A treasure trove of goodness — Spend summer at Lake Junaluska
With summer right around the corner, it's important to remember that Haywood County has an abundance of things to do. One of the county's treasure troves, conveniently located in the heart of Haywood, is Lake Junaluska.
One of the things Lake Junaluska is known for are its incredible walking trails that circle the lake. The shorter trail is approximately 2.6 miles and crosses the Turbeville Footbridge and the bridge above the dam. The longer trail is 3.7 miles and surpasses both bridges. Trail visitors will walk past the Bethea Welcome Center, the Foundation for Evangelism and other sites not accessible by the shorter trail.
Both trails include the Rose Walk, a short span of walkway lined by several different rose bushes. The roses are currently in full bloom.
Of course, walking isn’t the only thing do to at Lake Junaluska.
Cool off with a refreshing drink at the Lake Junaluska Soda Shop from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday. Or visit the bookstore and café located in the Harrell Center and indulge an afternoon coffee and free wifi.
Enjoy a round of golf at Lake Junaluska Golf Course, a 5034-yard par 68 course with 18 holes and is open daily. Green fees are $15 regular, $12 for adults ages 55 and older, $10 juniors and a $12 “twilight green fee” for after 2 p.m. Cart rentals are $9 for nine holes and $18 for 18 holes. Memberships are available at the Lake Junaluska Pro Shop. For more information, call 456-5777.
Or take a dip in the pool from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday. The pool is open until Labor Day. Daily admission is $6 per person or $20 for a family of six; passes can be purchased at the Lake Junaluska Soda Shop.
Rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboat for 30 minutes for $5. Rent a paddleboard for $10 for one hour. Rentals can be purchased at the Soda Shop and are available during pool hours. The public is also invited to go fishing off one of the many piers or in a personal or rented boat. Fishers must have the appropriate fishing licenses as required by state law.
Play a game of shuffleboard, tennis, mini golf or horseshoes. Equipment rentals are also available at the soda shop for a $2 refundable deposit.
And of course, there’s nothing quite like sitting under a tree during a lazy summer afternoon with a good book. There are benches, tables and areas for groups of people to gather for picnics.
There are also two fairly hidden gems of Lake Junaluska: the Corneille Bryan Native Garden and Inspiration Point.
“There are over 500 species of native plants,” said Ken Howle, director of advancement at Lake Junaluksa. “It’s a small cove on Stuart Circle that we started planting native plants in. It’s the highest concentration of native plants in Western North Carolina.”
The second hidden gem, Inspiration Point, is really a sight to behold. Located via an easily accessible trail that starts in front of Lambuth Inn, Inspiration Point provides a breath-taking scenic view of the lake and area beyond it.
“It’s one of the best views of Haywood County,” said Howle.
And if the heat is too much, take an evening guided boat tour of the lake from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 per person and can be purchased in advance or before the tour at the bookstore. The boat dock is located at the Harrell Center.
Everyone is encouraged to enjoy the grounds and recreational opportunities at Lake Junaluksa. The walking trail and other recreational activities are sponsored by the Friends of the Lake. All donations and proceeds go towards annual maintenance and improvements.