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Located in west central Georgia in the Presidential Pathways region, Lake Oliver is a 2,150-acre lake that has one shoreline in Georgia and the other in Alabam's River Heritage region. Formed by the Chattahoochee River and the Oliver Dam, the lake is part of the Georgia Power lakes, which also includes Lake Harding, Goat Rock Lake, and North Highlands Lake. Completed in 1959, the Oliver Dam was created to help supply hydroelectric power to the region and is the main water supply for the City of Columbus. Lake Oliver is located north of North Highlands Lake and south of Goat Rock Lake in Muscogee County, a mecca for outdoor recreation for the last 20 years.
Activities at Lake Oliver include fishing, bank fishing, hunting, water skiing, picnicking, hiking, biking, boating, and kayaking. Because some of the lake's lower acreage is in the city limits of Columbus, it receives heavy boat traffic during the summer months. Cabins and houses dot the 40-mile shoreline of the long, narrow reservoir, as well as recreation areas including Goat Rock Recreation Area, City Marina, and the Chattahoochee RiverWalk.
Goat Rock Recreation Area, located below the Goat Rock dam, is a beautiful park with bank fishing, picnicking, day use areas, restrooms, and area lighting for night fishing. Located on the undeveloped north shores of Lake Oliver, Goat Rock Recreation Area is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Columbus. Operated by the City of Columbus is City Marina, a marina with several paved public boat ramps, boat docks, a fishing pier, picnic areas, parking, fishing supplies and bait shop, and refreshments. Connecting City Marina with Lake Oliver is the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, a 15-mile long park that runs along the Chattahoochee River. With the first four miles being completed in 1996, the RiverWalk is now a very popular recreation site for walkers, runners, bikers, and rollerbladers.
After a long day in Columbus and the surrounding area, head back to Lake Oliver for a leisurely afternoon to fish for bream, largemouth bass, spotted bass, hybrid striped bass, white bass, crappie, bluegill, and redear sunfish. The best time of year to fish is fall and spring when the water is too cool for other water lovers. Launches are located at City Marina, Goat Rock Recreation Area, and Goat Rock Dam on the Alabama side of Lake Oliver.
Other off-the-lake activities include the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, and the Heritage Tour and Park. The science center has the Mead Observatory for astronomical viewing, hands-on exhibits, and a theater, while the 40,000 square foot Civil War Naval Museum offers displays, interactive exhibits, and an ironclad simulator. For a tour of historic sites, head to Heritage Park where the industrial heritage of Columbus is celebrated.
Real estate is readily available along the shores of Lake Oliver with vacation rentals and lodging in Columbus and some of the other small towns near the lake. For a quiet weekend on a beautiful Georgia lake, head to Lake Oliver in the fall or spring. With Columbus situated on the shorline, Lake Oliver uniquely offers the solitude of the outdoors with the convenience of the big city.
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