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Lake James is a large reservoir in the mountains of Western North Carolina which straddles the border between Burke and McDowell Counties. It is named for tobacco tycoon and benefactor of Duke University, James Buchanan Duke. The lake, with a surface elevation of 1200 ft, lies behind a series of four earthen dams. It was created by Duke Power between 1916-1923 as a hydro-electric project. It still generates power today and is the uppermost lake on the Catawba River system.


Lake James State Park is located on the lake's southern shore.
At 3,605 acres this now represents North Carolina's largest waterfront State Park.

In 1992, Lake James was a filming site for the movie 
The Last of the Mohicans, where it doubled as Lake George, New York and a replica of Fort William Henry was constructed.

Also, a backdrop of Lake James was used for the final scenes of the movie The Hunt for Red October.


Lake James is just one in a series of lakes. Being chained together creates special considerations. Storms, drought, floods make the lakes ebb and flow. To stay up to date on the latest lake levels, 
click to find out where is the lake level now.

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