Appalachian Trail Community: F​ontana Dam, North Carolina

The Town of Fontana Dam in Graham County, North Carolina, is a destination almost unrivaled in terms of scenic and natural beauty and outdoor recreation. Situated on the shores of Lake Fontana and cradled by the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), Fontana Dam has long been a favorite stop for A.T. hikers before they enter the GSMNP. The A.T. crosses over the top of TVA’s 2,365 foot long Fontana Dam just one mile from the Town of Fontana Dam.

With this close crossing, the Town of Fontana Dam has always been a place where hikers can find rest, relaxation, and many hiker friendly services. In peak season in the spring, shuttle services are offered from the A.T. trailhead and Fontana Shelter to Fontana Village where a general store, outfitter, post office, and laundromat all cater to their needs. Fontana Dam is also home to the beloved “Fontana Hilton” shelter with its stunning view of Fontana Lake.

Graham County has many diverse opportunities for outdoor recreation like hiking, biking and fishing, as well as a rich cultural history showcased at the Stecoah Valley Arts Center, among other places. The town of Fontana Dam was built in the 1940s to house the workers constructing TVA’s Fontana Dam. After completion, the town became a popular tourist destination as a bustling resort and is still home to Fontana Village Resort which boasts cabins, a main lodge, swimming pools, a full service marina, disc golf, several restaurants and many other family and hiker friendly activities and events. 

In the fall of 2013, the Town of Fontana Dam partnered with the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club -​which maintains 102 miles of the A.T. ​in the area- and other local businesses to apply for the AT Community ​designation, and in the spring of 2014, Fontana Dam was designated as North Carolina’s third A.T. Community. The town is incredibly proud of this partnership and celebrates several hiker themed events each year. Hiker Haze takes place in March and is a celebration for A.T. thru-hikers featuring activities, food and fun. A Spring and Fall Hike Week take place annually in April and October with guided hikes and informative guest speakers and presenters, and Fontana Dam hosts ​a Family Hiking Day celebration each September. 

For A.T. updates and current events for Fontana Dam, please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FontanaDamAT and www.facebook.com/FontanaDam and our partners at www.grahamcountytravel.com