Late Summer Getaway – Jackrabbit Mountain


Hayesville, N.C. -- Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area is located in the Tusquitee Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest. The Recreation Area is on a wooded peninsula of scenic 6,950-acre Lake Chatuge, with a backdrop of high mountain peaks.

Lake Chatuge is touted as the crown jewel of Tennessee Valley Authority’s system of lakes and is an impoundment of the Hiwassee River. Similar to a Swiss alpine lake setting, the lake is filled with a bounty of fish, from spotted, white and striped bass to catfish, crappie and sunfish.

Some of the sites and infrastructure within the campground were updated in recent years. There are no water or electric hookup sites. There are hot showers and drinking water available in each camping loop. 

There is a 13-mile system of trails designed to accommodate mountain bikers ranging from the beginner to the expert rider while still providing for hiking use.  This trail system has a trailhead with restroom, parking lot, drinking water, picnic tables and information board. 

Jackrabbit Mountain Hiking Trail loops around the peninsula for 2.4 miles, offering spectacular views of the lake for hikers. Mountain biking is not allowed on this trail. Several marinas in the area rent boats and other watercraft.

Each campsite has a picnic table and fire grill. Some sites have tent pads. Some sites can accommodate 32’ or longer RVs.

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in Jackrabbit Recreation Area.

What Will I See?

  • Spectacular views along Lake Chatuge. Some lakefront sites, picnic pavilion in campground: first-come, first-served.
  • Several hiking and biking trails, as well as campgrounds with amenities for convenience.

What Should I Know?

  • Amenities: 100 campsites, drinkable water, 2 picnic shelters, a swimming beach, 2-mile hiking trail, 13-mile mountain biking trail system, a boat ramp, fully accessible showers and flush toilets, and an amphitheater. For reservations, call 877-444-6777 or visit For additional information, contact the Tusquitee Ranger District Office at 828-369-5152.
  • Operating Season: May 1- Sept. 30.
  • Fee: Camping fees range from $15 to $30 per night.

How Will I Get There?

From Murphy:

Take Hwy 64 East towards Hayesville NC for 9 miles. From Hayesville, go 6.2 miles, and then turn right on NC 175. Travel 2.5 miles, and turn right on NC 1155.

From Hayesville:

Take US 64 East for 6.2 miles, and turn right onto NC 175. Go 2.5 miles. Turn right onto SR 1155.

From Hiawassee:

Take GA75North for about 3.5 miles, to the NC-GA state line, where it turns into NC175. Proceed 1.5 miles, and turn left onto SR1155.

From Asheville:

Take I-40 West to Canton. Take Exit 27 onto 74West/19-23South. At Exit 81, take 23-441South to Franklin. In Franklin, take 64West for 31 miles, and turn left on NC175. Go 2.5 miles. Turn right on SR1155 to the recreation area.

About Nantahala National Forest

This forest lies in the mountains and valleys of southwestern North Carolina. Elevations in the Nantahala National Forest range from 5,800 feet at Lone Bald in Jackson County to 1,200 feet in Cherokee County along Hiwassee River below Appalachian Lake Dam. “Nantahala” is a Cherokee word meaning “land of the noon day sun,” a fitting name for the Nantahala Gorge, where the sun only reaches to the valley floor at midday. With over a half million acres, the Nantahala is the largest of the four national forests in North Carolina. The national forest is divided into three ranger districts: Cheoah, Nantahala and Tusquitee.