The Casual Kayaker   -    Location reports of my flatwater kayaking

Lake Glenville, Jackson County, NC, June 30, 2011

Lake Glenville, Jackson County, NC,
June 30, 2011

Attribute Rating - (view rating system scale)
Scenic Quality 3.5
Wildlife 2
Water Quality 5
Quietude 3
Boating Traffic 2.5

Boat ramp/ kayak put-in location: N 35.19576 W 083.15011
Wildlife Resources Comm./Duke Energy Boating Access on Pine Creek Road off NC 107. Traveling on NC 107, the interstection of 107 and Pine Creek Road is at coordinates N 35.18779 W 083.13489.
Alternate Ramp location: N 35.19451 W 083.17338, pass the first ramp and continue on across the dam on Pine Creek Road off NC 107.

Destination point: north end of Lake Glenville

Download the .kmz file for this location report (for Google Earth) -

Download the combined .kmz file for all location reports -

If you don't have Google earth, you can still view the track on Google earth in this window.

Lake Glenville
is in Jackson County, NC. To reach it from Cashiers, go north on NC 107. From Sylva/Dillsboro/Cullowhee take NC 107 south.

Boat Access Ramps: At the interstection of NC 107 and Pine Creek Road at coordinates N 35.18779 W 083.13489, turn onto Pine Creek Road. This goes directly up a hill on a narrow winding mountain road, heavily shaded under trees. Follow this road and the pavement will improve as it gets closer to the lake, though it remains very narrow. It is approximately 1.25 miles to the first boat access sign shown below. The sharp left turn required for this ramp from this direction is difficult with a trailer, but if you continue some 50 feet past there is a wide graveled turn-around on the left where you can turn around easily and come back to the entrance If you choose to take the second boat access ramp, just continue on past this entrance and you will cross over the dam. About 1.5 miles beyond the first boat access you will come to the second boat acccess ramp at coordinates N 35.19451 W 083.17338, with entrances on either end of it.

The sign at the first boat access entrance.

At Lake Glenville we met two other kayakers who arrived as we were getting set-up. The four of us headed out due west from the ramp, but we let them go on ahead, as we were paddling slower, and I was stopping to take photos. We passed two small islands and paddled into the northwest finger of the lake where the other two kayakers were headed.

Lake Glenville has the potential to be a pleasant and scenic place for kayaking.

It started out pleasantly enough, but beyond the islands there was a lot of boat traffic, from pontoon boats to ski-doos to ski boats pulling tubers (it seems nobody actually "skis" anymore - too much work I guess). There was home after home and dock after dock here, separated by short shady stretches of trees and profusely blooming Rhododendron. The sounds of boats, chainsaws, lawnmowers, tractors and backhoes assailed us as we paddled nearly to the end of the finger and met the other two kayakers on their way back. We turned around at that point and headed back ourselves. We frequently had to stop and face into oncoming wakes from boats and wait them out before continuing. It was not the sort of paddling we had envisioned, and was a rude awakening from the pleasurable trip on Bear Creek Lake of the previous day.

We spent too much time facing oncoming boat wakes to ride them out.

We stopped on the larger of the two islands at this point for lunch. There was a wide sandy/clay beach to easily haul out and a clearing with makeshift bench to sit in the shade. Two families on a pontoon boat had also tied up to the island, but stayed on the boat while the kids played and screamed in the shallow water. It was not a quiet lunch. There is a profusion of poison ivy/poison oak here, but it's easily avoided if you pay attention to where you are going. After our lunch and rest break we climbed into our kayaks once again and headed south to explore the second northwestern finger of the lake.

The housing density here is quite beyond my comfort level, and seriously detracts from the overall potential of Lake Glenville to be a paddling site of note.

Here too, there were too many homes and floating docks lining the shore, intermingled with short stretches of Rhododendron. While this finger was wider than the first, there was no less boating traffic. The additional space lessened the affects, but it was still something of a distraction on what could have been a more pleasurable excursion.

Like the other lakes we paddled here, Glenville boasts a profusion of flowering Rhododendron.

We paddled about half way down the second finger, then back east and north again, deciding we had already had enough of Glenville for the day. Later I learned that had we gone to the end we would have found one of the waterfalls. We returned to the boat ramp and loaded everything up. The other two paddlers had already given up as well and had left before we even got back to the boat ramp. I can only assume their opinion of Lake Glenville mirrored our own.

I will summaraize by saying, if you haven't already guessed it, that Lake Glenville was something of a disappointment for us. Too much boating traffic ruined an otherwise pleasant paddling experience. As a point of reference, this trip was on Thursday of the week just before the 4th of July weekend holiday. It may have affected the amount of traffic, but based on the great profusion of houses and docks, I doubt this day was any different from any other summer day on Lake Glenville.

This is a large lake, and is heavily residential, with a subsequently high volume of motorized boating. We spent far too much of our time sitting and facing into boat wakes, waiting for them to subside, which was a huge distraction from the otherwise pleasant scenic value of the mountainous surroundings. It may have been that if we'd gone much farther south on the lake things might have improved. It certainly looked promising from the satellite views on Google Earth.

We may try to return and put in closer to the south end of the lake, perhaps at Signal Ridge Marina, where a boat access is indicated, but I do not know if it is public or private. I would be willing to give this a try, but only in the off season. I have no desire to return to Lake Glenville in the summer.


Update: July 5, 2011 -

Since returning from this trip and posting this entry, I have had time to research the locations of waterfalls on Lake Glenville (Norton Falls, Mill Creek Falls, and Hurricane Falls). I have added the information for those locations to the Google Earth file - TheCasualKayaker_LakeGlenville_6-30-11.kmz
Right-clicking on the stickpins in Google Earth will offer you "Properties" where you can read more details and a link to a map from another website with the falls marked on it.

Please note we did NOT see these falls or reach them (we didn't even know they were there so we didn't look), but I am 95% sure these locations are correct.

"If you're not paddling, you're not getting anywhere."

Next article ›››    Wolf Creek Lake, Jackson County,NC, July 1, 2011

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When I first began kayaking I found a most helpful blog by Tom Haynie that aided me greatly in finding and choosing new flatwater locations. His blog was infinitely more detailed and useful than anything I found on kayaking forums. I quickly resolved to share my own impressions of locations I've visited, including details I believe to be important and helpful, in hopes of providing practical information to others. I sincerely hope you find something useful and helpful here. (For more location reports visit Tom's blog at

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