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Alabama's Mountain Region contains the state's largest lake: Lake Guntersville. Cradled in the Appalachian foothills of northern Alabama, Lake Guntersville is located between Bridgeport and Guntersville, stretching out over 75 miles into Tennessee (near Chattanooga) and occupying 69,000 acres. Truly a beautiful place to vacation and live, Lake Guntersville was chosen by Relocate America as one of "The 100 Best Places to Live in America."
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) created Guntersville Reservoir by constructing the Guntersville Dam across the Tennessee River in 1939. Lake Guntersville was named for John Gunter, an early Scottish settler and adopted Cherokee tribe member, who founded the town of Guntersville shortly after the American Revolution. Congress authorized Guntersville Reservoir for flood control, navigation, and hydropower generation. Recreation, water supply, and fish and wildlife habitat enhancement are additional benefits of this beautiful reservoir. Because Lake Guntersville is part of the Tennessee River navigation channel, water levels fluctuate only two feet between maximum summer pool and lower winter pool. The TVA built two locks on Guntersville Reservoir to handle river traffic.
Even if you're not planning a move to Guntersville Lake, you owe it to yourself to take a weekend or week to explore this incredible lake. There are year-round events to occupy your days if you so choose. Triathlons, cook-offs, fishing tournaments, the MOVA (Mountain Valley) Songwriters Festival, boating races, fireworks, and more fill the schedule, promising to accentuate your days and evenings with food, fun, and fellowship.
In between concerts, presentations, and other activities, you will find myriad sights and scenes to fill your days. Lake Guntersville State Park, a 6,000-acre woodland haven, is home to migrating birds, gentle deer, soaring bald eagles, and other native wildlife. Guntersville State Park offers almost every conceivable amenity to its visitors, and highlights include an 18-hole championship golf course, miles of hiking trails, a sandy beach, fully-equipped picnic area, and some of the most incredible views you will experience in your lifetime. Accommodations include a hotel with conference center, lakeside cabins, and mountain chalets.
Fifteen minutes north of Lake Guntersville is the spectacular Cathedral Caverns State Park, with superlatives such as the world's largest cavern entrance and largest stalagmite forest. You will gaze in awe at formations with names like Mystery River, Goliath, Big Rock Canyon, and Frozen Waterfall.
Fishing on Guntersville Lake is very good, a fact proven by the presence of ESPN fishing tournaments and other pro competitions. Bluegill, catfish, crappie, longear sunfish, redear sunfish, and sauger join the lake's largemouth bass to create an angling experience like no other. Though the 15-inch minimum for largemouth bass may seem restrictive, fishing on Lake Guntersville is so good that dedicated fishing usually brings in largemouth up to an incredible 24 inches. With fishing like this, every angler should partake; bring a good attitude, some patience, and your rod and reel and prepare to catch your next prize fish.
If you don't bring your own boat, Lake Guntersville offers several locations from which to rent, so everyone can partake in this special lake activity. More than 900 miles of shoreline await your exploration. Each mile reveals a special something: sheer cliffs fall into the lake, deer venture to the water's edge, and spectacular flora dot the landscape. Watch as clouds float overhead, enjoy the feeling of cool water against your skin as you dip your feet in, and bask in the warmth of the Alabama sun. Take a few hours to stop your boat and jump into the lake, indulging in a bit of aquatic refreshment. Lake Guntersville is truly a destination with much to offer.
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