Lake Lookout Shoals located just north of I-40 and east of hwy 16 is a lake that shares many of the same qualities as other lakes along the Catawba River but also has a few distinct qualities. It was formed in 1915 when duke energy put the Lookout Shoals Hydroelectric plant into use. Lake Lookout Shoals was then and still is one of the smallest lakes on the Catawba River with 37 miles of shoreline and 1,305 acres of surface area. Although Lake Lookout Shoals is smaller than some of the neighboring lakes there are no restrictions on boat size or speed on the lake. While smaller than some of the other area lakes in the area it is still plenty big enough to enjoy all the tubing, skiing, jet skiing, or just cruising the lake you like with a more rural feel. Check out this look at the main channel here.
Locals often refer to the lake simply as “Lake Lookout” and find it to be the least crowded lake in the area. One of the reasons for this is that duke energy who owns all the lakes in our area still owns a large portion of the 37 mile shoreline. Another 450 acres bordering the Lake is owned by the Riverbend County Park. This park on the northwest end of the lake features.
As you can see from the above picture Lake Lookout starts as a flowing river before becoming running into the flat water of the main lake a few miles downstream. This rare aspect allows you to enjoy the lake for its swimming, skiing, and power boating while also enjoying the flowing river for its canoeing, fishing, and hiking.
Put in at the top of the lake at the park when the hydroelectric dam is discharging water. (Prime times are after 3PM during the week and at various times during the weekend) Simply let the current and your paddeling lead you downstream. From top to bottom it can take anywhere from 4-6 hours depending on how hard you paddle, breaks, etc. At the bottom of the lake there is a public lake access called the Sharon Lake access. You can arrange for a ride to pick you up there. Or ideally you own a piece of land on the Lake and you simply canoe back to your dock or have a boat pick you up once you reach the flat water.
Check out this drone footage from the bottom of the Oxford dam which shows the river area at the top of Lake Lookout including the River Bend park as well as the canoe launch area.