Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the kickoff to summer activities. Around Knoxville, that means time on the lakes. One of the very best reasons to live in Knoxville is the access to some of the best water in the country. With nine lakes within a short drive from anywhere in the city, Knoxville is ideally suited for anyone who enjoys some time on the water. Here’s a look at a few of the lakes that could be the summer fun spot for you. Check back next month for more descriptions.
Located on US 129, Calderwood Lake provides an excellent spot for a quiet day of fishing. Anglers can hook large and smallmouth bass, rock bass, walleye, and crappie. The lake is stocked annually with trout (by both Tennessee and North Carolina), which thrive in the deep, cool water of the reservoir.
The factors of size, location, and formation all work together to make Calderwood Lake an ideal destination for a beautiful day on the water. The lake itself borders both the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest. Although not an expansive lake, Calderwood feels larger because of its unique shape, as it follows a horseshoe bend in the river called “The Narrows.”
Because the lake is ideal for paddlers, a series of campsites has been installed along the banks of Calderwood, specifically for canoeists and kayakers.
With more than a dozen marinas and over two dozen boat ramps, visitors to Cherokee Lake will enjoy easy access to the water. Many of these sites offer pontoon and ski boat rentals as well as houseboats and cottages/cabins. Campgrounds are scattered around the lake, providing plenty of opportunities to stay close to the water, either with full-service RV hookups with electricity to more primitive camping opportunities.
Panther Creek State Park on the shore of Cherokee Lake is a destination for quite a few of the area’s visitors. The park offers 17 different hiking trails covering more than 30 miles around or near the lake. Folks who want the chance to see some wildlife can visit Mossy Creek Wildlife Viewing area. Nearly 120 different species of birds have been documented in the area. Beavers, otters, muskrats, and turtles are also regular residents.
Visitors to Chilhowee Lake can put in at one of three public boat ramps along US 129 on the northern border of the lake. Folks without a watercraft can drop lines from the two fishing decks. Primary game fish of the lake include largemouth and smallmouth bass, rock bass, walleye, and crappie. Trout are stocked on an annual basis and thrive in the cool, clear water.
Paddlers will want to make their way out to Chota Memorial Site to see the Chota Memorial Monument. The site features eight pillars, one for each Cherokee clan and one for the Cherokee Nation as a whole. The reservoir itself has covered the original Chilhowee site, once home to an 18th-Century Overhill Cherokee village of some significant size.