Hartwell Lake is one of the southeast’s largest and most popular public recreation lakes. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1955 and 1963 as part of a flood control, hydropower, and navigation project, authorized purposes now include recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish and wildlife management. Each year, millions of people utilize the many public parks, marinas, and campgrounds conveniently located around the lake to pursue a variety of outdoor recreational experiences – making Hartwell one of the most visited Corps lakes in the nation Hartwell Lake is a man-made lake bordering Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Seneca Rivers. The lake is created by Hartwell Dam located on the Savannah River seven miles below the point at which the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers join to form the Savannah. Extending 49 miles up the Tugaloo and 45 miles up the Seneca at normal pool elevation, Hartwell Lake comprises nearly 56,000 acres of water with a shoreline of 962 miles. The entire Hartwell “Project” contains 76,450 acres of land and water. Interstate 85 bisects Hartwell Lake and makes the area easily accessible to visitors.
When it’s time for outdoor recreation, Americans head for the water. The Corps’ many lakes, rivers, and beaches offer everyone fun, fitness, rest and relaxation. And, America’s first choice for water-based recreation is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; one out of every ten Americans will visit a Corps lake this year. Hartwell Lake is consistently one of the top 5 most visited Corps site in the U.S. and offers a variety of recreational opportunities. Outdoor water-related recreation abounds at Hartwell Lake. Swimmers delight in the sand beaches and designated swim areas located in many Corps recreation areas and campgrounds along the shoreline. The lake affords the avid sports fisherman and the weekend angler equal opportunities for a rewarding fishing experience. Coves and areas of quiet water provide the water skier with excellent surfaces on which to pursue this sport. Hartwell Lake appeals to boaters of all kinds, whether their specialty is canoeing, sailing or motor boating. Picnicking with your family and friends, sightseeing, and other outdoor experiences can be enjoyed at the many public recreation areas located around the lake.