Watauga Lake, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest in northeastern Tennessee, is the Tennessee Valley Authority's highest-elevated reservoir in Tennessee. Surrounded by densely forested mountains, Watauga Lake sits 1,959 feet above sea level at full summertime elevation. At Watauga Lake, it's usually a few degrees cooler than similar locations closer to sea level.
Watauga's surface covers 10.05 square miles of Johnson County and Carter County. Watauga Lake is accessible only by winding mountain roads. The Appalachian Trail crosses the southwestern tip of Watauga Lake.