Lake Keowee, South Carolina, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lake Keowee.

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Lake Keowee visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - South - South Carolina - The Upcountry -

Lake Keowee is a freshwater lake located in northwestern South Carolina at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The lake supplies water to the nearby town of Seneca and Greenville, SC. Owned by Duke Power Company, the 18,500 acre man-made reservoir has many public access ramps. Property owners enjoy waterfront homes, though much of the shoreline has not been developed. The lack of congestion draws visitors to the lake, where they can take in mountain views while basking in the warm Southern climate.

Long before the development of Lake Keowee, Cherokee Indian villages inhabited Keowee Valley. In the late 1800s, the fertile land drew in new settlers looking for farming opportunities. The lake itself came about in the 1960s when Duke Power Company seized the opportunity to construct a hydroelectric power source to serve the rapidly developing area. The company developed the Keowee-Toxaway complex, which includes three hydroelectric stations as well as the Oconee Nuclear Station, located on Lake Keowee. The nuclear station is one of the largest in the country, and Keowee’s waters are used to cool its reactors. Keowee is separated from another lake, Jocassee, by the Jocassee Hydroelectric station.

Whether you come to the lake for adventure, or you just want to relax and enjoy the scenic views, Lake Keowee has something for everyone. The surrounding mountains offer breathtaking waterfalls, rugged hiking trails and spectacular fall foliage. Fishermen flock to the lake for its largemouth and spotted bass, yellow perch and catfish. Boat rentals are available at many locations, as well as rentals for other water sports. Local private golfing communities offer serious golfers impressive courses to play. South Cove and High Falls are Oconee County parks that offer boat access and camping, hiking, and biking opportunities.

Keowee-Toxaway State Park spans 1,000 acres and has ten paved camping sites, five shaded picnicking sites and lake access for anglers. There is a museum on site for visitors who want to learn more about Lake Keowee’s Cherokee history. The three hiking trails around the park incorporate both easy and strenuous hikes.

Clemson University in nearby Clemson offers activities for culture lovers and sports enthusiasts alike, just minutes from Lake Keowee. The school’s Death Valley stadium is one of the nation’s largest football stadiums. At The Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, theater and music lovers can enjoy one of the more than 75 annual performances. The school also boasts the SC Botanical Garden, which has 295 acres of ponds, trails, woodlands and gardens.

Its close proximity to the cities Greenville, Atlanta and Charlotte make Lake Keowee a growing destination for vacationers. Residents of these busy cities come to the lake for a peaceful getaway. Other Lake Keowee visitors can enjoy being a quick trip away from the cultural and sporting events, world-class shopping and sightseeing that the larger cities offer. Other nearby areas offer activities for visitors of all types. The true adventurer can take a day trip to the Chatooga River for an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip. Lake Keowee is also just miles from the famed Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, where visitors can tour the largest privately-owned home in America.

Lake Keowee’s clear blue waters attract many visitors throughout the year. The 300 miles of serene shoreline offer vacationers a quiet place to get lost.

Custom Lake Keowee house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Lake Keowee

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Waterfall
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Keowee

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Perch
  • Spotted Bass
  • Yellow Perch

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Keowee

The Lake Keowee map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Lake Keowee photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Lake Keowee statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Duke Power Company

Surface Area: 18,372 acres

Shoreline Length: 300 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 800 feet

Average Depth: 54 feet

Maximum Depth: 297 feet

Water Volume: 910,468 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1971

Drainage Area: 439 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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