View Full Version : Fontana Dam Parking

08-03-2014, 16:41
Several of my friends and I are planning a section hike and I'm curious about the parking at the Fontana Dam Visitors Center. I read in an archive post that theres parking at the visitors center as well as the trailhead, but from what I can tell the trail runs right past the visitors center. There was also some mention that parking at the trailhead would be bad if they closed the dam to vehicle traffic which would result in vehicles getting stuck there. Is there anyone that can clarify the parking situation for me? The link to the post that I am referring is here: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-8430.html

Our plan is to end at the visitors center and have our car waiting for us. Thanks for the help.

08-03-2014, 17:12
The parking lot is south of the dam. You'll come out of the Park, cross the dam, and then get to the parking lot. So, if the dam is closed for some reason (don't know why it would be...), you should still be able to get out of the parking lot.
Enjoy your hike!

08-03-2014, 18:34
The AT crosses the dam and therefore goes right in front of the visitor's center.

There is parking at the visitor's center, there is parking just past the dam, and there is limited parking where the AT and Lakeshore trail connect (about 1 mile past the visitor's center).

The dam has been closed to vehicle traffic before due to repairs. But if the dam was going to close due to planned repairs, I would expect a sign letting you know ahead of time.

The dam has some damage, so I guess it would be possible they could unexpectedly close the dam if the damage suddenly got worse, but it would seem like something pretty major to occur that they would require someone to abandon a vehicle on the far side (bad enough that they would likely close the dam to foot traffic as well). I've parked on the far side before and will happily do so again in the future.

08-04-2014, 07:17
Parking at the Visitors' Center is very safe and convenient. Did it last Labor Day weekend. Loved the showers and ice cream/soda at the store. :)

08-04-2014, 13:36
Thank you all. That sounds good, we will plan on doing that then. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something.

08-04-2014, 15:08
Like others have said--it's rare that the road over the dam is closed...

ive only heard of them closing it for two reasons---terrorists and repairs...

however, if it is closed----there is a road to get around it....

Its an dirt road, probably rutted, and has some cemeteries along it----but it goes from just past the dam on be trailhead side and will dump ya out on the tail water end below dam...

blue indian
08-05-2014, 10:03
I left my car at the visitors center for a week not too long ago. No problems except they were repaving the lot when I got back and sorta had my jeep trapped. But they were nice about it and I got the jeep out.

Would do it again

08-07-2014, 09:35
If there's a planned closing at the dam, it will be posted. So, unless something drastic happens, it should be okay to park at the trailhead.