View Full Version : Kayak/Hike Fontana Trip ideas wanted

Drala Hiker
10-11-2004, 22:09
Next weekend, Oct. 16-18, I'll be camping at Tsali on Saturday night, as that's where the guys chose to meet. For Sunday/Monday, I'm thinking of doing a Fontana sea kayak trip to a trailhead in the park, then hike in a ways, camp, and day hike uphill for a view. My first thought was to paddle from Fontana Dock, across the lake to Eagle Creek, up the creek to the Lost Cove trailhead, camp at #90 or 91, hike up to Shuckstack. We can't take a whole day to hike, since we'll have to paddle, too. We could possibly camp at Birch Spring Shelter for a bit more hiking time.

I'm open to any other suggestions for departures near the dam.

10-12-2004, 00:17
you've got the maps and as you can see including a sea kayak trip on fontana give almost unlimited possibilities....also if you dont know you can get a sea kayak shuttle from Fontana Village to the distal part of Fontana Lake and paddle back (3-4day paddle trip) again using the backcountry permit system of GSMNP to camp along the park shores.

Ironically we leave next Saturday night for a paddle trip on Lake Santeetlah with hikes into the Joyce Kilmer Reserve...we chose Santeetlah because we've paddled Fontana before.

I'm sure you've also got your mtn. bikes for the Tsali trails, another opportunity in that area....speaking of that area,if it weren't for NC state income tax I would get closure because every known sport (ok i exaggerage a bit) is opportune there.

Here is a good map of Santeetlah if ever interested:


and here is a link to four maps of the area that give a good perspective:


Enjoy your paddle/hiking trip!

and not to take anything away from Whiteblaze, if you are looking for another good paddling site (much akin to WB) go to

I did the Okefenokee paddling trip with them two Februaries ago and we saw on average of 1 gator/minutes...they dont eat so much in February!

10-12-2004, 07:14
The shelter at Birch Springs is gone, it is now a campsite.


10-12-2004, 22:08
has an excellent little article on paddling fontana and then hikes from the paddle camping spot (yep i know, too many kayaking articles/adds in a backpacking magazine)....but the sea kayak (or hikers can get a shuttle to this section of the park) is a good way to see a part of GSMNP that few ever see.....
aside from that when the expanded Benton McCaye trail is completed it will do the same but maybe on the other side of the park???

Drala Hiker
10-13-2004, 16:51
Thanks for the info MM and Young. I hear that TVA is already dropping the lake, down 15 ft. We are indeed camping the first night at Tsali, and riding on Sunday. Scott mentioned maybe staying at Snowbird lodge Sunday night. The other guys arrive Monday AM, then we'll paddle up Eagle Creek. I hear that the paddling ends just before camp #70.

I read a short article on GORP about paddling Santeetlah to the lodge's landing. That would be a good winter paddling trip!

Drala Hiker
10-13-2004, 16:54
FYI I'll be doing my first paddle with a GPS, a Magellan Sportrak Pro. It is waterproof. I'll be paddling the island off of Cedar Key, FL this winter, and a GPS is invaluable down there.

Drala Hiker
10-13-2004, 23:44
Medicine Man, I finally got a chance to check out the links you posted. Thanks again, those are great! Yeah, I need to do some sea kayaking up there. Paddling, hiking, mountain biking, camping. Sweet.

I read a trip report on www.GORP (http://www.GORP) about a paddling trip to the Snowbird Lodge landing, and staying there.
Speaking of southern paddling trips in winter, check out St. Marks Wildlife Refuge. There's an outfitter in Tallahassee that runs trips there, or used to anyways. It's a great birding place, and an estuary habitat. I was there the middle of February a few years ago to paddle. On Friday hardly anyone was there. On the weekend busloads of birders, 75% European, came to see the dozens of different avian species. We didn't see any gators. We did see a Civial War era lighthouse, right by the water, with pock marks from cannon balls from passing northern ships. Great place to paddle in non-skeeter season.