Carters Lake, Georgia, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Carters Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Carters Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Carters Lake

Positioned at the south end of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia, Carters Lake is a small, deep lake with a little over 60 miles of shoreline and approximately 3,220 acres of clear water. It is one of Georgia’s newest Great Lakes, offering plenty of traditional lake activities like boating, fishing, camping, and water sports. The lake is named for 19th century nearby property owner Farrish Carter. Carters Dam is the highest earth-filled dam east of the Mississippi River – a whopping 445 feet high! It is one of only a few “reverse dams” in the United States, where water flows down pipes to generate power during the day, and is pumped back up the generators at night to recycle the water for the next day’s use.

Carters Lake, a peaceful destination for family fun by the water, has many park areas that make it an ideal location for nature lovers. These designated areas have been developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide visitors with places to relax on the lake’s beach, areas to camp, and other recreational activities. Six public boat ramps are available to boaters. The lake took 15 years to construct and was finished in 1977 after damming the Coosawattee River that runs into Georgia from Tennessee.

Anglers flock to Carters Lake for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, hybrid bass, striped bass, walleye, crappie, bream, and catfish. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources actively stocks the lake with walleye, striped bass, and hybrid bass. Although shoreline fishing on Carters Lake is limited due to steep terrain, anglers have additional fishing opportunities on the peaceful lower lake (reregulation pool) and the swift waters of the Coosawattee River.

Miles of hiking, biking, and nature trails stretch along the lake’s shoreline, and gorgeous sloping hills provide a perfect, natural setting away from it all. Look to the north and east parts of Carters Lake to enjoy beautiful mountain views beyond the dam. No private docks or development obstruct the lake’s naturally scenic shoreline; this is truly one of Georgia’s best kept secrets. Exciting nature hikes abound along Carters Lake, including the Oak Ridge Trail, which runs lakeside and finishes near a creek. Another great trail in the area is Tumbling Waters which takes hikers to a gorgeous waterfall, one of the few falls not hidden underneath the lake. Even the casual hiker can take a walk on the Hidden Pond Songbird Trail, an easy hike that takes visitors to a beaver pond. If the most scenic route is desired, take a stab at the Carters Lake Nature Trail itself, which is near the visitor center.

The north central Georgia location of Carters Lake has a rich Native American and Civil War background, with several important historical sites nearby, including the Chief Vann House State Historic Site and several well-preserved Cherokee ruins and plantation homes. Located in nearby Calhoun, New Echota Historic Site is home to the Cherokee nation capital and the first Indian language newspaper.

Several festivals take place throughout the year in the lake’s surrounding areas to honor Native American history and heritage. Also nearby is Ellijay, an area famous for its fall apple harvests and home to an Apple Festival complete with apple tastings and orchard tours. Carters Lake is conveniently located about an hour drive from both the busy city of Atlanta and the charming city of Chattanooga, TN.

Although built for flood control and hydroelectric power generation, Carters Lake has become a major recreation destination for boating, fishing, camping, and water sports. Whether visitors come here to fish, camp, hike, bike, or just to enjoy and learn about the deeply historical landscape, Carters Lake will provide genuine outdoor fun for every lake lover.

Things to Do at Carters Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Waterfall
  • Ruins

Fish Species Found at Carters Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Carters Lake

If you’re considering a Carters Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Carters Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Carters Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Carters Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 3,220 acres

Shoreline Length: 62 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,074 feet

Average Depth: 119 feet

Maximum Depth: 450 feet

Water Volume: 383,600 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1977

Lake Area-Population: 6,384

Drainage Area: 373 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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