High Falls Lake, Georgia, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Georgia - Historic Heartland -

High Falls Lake is a beautiful 650-acre lake hidden in the dense pine woods of Monroe County, Georgia. Located between the cities of Macon and Atlanta, adjoining High Falls State Park and its unique rocky landscape provide a perfect setting for fishing, camping, boating and hiking.

The main attraction of 1,050-acre High Falls State Park is a breathtaking, rock-strewn waterfall created by the Towaliga River as it spills down the steep banks of the riverbed. In the early 1800s, two small dams were built across the Towaligia Falls and the rushing water was used to provide energy for farmers to grind wheat and corn. Sawmills and gristmills soon followed, turning the area into a prospering industrial town. When a major railroad bypassed the area, High Falls became a ghost town and the industry vanished. Around the turn of the century, the Towaligia Falls Power Company built a large single dam across the Towaligia Falls. The resulting flooding created High Falls Lake. In 1905, the Georgia Hydro-Electric Company purchased the dam and powerhouse and made it operational. In 1930, ownership was transferred to the Georgia Power Company which later closed the plant and sold the property to a lumber company. Eventually the land and plant were donated to the Georgia Game and Fish Commission, which turned it over to the State Parks Department.

High Falls Lake is rated as one of the best largemouth bass-fishing lakes in the state. The crystal-clear water is also home for channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, striped bass and bream. Bluegill and redear (shellcracker) are also plentiful in the shallow areas. Both striped bass and hybrids were stocked in the lake until 2006. Since then, only striper stocking has continued to support a state-wide effort to reestablish the native striped bass into the watershed. A large fishing dock on the lake is a great way to introduce children to the sport of fishing. Note: Although most fish taken from Georgia lakes and streams are safe to eat, refer to the Georgia Consumption Guidelines (link below) before eating fish caught from any Georgia waterway.

There are two boat ramps for access onto High Falls Lake. Horsepower is limited to 10, making the lake’s calm surface a paddler’s paradise. A campground, picnic areas, canoe, kayak rentals, and paddleboat rentals are also available. Swimming in the lake and river is not allowed, but a large pool is available for park visitors wishing to take a refreshing dip. Other park recreation includes a miniature golf course, a gift store, a campground for tent and RV camping, picnic shelters, seasonal programs, lake tours, and a summer camp for kids. Vacation rentals and real estate can be found in the small towns surrounding High Falls Lake.

For outdoor enthusiasts and bird watchers, 4.5 miles of hiking trails loop through the lush woods surrounding High Falls Lake. One of the park’s biggest draws is its abundance of flora, native birds, and wildlife. History buffs may want to hike to the site of an old grist mill. Many of the trails lead to various ruins and dam structures dating back to the 1800s. There are also several river overlooks that offer a panoramic view of the falls.

Additional outdoor recreation can be found at 528-acre Indian Springs State Park, a short drive from High Falls Lake. Indian Springs is said to be the oldest state park in the nation. It was acquired by the state of Georgia in 1825 and became an official “State Forest Park” in 1927. The Creek Indians used the springs to heal the ill. During the 1800s, the area was a bustling resort town. Today, visitors can still sample the spring water while enjoying the park’s cottages, camping, swimming, hiking, fishing and boating.

Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge and Rum Creek Wildlife Management Area located southeast of High Falls Lake. Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge covers 35,000 acres of predominantly loblolly pine and hardwood trees. Clear streams and beaver ponds provide an ideal wetland habitat for migrating waterfowl. The refuge is home to a number of birds including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. There are several walking trails through the refuge as well as a self-guided wildlife drive. Rum Creek Wildlife Management Area is a 5,739-acre area open to hunting, fishing, boating, hiking and camping. Lake Juliette, a 3,600-acre body of water located within the area, was built to provide water to one of the nation’s largest coal-fired power plants. Along with anglers and boaters, the lake attracts a number of birds such as osprey and grebes.

Also of interest to wildlife lovers will be the Oconee National Forest, east of High Falls Lake. Oconee covers 114,641 acres and includes a waterfowl conservation project to protect waterfowl and wading birds, as well as other birds and wildlife. A viewing deck provides an opportunity to observe the progress of the project. Lake Sinclair, located within the forest, offers camping opportunities along with swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing, hiking, horseback riding, and, of course, relaxation.

Children of all ages will enjoy the Dauset Trails Nature Center located in the town of Jackson, just northeast of High Falls Lake. The nature center has an animal rehabilitation center, fish-feeding pond, hiking and equestrian trails, and a number of wildlife exhibits.

The historic town of McDonough, established in 1823, is 20 miles north of High Falls Lake. Offering unique shops, antiques and both casual and fine dining, this town is definitely worth a visit. Its nationally recognized Main Street area features a 1920s prototype service station as a welcome center.

With its incredible scenery, High Falls Lake and State Park has a wide variety of recreational activities designed to attract even the most experienced of outdoor souls. From hiking trails which meander through gorgeous wooded areas to fishing and even a boat launch, there’s never a shortage of things to do at and near High Falls Lake.

Things to do at High Falls Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • National Forest
  • Ruins
  • Miniature Golf
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at High Falls Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish

High Falls Lake Photo Gallery

High Falls Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Georgia State Parks Department

Surface Area: 650 acres

Shoreline Length: 22 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 587 feet

Maximum Depth: 20 feet

Completion Year: 1900

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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