Lake Norman, NC

Lake Norman, NCLake Norman is located about 30 miles north of Charlotte, west of Mooresville and Cornelius,and is the largest artificial freshwater body in North Carolina. Thanks to its 520 miles of shoreline and surface area, which spans four counties and more than 32,475 acres, Lake Norman is known as North Carolina’s “Inland Sea.”

It was built between 1959 and 1964 as part of Duke Energy’s building of the Cowans Ford Dam on the Catawba River Chain. Lake Norman is almost as big as the other ten Catawba lakes together.


The Catawba people of North Carolina lived near the Catawba River and its surroundings for some time until it was dammed in 1963 to create Lake Norman.

The Catawba River was home to this Indian tribe for 6,000 years before establishing a reserve in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Catawba River has played a significant role in the history of settlements because it supplied vital navigational information and water to communities.

The early 1900s saw the beginning of a larger hydroelectric project on the Catawba River, which included the construction of Cowan’s Ford Dam and the eventual formation of Lake Norman. The “energy-water nexus” that emerged South in the early to mid-1900s and the broader backdrop of river manipulation are also relevant here.

Public and commercial organizations in the American South looked for water management solutions for the 20th century for two main reasons: electric power generation and environmental control, i.e., reducing flooding and drought.

The Cowan’s Ford Dam construction project began in 1959, and the lake started to fill with water on completion in 1962. The Catawba River gradually submerged 30,000 acres of land, including farms, mills, plantations, and entire communities and historical sites such as the location of the Revolutionary War Battle of Cowan’s Ford.

The Carolinas’ Piedmont region receives its electricity from Lake Norman. The coal-fired Marshall Steam Station and McGuire Nuclear Station use it to cool the reactors while producing the steam that powers their generators.

It also drives the turbines at the hydroelectric station at Cowans Ford Dam. Catawba County, Iredell County, Lincoln County, Charlotte, and other communities in Mecklenburg County, including Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville, all receive water from the lake.

Activities Around Lake Norman

The Piedmont region of North Carolina has a high level of biodiversity, and Lake Norman is significant due to the variety of birds, fish, mammals, and plants it supports. The shoreline of Lake Norman stretches for 520 miles and covers an area of more than 50 square miles.

The ecosystems around Lake Norman include dry-mesic oak-hickory forest, dry oak-hickory forest, piedmont alluvial forest, piedmont bottomland forest, and mesic mixed hardwood forest.

Lake Norman State Park was established by a partnership between Duke Power and the North Carolina government. It also created eight boating access points for the public and two bank fishing spots along the shoreline.

Along with catfish, crappie, bluegill, and yellow perch, Lake Norman also has spotted, striped, largemouth, hybrid white bass, and long-nosed gar. The snapping turtle, soft shell turtle, eastern box turtle, northern water snake, and black/eastern rat snake are some of the wildlife species that have made Lake Norman their home.

When you need a break from the lake check out Lazy 5 Ranch for a family fun activity. Myers Heavy Equipment Rental offers machinery to all areas around Lake Norman.