Dockside in DAHLONEGA

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Dahlonega is known more for its gold mines and mountain getaways than lakeside attractions. But that doesn’t mean the city is anywhere near high and dry, because on the outskirts of town sits Lake Zwerner at Yahoola Creek Reservoir. A little more than a decade ago this...

  • The calm waters of Lake Zwerner are perfect for standup paddle boarding. (Photo/Matt Aiken)
    The calm waters of Lake Zwerner are perfect for standup paddle boarding. (Photo/Matt Aiken)
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Dahlonega is known more for its gold mines and mountain getaways than lakeside attractions. But that doesn’t mean the city is anywhere near high and dry, because on the outskirts of town sits Lake Zwerner at Yahoola Creek Reservoir.

A little more than a decade ago this sparkling stretch on Morrison Moore Parkway was rolling green farmland. Now it’s more than 100 acres of pristine waters. And it’s the perfect downtown spot to fish, paddle, picnic and generally soak up the scene.

“It’s just a great place to hang out,” said Courtney Randolph, communications coordinator with the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce.

Swimming and motor boats aren’t allowed since it’s the source of city drinking water. But that doesn’t keep aquatic adventurers from exploring the watery expanse on standup paddle boards and kayaks of all kinds.

“And then there’s the fishing,” Randolph said. That’s the spot for laid-back angling as bream and bass abound in the lake.

Those who prefer not to get their feet wet can take a stroll around the 2.8-mile reservoir trail.

It’s a real hike, but worth the effort.

“People love to take their pets for a walk around it,” Randolph said.

So bring a paddle or a pole and take a dive into Dahlonega’s lakeside scene.

It’s proof that you don’t have to visit the mines to strike gold.