was built near Cartersville to control the Etowah River. Red Top Mountain State Park at Lake Allatoona contains swimming areas, fishing areas, tennis courts, 92 tent and RV campsites, 12 miles of adventurous hiking trails, boat ramps and docks for public use.
Created in 1963, Lake Hartwell is situated on the border between South Carolina and Georgia, it is 56,000 acres in size, it has 962 miles of shoreline, and it extends 49 miles up the Tugaloo River and 45 miles up the Seneca River when it is at its normal pool elevation. Lake Hartwell is renowned for having excellent fishing locations in thousands of secluded coves along its shoreline. Anglers travel to Lake Hartwell from all over the southeast to catch largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, striped bass and hybrid bass.
Lake Russell was created in 1984 after the Richard B. Russell Dam was constructed on the Savannah River. More than 1.1 million people per year visit Russell Lake to enjoy a wide variety of recreational activities including water sports, hunting, hiking, picnicking, camping and fishing. Because no homes have been built along its federally protected shoreline, Lake Russell is a wonderful place to enjoy beautiful scenery and observe various forms of wildlife in their natural habitats, and it has become a breeding ground for many different species of fish. Largemouth bass fishing at Lake Russell is so popular that bass fishing tournaments are held throughout the year.