Catawba River Basin the Source of Lake Norman
Lake Norman Begins As a Trickle in Western North Carolina
Want to take an adventure to the start of the Catawba River Basin which includes Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Hickory, Lookout Shoals, Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, Lake Wylie, Lake Wateree and then the Atlantic Ocean.
Catawba Falls, in the headwaters of the Catawba River, is a part of Pisgah National Forest. It is located in McDowell County near Old Fort, NC. You can visit via the trial, but parking is limited. Take Interstate 40's Exit 73 in Old Fort, go southwest on State Road 1274 (Catawba River Road) and follow it about 3 miles to its end.
The Catawba basin drains 3343 square miles of western North Carolina through two rivers: the Catawba River and the South Fork Catawba River, each draining one of the two sub-basins. The South Fork Catawba sub-basin is the smaller of the two, draining 700 square miles of the total. The Catawba drains the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows for 242 miles to central South Carolina. The basin has over 3005 miles of streams. The South Fork Catawba River is south and west of the Catawba and merges with the Catawba at Lake Wylie near the South Carolina boarder. About one-third of the basin’s 45 inches of annual precipitation leaves the basin as streamflow.