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Nestled into the pristine Appalachian mountains of northwestern South Carolina and southwestern North Carolina, Lake Jocassee reaches its watery depths down 300 feet and out over 7,500 acres. Burying underwater an area once home to part of the Cherokee nation, the lake was originally built for hydro-electric power generation by Duke Power. The Jocassee Hydroelectric Station is located in the southeastern corner of the reservoir, separating Lake Jocassee from Lake Keowee. The Jocassee facility is a pump-back station, where hydroelectric power is generated during peak demand, then water is pumped back into the lake during low demand. Lake Jocassee also serves as a prime recreation location, attracting visitors from miles around.
Quiet and beautiful, Lake Jocassee is almost entirely surrounded by public property -- mostly state-owned Sumter National Forest -- and is one of the best places in the state to get away from it all. Chilled Appalachian Mountain waters flow down into the lake from four rivers (Thompson, Whitewater, Toxaway and Horsepasture), keeping it refreshingly cool and ideal for water activities year-round. Gorgeous mountains hug the shores of the reservoir, making for breathtaking green vistas, sheer cliffs, and incredible cascading waterfalls.
Along the shores of the lake, you'll find Devils Fork State Park, an expanse of 622 picturesque acres. Created in 1990, the park is home to the area's diverse flora and fauna, including the rare Oconee Bell. A delicate pink and white wildflower indigenous only to this area of North and South Carolina, 90-95% of the Oconee Bell world population is found within the park.
Devils Fork State Park is one of the newest parks in the country, offering visitors some of the most modern facilities possible. Lake villas, camping facilities, and RV hookups dot the forest and provide a welcome shelter after a long day of fun in the South Carolina sun. Take a long walk along the park's two hiking trails: Oconee Bell Nature Trail, 1.5 miles of moderately difficult path, will guide you through a pine and hardwood forest, complete with the park's famous flower. The second hiking trail, 3.5 miles long, winds through hardwood forest, blooming rhododendron, and dainty mountain laurel. Along your way, you may catch a glimpse of the blue lake waters and the area's bald eagles, black bear, peregrine falcons, and white-tail deer, so make sure to take your camera along.
One of the lake's most popular activities is its legendary fishing, with state records held for brown trout, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass. And if fishing isn't your pleasure, taking a boat out into the crystalline lake waters and dipping your toes in for a cool moment might be just what you're looking for. But no matter what your pleasure, Lake Jocassee is the ideal destination to take a break from city life and get back to nature.
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