Lake Lure, North Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - North Carolina - Mountains -

Snuggled into the emerald mountains of western North Carolina, Lake Lure’s 720 acres sparkle in the sunlight. Clean water, beautiful scenery, and rural charm are some of the many reasons why this pristine lake was chosen by the makers of ‘Dirty Dancing’ to film scenes here. The lake has attracted vacationers for more than 85 years, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Today, the lake functions as both a hydroelectric dam and favorite recreation spot to many.

Lake Lure began in the imagination of Dr. Lucius B. Morse, who envisioned a resort community in western North Carolina. After securing financial support from his brothers, Dr. Morse purchased an initial 400 acres, and created Chimney Rock Park. Over the next several years, additional acreage was purchased, bringing the total to about 8,000 acres. At that point, Dr. Morse decided to build a dam on the Rocky Broad River to create a sapphire blue lake, perfect for year-round enjoyment. The dam was completed in 1926, and the lake filled to capacity in 1927. Dr. Morse’s wife gave the lake its name. The Town of Lake Lure was incorporated in 1927, and the hydropower plan began operations in 1928.

Perched high above the ground on a giant boulder in Chimney Rock Park, overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge and the Rocky Broad River, you are witness to the awesome beauty and wonder of nature. The river below flows from just east of Asheville, racing through the mountains to form Hickory Nut Gap, later flowing into Lake Lure. If you listen closely enough, you can almost hear the river roaring below, and hawks and eagles swoop through the sky. Thanks to its “Thermal Belt” location, Lake Lure and the valley below are bathed in sunlight, and the blue sky seems to stretch for miles. These are the sights and sounds of Lake Lure and its surrounding area, welcoming you to its outdoor playground.

A favorite activity at Lake Lure has long been fishing, and anglers swear by the bluegill, brown trout, catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, sun perch, and white bass that frequently find their way onto hooks. Fishing on Lake Lure is a contract with nature for hours of enjoyment on one of the most beautiful lakes in the state. Make sure you get your fishing license for lake fishing, trout stamps for creek and river fishing, and, as always, a boat permit.

If you love the water, but fishing isn’t your chosen activity, Lake Lure offers many other options to satisfy. All visitors should get out on the waters in one way or another, so consider renting a speed boat, pontoon boat, canoe, or kayak, depending on your speed preferences. On a lazy day, drop anchor and take a mid-lake swim, enjoying the beautiful rolling mountains and peaceful nature around you. If you’re looking to pump up your adrenaline, strap on some waterskis or grab tight to a tube, and take a fast-paced ride around the lake’s 21 miles of shoreline. Whatever your pleasure, make sure to see the lake from its best vantage point before your stay is over. Personal watercraft (PWCs) are not permitted on Lake Lure.

Though Lake Lure offers incredible beauty, you should plan to drag yourself away for at least a few hours to enjoy the magnificent vistas of Chimney Rock State Park. The park offers five main trails that vary in difficulty. All prove to be interesting hikes, promising amazing views, incredible rock formations, and a maze of stairways that will amuse and challenge you. When you reach the summit, looking out from the top of the Chimney, you’ll be greeted with 75-mile views that are hardly believable, so take your camera and your sense of awe, because these views are sure to wow you.

Many visitors to Lake Lure are true outdoor enthusiasts, and the reservoir does not disappoint. Sprinkled around its shores are five different campgrounds, offering everything from primitive camping to RV hookups. Whatever your camping pleasure, though, sleeping outdoors is a treat at Lake Lure, something you’ll realize as the sunsets and the moon’s reflection over the lake becomes the best nightlight you’ve ever had.

Lake Lure takes its reputation to heart, dressing her best for all of her visitors and residents. From hiking and fishing to sunbathing and swimming, this North Carolina lake offers something for everyone, promising to make your next visit one you’ll never forget.

Things to do at Lake Lure

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Lake Lure

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • White Bass

Lake Lure Photo Gallery

Lake Lure Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Town of Lake Lure

Surface Area: 720 acres

Shoreline Length: 21 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 911 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 911 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 911 feet

Maximum Depth: 110 feet

Water Volume: 32,295 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1927

Lake Area-Population: 1,000

Drainage Area: 95 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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