We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Highway 288 Bridge — Now You See It, Soon You Won’t


Each Winter, when the Tennessee Valley Authority lowers the lake level by more than fifty feet, Fontana Lake reveals some of its fascinating history, like the old Highway 288 bridge pictured above. In the Summer, at full pool, the lake’s shoreline reaches the tree line at the top of the photo.

Highway 288 once connected Bryson City with the communities of Fontana, Bushnell, Forney and Judson along the Tuckaseigee River. But with the creation of the 10,230-acre reservoir in 1944, both the communities and Highway 288 were completely inundated, with only portions resurfacing during TVA’s annual Winter drawdown.

The bridge spans Lands Creek, which flows out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just west of Bryson City.

ADDED 2/12/09

Several people have asked about visiting this bridge.

The best time to see it without a boat is in the winter, when the lake level is low enough to walk along the shoreline (by late Spring it should be under water). Here’s how to get there…

From the Dollar General store in downtown Bryson City, drive west on Bryson Walk. After you pass the Lumber Mill, look for Old Hwy 288 which peels off to the left and continues along the Tuckaseigee River. Continue on 288 until it ends at the municipal boat ramp. From there, walk north along the shoreline about a mile to the Lands Creek Bridge.

You can also see it from the pull-off on Buckner Branch Road, across the lake (where I took the photo).

— Charles Snodgrass

Comments are off for this post

Comments are closed.