Lake Powhatan, North Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - North Carolina - Mountains -

Just outside of Asheville in North Carolina’s Mountains region, little Lake Powhatan offers a refreshing change of pace to the city. The reservoir lies completely within the Pisgah National Forest and boasts a popular National Forest campground that is in major demand. The 13-acre lake was created when Bent Creek was dammed in 1942 to provide for recreation, fishing and wildlife conservation. It is particularly fitting that the campground is located adjacent to the 6000-acre Bent Creek Experimental Forest and is operated by the Cradle of Forestry In America Interpretive Association. Only 10 miles from Asheville, Lake Powhatan is a favorite among hikers, mountain bikers and nature lovers.

Lake Powhatan offers nearly 100 campsites with varying levels of amenities and can even handle a few larger RVs. A sandy beach area is perfect for children, while the heavily wooded campground offers spectacular views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Located only a short distance from the popular Blue Ridge Parkway, the entire campground blends perfectly with the surrounding forests. The serenity is unmarred as the small lake doesn’t permit boats of any type. Instead, fishermen angle for rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, largemouth bass and bluegill in the clear waters. There is an accessible pier near the dam and places for shoreline fishing. A special trout fishing license is required for all anglers. Non-campers can access the lake for fishing and swimming by paying a daily fee. A one-mile trail around Lake Powhatan is an easy and pleasant walk.

This area of western North Carolina is steeped in history. The lake was named after Chief Powhatan, rumored to be the father of Pocahontas and a widespread subject of Native American folklore across much of the South. The Cradle of Forestry, originally the Biltmore Forest School, was the first school of forestry in the United States, begun over a hundred years ago. The school was first created and operated under the direction of the builder of the Biltmore Estate, George Washington Vanderbilt II. The Biltmore Forest School played an important role in the formulation of the U.S. Forest Service. The campground at Lake Powhatan is only one of several campgrounds operated in the area by the Cradle of Forestry. A few miles away, the Cradle of Forestry operates a Forest Discovery Center with interpretive exhibits and historic information on this famous forest ‘experiment’.

Also not far away, the Pisgah Visitors Center, located at the Pisgah Rangers Station, provides campground information, guides to the Pisgah National Forest, gifts, and hiking and biking trail maps. The trails in the area draw thousands of visitors each year.

The many trails in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest can easily be reached via Lake Powhatan or the highway near the North Carolina Arboretum. Lake Powhatan Campground visitors find it a comfortable mile walk to the Arboretum with its many colorful and interesting gardens and exhibits. Bent Creek Experimental Forest is the favorite location of mountain bikers as the trails can easily be accessed from Asheville, and they are varied and of differing levels of difficulty. Some of the best are considered to be Boyd Branch-0.7 miles, Campground Connector-0.6 miles, Deerfield Loop-0.8 miles, Deer Lake Lodge-1.4 miles, Explorer Loop-3 miles, Greens Lick-2.5 miles, Hardtimes Connector-0.9 miles, Homestead-1 mile, Ingles Field Connector-0.3 miles, Ingles Field Gap-1.5 miles and several more. The trails intersect, and one could spend days riding the many connected trails. Because so many mountain bikers arrive here to take advantage of the trails on weekends, the area’s trails are patrolled by the Southeastern Mountain Bike Patrol. Hiking is common in the area, with autumn color one of the most popular times for walking the many trails. Both guided mountain bike tours and horseback trail riding can be arranged in the surrounding area. Bent Creek itself is a well-known trout fishing destination.

Part of the reason Lake Powhatan and the campground are so popular is easy access to Asheville with the city’s many food and entertainment venues. Nearly every Lake Powhatan first-time visitor will want to tour the nearby 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate and explore the 250-room Biltmore House, gardens, winery and farm. There is enough to see at Biltmore, the country’s largest privately-maintained mansion, that most local residents have made numerous visits. An auto tour of nearby waterfalls is also a popular side-trip. Nearby, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an international Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage location.

Asheville shopping and entertainment provides a wide variety of unique shops, restaurants, galleries and museums. The River Arts District is the ideal place to view and shop for locally created art. Not all shopping venues are pricey. Asheville has outlet shopping and a district that features thrift shops and unique small shops. Craft breweries are numerous and popular. Professional theater productions are available at NC Stage Company. Asheville is home to the Thomas Wolfe Home museum and the Colburn Earth Science Museum. Festivals are scheduled year round, and everyone will find at least one favorite to delight their senses.

There is no shortage of lodging opportunities with the wealth of mountain scenery surrounding Lake Powhatan. Inns, campgrounds, guest resorts, spas, bed & breakfasts, luxury hotels, guest cottages and private vacation rentals can be found. Real estate is available bordering the nearby creeks with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. So, plan a visit to Lake Powhatan to swim in the cool waters and enjoy the many trails in the area.

*Official statistics for Lake Powhatan are not available. Our statistical information comes form another commercial website with no sources listed.

Things to do at Lake Powhatan

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • National Forest
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Powhatan

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Lake Powhatan Photo Gallery

Lake Powhatan Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Forest Service

Surface Area: 13 acres

Shoreline Length: 1 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,152 feet

Water Volume: 79 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1942

Drainage Area: 6 sq. miles

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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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