High Country Info

Wildcat Lake

Wildcat Lake is Back & Better Than Ever!


One of the best things the small mountain town of Banner Elk NC can boast is a beach—on the 13-acre Wildcat Lake, located up Hickory Nut Gap Road.

Wildcat Lake officially re-opened in May of 2009. A new dam, new pier, new sand and new fish are all back in place. Upgraded picnic facilities, including two shelters, play areas and a bath house all are available. There is no charge to use any of the facilities, although state fishing licenses are required, and reservations for use of the picnic shelters are necessary. Lifeguards are on duty during summer hours.

The lake was built during the height of the Depression to answer a need for electric power in the rural Appalachian Mountains. It provided an emergency water source for volunteer fire fighters. It also answered a need for recreation for the people of this region some 76 years ago.

The beautiful shores of Wildcat Lake have long been a magnet for summer swimmers, enjoying the cold waters and the adjacent park for picnics, reunions, even weddings.

Click here for directions to Wildcat Lake, Banner Elk NC