Wildcat Lake

Banner ELK, North Carolina

Wildcat Lake is a premier attraction in Banner Elk, particularly in warmer months. The 13-acre lake is the centerpiece of a public-access facility that includes a white sand beach, swimming pier and fishing dock.

The most popular activities at Wildcat Lake are swimming, fishing and boating. Lifeguards are on duty during summer hours. Boating is limited to non-motorized boats along with canoes and kayaks. Canoe rentals and paddle board rentals are available at various times of the year.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission stocks the lake with bluegill, largemouth bass and three varieties of trout. Fishing is open seven days a week from dawn to dusk, and NC state fishing licenses are required for those who wish to fish.

Many people say Wildcat Lake reminds them of an old-fashioned swimming hole, and it draws upwards of 20,000 visitors each summer.

An adjacent park (Tufts Memorial Park) provides a bath house, picnic tables and three picnic shelters, all open to the public at no charge. Alcoholic beverages and pets are prohibited.

The park is open seven days a week, weather permitting. The park and lake are owned and maintained by the Grandfather Home for Children. There is no charge to use any of the facilities, although donations are greatly appreciated.

Reservations for use of the picnic shelters are necessary and can be made by calling the Grandfather Home at 828-898-5465.

COVID-19

Keep your distance from other people.

Practicing social distancing is still essential. Only go to the beach if you are able to keep 6 feet or 2 meters away from others. Follow the instructions provided by your local health authorities. If your community has asked that you remain indoors and away from others, do so. Spending a day in any crowded place is the worst thing we can do for our most vulnerable right now and will counter our efforts to curb the virus’s spread.

Water Quality
  • Meets water quality standards

  • Current Status
  • This status is based on the latest sample, taken on August 3th, 2022. MountainTrue Watauga Riverkeeper updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on August 5th, 2022 at 9:35 AM.
For water quality icon legend, click:  
Monitoring Frequency

Wildcat Lake is sampled weekly from May 25th to September 7th.

Source Information

The Watauga Riverkeeper is a program of MountainTrue and a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance. Every week from May to September, Watauga Riverkeeper staff, interns, and volunteers monitor water quality at sites across the Watauga, New, and Elk river watersheds. Weekly results are posted on Fridays so you know where it's safe to swim, fish, and paddle on your weekend adventures. Results will be communicated through the Swim Guide mobile app and website, as well as the Watauga Riverkeeper Facebook and Instagram pages.

The Watauga Riverkeeper utilizes the EPA-approved IDEXX method for collecting and analyzing water samples and compares the results against the EPA standard for health of 235 E.coli cfu/100 ml. Test results are expressed as Most Probable Number (MPN) of E. coli cfu (colony forming units) per 100 ml.

A beach is marked Green when single sample results are under 235 E.coli / 100 ML water.
A beach is marked Red when the results are equal to or above 235 E.coli / 100 ML water.
A beach is marked Grey when there are no current results or there is no available
information.

Read more
Water Quality Graph

Wildcat Lake

Banner ELK, North Carolina

COVID-19

Keep your distance from other people.

Practicing social distancing is still essential. Only go to the beach if you are able to keep 6 feet or 2 meters away from others. Follow the instructions provided by your local health authorities. If your community has asked that you remain indoors and away from others, do so. Spending a day in any crowded place is the worst thing we can do for our most vulnerable right now and will counter our efforts to curb the virus’s spread.

Water Quality
  • Meets water quality standards
  • Current Status
  • This status is based on the latest sample, taken on August 3th, 2022. MountainTrue Watauga Riverkeeper updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on August 5th, 2022 at 9:35 AM.
For water quality icon legend, click:  

Wildcat Lake is a premier attraction in Banner Elk, particularly in warmer months. The 13-acre lake is the centerpiece of a public-access facility that includes a white sand beach, swimming pier and fishing dock.

The most popular activities at Wildcat Lake are swimming, fishing and boating. Lifeguards are on duty during summer hours. Boating is limited to non-motorized boats along with canoes and kayaks. Canoe rentals and paddle board rentals are available at various times of the year.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission stocks the lake with bluegill, largemouth bass and three varieties of trout. Fishing is open seven days a week from dawn to dusk, and NC state fishing licenses are required for those who wish to fish.

Many people say Wildcat Lake reminds them of an old-fashioned swimming hole, and it draws upwards of 20,000 visitors each summer.

An adjacent park (Tufts Memorial Park) provides a bath house, picnic tables and three picnic shelters, all open to the public at no charge. Alcoholic beverages and pets are prohibited.

The park is open seven days a week, weather permitting. The park and lake are owned and maintained by the Grandfather Home for Children. There is no charge to use any of the facilities, although donations are greatly appreciated.

Reservations for use of the picnic shelters are necessary and can be made by calling the Grandfather Home at 828-898-5465.

Monitoring Frequency

Wildcat Lake is sampled weekly from May 25th to September 7th.

Source Information

The Watauga Riverkeeper is a program of MountainTrue and a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance. Every week from May to September, Watauga Riverkeeper staff, interns, and volunteers monitor water quality at sites across the Watauga, New, and Elk river watersheds. Weekly results are posted on Fridays so you know where it's safe to swim, fish, and paddle on your weekend adventures. Results will be communicated through the Swim Guide mobile app and website, as well as the Watauga Riverkeeper Facebook and Instagram pages.

The Watauga Riverkeeper utilizes the EPA-approved IDEXX method for collecting and analyzing water samples and compares the results against the EPA standard for health of 235 E.coli cfu/100 ml. Test results are expressed as Most Probable Number (MPN) of E. coli cfu (colony forming units) per 100 ml.

A beach is marked Green when single sample results are under 235 E.coli / 100 ML water.
A beach is marked Red when the results are equal to or above 235 E.coli / 100 ML water.
A beach is marked Grey when there are no current results or there is no available
information.

Read more
Water Quality Graph

  Beach Location Water Quality
Banner Elk, North Carolina
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Banner Elk, North Carolina
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