Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, USA

Tucked away amidst the ancient Appalachian Mountains is the largest private lake in North Carolina – Lake Toxaway. Lake Toxaway, spanning 640 acres, was built in 1902 by a powerful entrepreneur, E. H. Jennings. Jennings, who visited the wild, undeveloped region in 1890 fell in love with the area’s splendor and founded the resort company, Toxaway Company, in 1896 (“Toxaway” is a Cherokee word for “red bird”)….
Keep scrolling to read more.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Toxaway! Article topics include:

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

All About Lake Toxaway, NC

Tucked away amidst the ancient Appalachian Mountains is Lake Toxaway – the largest private lake in North Carolina. Lake Toxaway, spanning 640 acres, was built in 1902 by a powerful entrepreneur, E. H. Jennings. Jennings, who visited the wild, undeveloped region in 1890 fell in love with the area’s splendor and founded the resort company, Toxaway Company, in 1896 (“Toxaway” is a Cherokee word for “red bird”).

By 1902, an earth-filled dam was formed on the Toxaway River, creating a lake, and by 1903, Toxaway Inn was up, running and open for business on the lake’s banks. The Inn’s luxurious amenities and services attracted the rich and famous to its gates who arrived by railroad. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, George Vanderbilt, the Carnegies and Harvey Firestone were among some of the Inn’s guests.

Lake Toxaway, three miles long and one mile wide and with a shoreline of 14 miles, was the very first lake built in the Appalachians. High in the pristine mountains, it is situated at 3,010 feet above sea level in an area that is still largely wild and unspoiled due to its unsuitability for heavy development. Ever since the early 1900s, visitors flocked to the lake and inn, that is until August 13, 1916, when Mother Nature poured heavy rains in the area, washing away the lake’s earthen dam and further widening what is today the Toxaway Falls. The entire lake practically drained overnight! Business at the inn naturally suffered, and it was eventually demolished in 1948.

In 1961, the dam and lake were reconstructed. Lake Toxaway is still privately owned by the Lake Toxaway Company, and today is largely surrounded by exquisite and luxurious homes and estates in communities that occupy a 5000-acre stretch of land.

Only property owners and their guests have access to Lake Toxaway who enjoy swimming, boating, waterskiing, sailing and fishing. (Jet and kite skiing are not permitted.) Rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, catfish, sunfish and walleye are some common species of fish residing in the lake. Golf courses surrounded by natural beauty, tennis courts, swimming pool, fitness center, and country club are other recreational amenities accessible to estate owners and vacationers.

Real estate options on the lake range into the millions of dollars. You may have a lake home, mountain home or golf home fashioned with lavish architectural designs, or you may rent a property for vacation to get better acquainted with the lake’s community. If petite and cozy is more your taste, a small cottage might be the home that fulfils your dreams.

Lake Toxaway is surrounded by several mountains in the Nantahala National Forest. This part of North Carolina receives about 100 inches of rainfall per year. A combination of the region’s mountainous and wet habitat makes it conducive to waterfalls, many of which can be sighted from Lake Toxaway. This is why Transylvania County is called the “Land of Waterfalls.” Surrounded by so much grandeur, Lake Toxaway members can indulge in nearly every outdoor recreation possible. The Nantahala National Forest, Pisgah National Forest, and Gorges State Park, adjacent to Lake Toxaway Estates, offer plenty of hiking, backpacking, fly-fishing and camping adventures. Close to Lake Toxaway is also the DuPont Forest, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Sumter National Forest. With all of these natural preserves, options for activity are limitless. You can put your calves to burn on mountain biking trails, go canoeing, kayaking or rafting in any of the forests’ rivers, take a helicopter or motorcycle tour, straddle the back of a majestic horse and take to exploring, ride in a hot air balloon, or go climbing and snow skiing.

In the county seat of Brevard, entertain yourself with fine theatre and performing arts, or have a little mind-boggling fun at the Blue Ridge Corn Maze. In nearby Asheville, awe yourself at the royalty of the Biltmore House, the 250-room family chateau of George Vanderbilt whom E.H. Jennings visited when he first came to the region. After so many enriching experiences coupled with the first-class treatments offered by Lake Toxaway, you will feel like a king or queen.

Things to Do at Lake Toxaway

These are some activities in the Lake Toxaway, NC area visitors can enjoy:

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • State Park
  • National Park
  • National Forest

What Kind of Fish Are in Lake Toxaway?

Lake Toxaway has been known to have the following fish species:

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Lake Toxaway

If you’re considering a Lake Toxaway 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.

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase. Read our full disclosure policy here.

More Sites to Book a Lake Toxaway Vacation

Our interactive Lake Toxaway lodging map above is an easy tool for comparing VRBO rental homes and nearby hotels with, but there could be times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodations. Here are some other lake lodging partners we recommend:

Check TripAdvisor
Check Expedia
Find a Campspot
All Travel Resources

Lake Toxaway Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Lake Toxaway Company

Surface Area: 640 acres

Shoreline Length: 14 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 3,010 feet

Maximum Depth: 60 feet

Completion Year: 1961

Drainage Area: 8 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

More local lakes to explore in this area:

We strive to keep information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. If you’ve found something here that needs updating, please touch base by filling out our Content Correction form.

Shop Lake Toxaway Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Create Your Own Captain / First Mate Custom 20oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Create Your Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

Create a Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


More Lake Toxaway news from

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Lake Toxaway forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Lake Toxaway photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Lake Toxaway article with your fellow LakeLubbers: