Hidden Wonders of North Carolina: 7 Mountain Lakes That Will Take Your Breath Away!

North Carolina is known for its beautiful mountains, but these mountains hide some beautiful lakes that many besides locals don’t know about.  

In this guide, we’ll highlight the seven best hidden mountain lakes in North Carolina, all perfect for those looking to find a peaceful but fun place away from the crowds.

Each of these mountain lakes offers something special that’ll leave you with memories for a long time to come.

Let’s explore these hidden treasures in the North Carolina mountains and see what adventures await you.

Bear Lake Reserve

Credit: Instagram: @bearlakereserve

Located in the heart of the North Carolina mountains, Bear Lake Reserve combines pristine lake beauty with high-end amenities. 

This secluded getaway in Tuckasegee offers luxurious lodging options, from cozy cottages to grand mountain lodges. 

Visitors can indulge in outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing, and hiking on the numerous trails offering breathtaking views. 

The lake itself is a serene spot for paddleboarding or enjoying a sunset cruise. 

With its blend of natural beauty and comfort, Bear Lake Reserve is the perfect retreat for those looking to escape into the mountains.

Lake Chatuge

Credit: Jason Reina, Photographer

Nestled on the North Carolina-Georgia border, Lake Chatuge is a picturesque destination known for its tranquil waters and scenic vistas. 

Located in the town of Hayesville, this lake offers a variety of accommodations, from quaint bed and breakfasts to lakeside cabins. 

Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and water sports, or explore the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. 

The area is also rich in cultural experiences, with local vineyards and art galleries nearby. 

Lake Chatuge’s blend of natural beauty and activities makes it a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts.

Lake Santeetlah

Credit: Instagram: @pamdavis_clt

Surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest, Lake Santeetlah is a hidden jewel with crystal-clear waters and unspoiled shorelines. 

This tranquil lake, located near Robbinsville, is ideal for those seeking solitude and connection with nature. 

Accommodations range from rustic campgrounds to comfortable vacation rentals. Activities include kayaking, swimming, and fishing for bass and trout. 

The surrounding forest offers endless hiking and biking trails. 

Lake Santeetlah’s untouched beauty makes it a perfect escape for adventurers and nature lovers alike.

Fontana Lake

Credit: Instagram: @syamawax

Fontana Lake offers expansive views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from its waters. 

This remote lake, accessible from Bryson City, is renowned for its fishing, boating, and water sports. 

The surrounding area offers a variety of lodging options, from rustic campsites to comfortable cabins. 

Visitors can explore the Appalachian Trail, which crosses the Fontana Dam, or enjoy a scenic drive on the nearby Tail of the Dragon. 

Fontana Lake’s combination of recreational activities and stunning natural scenery makes it a unique destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Nantahala Lake

Credit: Instagram: @visitnantahalanc

Situated at 3,012 feet above sea level, Nantahala Lake is known for its crystal-clear waters and spectacular mountain views. 

Located in the Nantahala National Forest, this lake offers a serene retreat with a range of outdoor activities, including fishing, kayaking, and sailing. 

Accommodations include cozy cabins and lakefront homes. The lake’s proximity to the Nantahala River also provides opportunities for whitewater rafting and fly fishing. 

Nantahala Lake is a haven for those seeking tranquility and adventure in the great outdoors.

Lake Glenville

Credit: Instagram: @jochenlucke

At an elevation of 3,494 feet, Lake Glenville boasts the title of the highest lake east of the Mississippi, offering cool, refreshing summers. 

Located near Cashiers, this lake provides a variety of waterfront and mountain view accommodations. 

Its clear waters are ideal for boating, water skiing, and fishing. Surrounding trails offer picturesque hikes and waterfalls, including the popular High Falls. 

Lake Glenville’s elevation not only provides stunning vistas but also a unique high-country lake experience.

Lake Toxaway

Credit: Instagram: @melissagyldstrand

As North Carolina’s largest private lake, Lake Toxaway is nestled among the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. 

This exclusive destination, located near Brevard, offers luxury accommodations, from elegant estates to charming inns. 

Visitors can enjoy a range of activities, including golfing, tennis, and boating on the pristine waters. 

The area is also a gateway to exploring nearby natural attractions, such as Gorges State Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Lake Toxaway’s exclusivity and beauty make it a premiere destination for those seeking privacy and outdoor recreation in a luxurious setting.