Lake Lure may very well be one of North Carolina’s best-kept secrets. This public, man-made lake, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is home to just over 1,000 locals.
By Justine Griffin; photos courtesy Lake Lure Water Ski Club
Lake Lure may very well be one of North Carolina’s best-kept secrets. This public, man-made lake, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is home to just over 1,000 locals. The quiet atmosphere and warm, glasslike waters make it a perfect destination for any water skier looking to get away from it all.
Lake Lure lies in the Hickory Nut Gorge, just east of Asheville. The lake itself is over 720 acres and up to 80 feet deep with nearly 21 miles of shoreline. The lake is known for its three long coves and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. “The mountains block out the wind, so you can always find good water,” says Genevieve Helms, owner and operator of Lake Lure Adventure Co., a water ski, wakeboard and wakeskate center based on the lake. The Lake Lure Ski Club, the only ski club on the lake, is in charge of a single slalom course located in one of the long coves. The course is a wally-sinker system, which remains submerged underwater when not in use. “Most people don’t even know it’s there,” says Russell Pitts, the Lake Lure mayor pro tempore and state marine commissioner. Visitors interested in ripping the course must be a guest of a ski club member or a member themselves.
Although Lake Lure is a public lake, the town of Lake Lure puts a cap on how many boat permits are issued every year to reduce boat traffic. According to Pitts, 70 percent of registered boats are for recreational use and the remaining 30 percent are for commercial use. PWCs are not allowed on the lake. “Water skiing is part of our heritage here,” says Pitts. “We’re taking progressive steps to further the sport on our lake.” For visitors looking for a pull behind a boat, Lake Lure Adventure Co.’s USA Water Ski-certified staff can show them the lake or teach a lesson from behind a MasterCraft ProStar 197 or X-2.
Though the busy boat season usually starts Memorial Day weekend and lasts through Labor Day, locals like Lake Lure Ski Club president Lynn Carnes enjoy the glassy, quiet waters in a drysuit as early as January. “Personally, I ski about once every month,” says Carnes. “You can’t find better water than out here in the mornings. It’s beautiful.”
The beautiful mountain scenery of Lake Lure can be seen in classic films such as Dirty Dancing and The Last of the Mohicans. Aside from boating on the lake, the town of Lake Lure is less than an hour from Asheville, or “Beer City USA,” which is home to a number of local breweries. Chimney Rock Park is a popular site for hiking that offers a beautiful view of the lake and the Blue Ridge Mountains from elevations close to 3,000 feet. Many resort complexes line the shores of the lake, such as the historical Lake Lure Inn & Spa and Rumbling Bald Resort and golf course.