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Neely Henry Lake, located about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham in north central Alabama, is an 11,200-acre reservoir popular for boating, fishing, and other recreational pursuits. Alabama Power created Neely Henry Lake by constructing a dam across the Coosa River in 1966. Though hydropower generation is the primary purpose of Neely Henry Lake, this reservoir provides recreational opportunities for thousands of visitors that vacation on its shores every year.
Located near the city of Gadsden, the county seat of Etowah County, Lake Neely Henry is sandwiched between Weiss Lake to the north and Logan Martin Lake to the south. The reservoir is sprinkled with piers, boathouses, fallen tree trunks, stumps, and other natural and man-made structures that provide ideal habitats for its resident fish: largemouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, and white crappie. Obtain an Alabama fishing license before fishing. Water levels on Neely Henry Lake in winter are usually one to two feet below normal summer pool; caution is advised when navigating through shallow areas.
Jim Martin Wildlife Park is a 180-acre Alabama wetland and forest located on the shores of Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden. A refuge for wintering and migrated birds, Jim Martin Wildlife Park features exposed mudflats, its very own island, accessible by foot via a raised boardwalk. Nature lovers flock to the park, filled with hopes of seeing yellow-billed cuckoo birds, tufted titmouse, Carolina chickadees, ducks, geese, and many more species of birds and wildlife.
While visiting Gadsden, Noccalula Falls Park at Lookout Mountain is a must-see. The magnificent 90-foot waterfall was named after a Cherokee maiden who plunged to her death at the Falls rather than forsake her true love by marrying a chief chosen by her father. Noccalula Falls Park also includes a botanical garden, hiking trails, a sightseeing train, and a War Memorial and Museum. Other Gadsden highlights include a Center for Cultural Arts and Imagination Place, a children's museum where children can pretend to be various occupations such as firefighter, construction worker, doctor, and banker. Gadsden hosts Riverfest in June, a festival featuring rock, urban soul, and country music.
For some down-tempo Neely Henry Lake vacation fun, rent a boat or bring your own. The lake's 339 miles of shoreline beg to be explored. The wind in your hair and sun on your back will make any afternoon boating trip a day to remember. Explore coves, watch the birds swoop above your head, and enjoy the "plop" as fish jump in the water around you. Dip your toes into the cool blue waters. When the sun has really warmed you up, take a refreshing dip in Neely Henry Lake. For a simple but special day, take a picnic and enjoy a one-of-a-kind meal out on lakeside.
When the day is over and night is closing in, watch the sun paint the Alabama sky with a beautiful array of rainbow colors as you enjoy a glass of wine. This is a vacation that you will always remember.
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