Lake Toxaway, NC

Lake Toxaway, NC is the largest private lake in North Carolina and is well established as a posh playground — a haven for the modern day affluent who prefer a low-key, but luxurious escape from the world. Its waters are so pure they are said to be drinkable. Surrounding the lake are homeowners who not only enjoy the lake but golf, tennis, hiking, fly fishing, and other activities as well.

Lake Toxaway Area Attractions

  • Gorges State Park
  • Panthertown Valley
  • Dupont Forest

Lake Toxaway History:

Like other communities in the western North Carolina mountains, Lake Toxaway began as a resort for the rich and famous of the 19th century. The Toxaway River was dammed to create Lake Toxaway, and in 1903 the Toxaway Inn opened as a destination for well-to-do people who wanted to escape the city heat in the summer. Such iconic visitors included Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and members of the Vanderbilt family. Although no longer standing, the Toxaway Inn set the standards for Lake Toxaway as we know it today.

In 1916 the lake’s earthen dam broke, sending five billion gallons of water down the mountain into South Carolina. Evidence of this can still be seen today from the overlook on Highway 64, where the soil was scrubbed off the mountainside, leaving only exposed granite and creating Toxaway Falls. This event signaled the demise of the inn and the Toxaway area went into decline.

In 1960 a group of investors bought the land with the goal of restoring the lake to its former glory. A new dam was built with current engineering technology and the lake eventually returned to its original level. The scenic Toxaway Falls below the dam is used as a water level control, something the previous dam did not have, and provides the lake its constant water level.

Popular recreational activities include boating, paddle boarding, water skiing, fishing, swimming, and hiking. Surrounding Lake Toxaway are seven mountains, as well as adjoining wilderness areas totaling more than 10,000 acres. Gorges State Park and Dupont Forest are close by.

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