Explore the best trails near Fontana Dam with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.



Fontana Dam, North Carolina Map
4 days ago

The road across the dam is closed so add 2 miles round trip to the hike if you plan an out and back. Sections of this hike are relatively flat and offer a chance to recover from the steeper sections of the trail. That said, instead of being a gradual up all the way, you go in and out of steep sections where the elevation gains are made. The payoff is the fire tower at the summit and ruins from the old cabin. I summited as a leading edge of a rain storm hit and decided not to go up into the tower. If you want a casual easy fun hike this is not a good pick. if you want a challenging uphill hike with a stunning view from the top, this is it. There are also occasional view of the lake and dam. I descended as night fell and the view of the illuminated dam was a great touch.

Beautiful hike!

1 month ago

5 months ago

7 months ago

Hiked this trail on 10/23/16 fabulous day for this hike. Leaves at nearly peak. This is a constant climb but very doable if you are in decent condition. Don't be deceived by the milage estimate, you cannot drive across the dam at this time so from the parking lot it is exactly 10 miles round trip. Not crowded at all, saw very few people on the trail. Highly recommend this trail for a clear day.

8 months ago

It was a long time ago, but I loved it. Except for the red tape. This is a strenuous hike so do not even think about it if you are not up to it.

8 months ago

It has been five years but I remember the beauty and I think my legs still ache. This was one rough trail for the heavy pack I carried back then. The cabin and restaurant at Fontana dam was a joy.

Awesome place! Go during fall and bring s backpacking water filter if you want to get some nice stream water for the hike :) best view of all the years I've been going to the Fontana area!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

It was the most amazing hike I've ever been on. Don't go during the winter if you don't like to be cold. It was almost 18 degrees when I went. The view is impeccable. Definitely worth the effort. And it's extremely strenuous. Do not wear shoes with little tread. You will slip and slide all over the leaves and it will add more time and difficulty to your hike. Make sure you have proper hiking shoes. Watch for bears because there have been a few deaths. There's a chart at the beginning of the trail that tells you if there is a lot of activity. The most strenuous and difficult trail of the entire Appalachian trail. So this is not for the novice hiker. The tower at the top is sketchy but awesome. My favorite place to hike.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

This hike was more challenging than expected. The beginning mile is a harsh hike to the top of the mountain ridge. The remaining hike is along the ridge line. I was told by the Fontana damn museum employee that the shuckstack trail is the longest continuous ascent in the Appalachian trail. There are only a brief sections where the trail levels out. The last mile is also challenging also the steepest. The tower is amazing and was recently serviced when we went. Each tread had been replaced. The view is incomparable as you are at the highest mountain peak within the range, especially if you make it to the top of the tower. Just be careful. Lastly I read a few reviews that said this is a 7.4 mile round trip hike, this is absolutely incorrect, it's at least 10 miles round trip. It took us 3 hours to get to the top and 2 to get down. I highly recommend at least once.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Very hard hike but so very worth it!! The views from the fire tower are excellent, and the hike up is very scenic in the Fall. Be forewarned of two things: the trail is not well marked, and as of this review you can't cross Fontana Dam by car to get to the trailhead. You have to park at the dam visitor center and walk almost a mile to the Appalachian Trail (which serves as the trailhead).

Monday, September 21, 2015

We did an overnight backpacking trip here, starting with a boat ride from Fontana dam($25) to Hazel creek. From Hazel creek we hiked about 6 miles via lakeshore trail to campsite #90(backcountry permit required and can be acquired through GSMNP). The campsite was awesome, a creek on one side and the river on the other! From campsite #90 we hiked to Fontana dam via lakeshore trail which was about 7 miles. Overall a good trip but the trail is hilly so be prepared, especially day #2.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Distance: 4.7, 6.8, 6.2 miles each day
Trails: Lakeshore Trail, Eagle Creek, Lost Cove Trail, Appalachian Trail

Fantastic easy hike with swimming & history & graveyards!

Sunday, May 24, 2015