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  1. #1

    Default Cable Cove USFS to GSMNP # 86 via Canoe/Kayak Western N. Carolina

    Wanting to do this trip to GSMNP campsite #86 by canoe and kayak. It looks like we can release at Cable Creek USFS and then cross Fontana Lake and head up Hazel Creek to camp site #86. Has anyone done this? Anything I should know? Lake Levels at this time of the year, are they a problem? Can we dump the canoes/kayaks once we get across Fontana and hike up to #86 if needed?


    Thanks for any help

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    yup.....

    ive done a few trips leaving from cable cove.......

    there's a public boat ramp at the end of the road that the campground is on...

    ive parked there maybe 4 or 5 times for overnighters and havent had any problems....

    basically, hazel creek is just to the left going across the lake....

    a suggestion----while going up the hazel creek watershed, paddle on the left side...............there's at least one cemetery that is only accessible by boat....you'll see a landing and a road bed.......

    and going on memory---there may be a really nice chimney back in that area.....

    the lake will be down a bit---ive only paddled in summer---so not sure how it will affect going over there...

    if the water is up enough, you may be able to paddle pretty close to the campsite....

    the campsite sits right on the creek, but i cant remember how rocky it is back there...

    and your mile may vary, but for the overnighters i have done paddling over, and then hiking into somewhere---i tend to lock my boat up...

    i have seen other people just leave their boats on shore but i like the safety of knowing i wont be stranded (cause that happened to me once before)....

    if you have the strength and stamina to do an all day paddle---i highly suggest checking out the eagle creek copper mine...

    but, if you paddle like i do----its basically an all day trip.......


    hope that helps.....

  3. #3

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    thanks for the quick reply, I'm a leisure paddler and my kids are going with me. How long does it take from the launch at cable to the camp #87? I don't want to be in the water at dark with my kids...(I want to plan accordingly). My thinking it should only be three or so hours paddlin'. Sound about right?

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    well----if you go to 87 (which is the island i almost got stranded on), you could launch from the marina and it would make it a shorter trip than coming from cable cove.....

    and same thing with parking down there---parked there a bunch of times without any problems.......

    its a public launch and the people at the marina have always been nice to me...

    and paddling from there to 87 at my speed, was more like an hour or so.........depending upon lake and wind conditions but i dont seem to recall it taking long...

    however, if you wanna keep going past the island site, and go up to the mine---then yes, factor in a couple of more hours...

    as for paddling from cable cove to 87, i dont think that took me that long either...........its obviously a little longer, but i dont remember it taking a long time....

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    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    If you use Google Earth or Google Maps to look at the current satellite images of the area, the lake levels were about what these images show when I was hiking in that area earlier this year... maybe a little bit higher.

    What that means is that the point Hazel Creek dumps into the lake is going to be along that narrow strait-away just beyond the tight-narrow U-Turn.

    The embankment in that area is pretty high. The only places that it is feasible to land is on the beach on the right side of that narrow U-turn, or an area near the elbow in the creek just before you reach campsite #86. If you land on the beach at the U-Turn, it is a 0.6 mile hike to the campsite. If you can paddle up stream to about the elbow, there is a slopped path that can walk to get from the lake level to the top of the embankment.

    If you stay at campsite #86, make sure to take some time to walk over to the Proctor Cemetery, Granville Calhoun's House, and the Ritter Mill site.
    From #86, continue following the path way from the lake for less than 1/4 mile where you will find a bridge that crosses Hazel Creek to join LakeShore trail.
    Turn left from the bride and you will immediately be at Granville Calhoun's House.
    Continue along LakeShore for about 1/2 mile. As the path starts to leave Hazel Creek, you will see a stair case on the right. Follow that stair case to Proctor Cemetery. It's the largest and perhaps most actively decorated cemetery in the park I've ever seen.
    From the bridge, if you hike up Hazel Creek for about 1/2 mile, you will find the remains of the Ritter Mill site on the left. The site includes a few small white buildings/sheds right by the trail, and walkways that will lead you to what remains of the mill. The huge depression you see between the trail (old railroad grade) and the mill is the mill pond where the trees floated until the lumber could be cut.

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    If you use Google Earth or Google Maps to look at the current satellite images of the area, the lake levels were about what these images show when I was hiking in that area earlier this year... maybe a little bit higher.


    how current are the images in google earth?

    im looking at it right now.....


    and in google earth, it shows the little cove and has a marker for the fireplace i was talking about....



    of course, the other option is to land over at ollie's cove and walk in.......

    but, that will add a walk of over a mile to the campsite.....

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    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    how current are the images in google earth?
    In the lower left, there is a little box with 1994 inside it. If you click that, it should bring up a slider in the top left corner that will allow you to look at any of their historical images.

    The most recent image of the area is dated 10/2015.
    Using the slider, the next most recent image is 4/2013 where the water level is almost the same (if you look carefully you can see the lake has ever so slightly crept up the creek).
    Before that are images of 10/2009 and 10/2008 where the beach area is totally under water and the lake reaches far up the creek.
    Keep going back to B/W images that show the beach again in 3/1998 and submerged once again back in 4/1994.

    If you shift over to campsite #90, you can see what looks like a fire ring on the large beach area right beside the camp site in 10/2015. Back up to 10/2008 and it's totally under water.
    Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 12-10-2015 at 19:56.

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    Yeah...

    thats a Fire ring with chairs and furniture made outta rocks that comes out when water is drawn down....

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    i did a paddle trip from the Marina to CS86 several years ago in mid October. the lake was drawn down (not sure if it was already drawn down to the normal winter pond) but it wasn't hard to land the boat. wind was an issue... not easy paddling across the channel with wind in your face. gloves are a good idea. it's a great campsite by the way... lots of stuff to see near by as HooKooDooKu has already mentioned.

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