Mountain Island Lake
Mountain Island Lake, connected to the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, was built in 1924 as part of a hydroelectric project and provides drinking water to Mount Holly, Gastonia and Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Sometimes as is the case with progress, the spoils include recreation.
Mountain Island Lake, with 61 miles of shorline and 3,281 acres of surface area, is a prime example. Just look at the events associated with the lake: there’s an adult kayaking club, sunset kayaking, yoga kayaking, kayak geo-caching, even homeschooler kayaking. Plus, Latta Plantation added boat rentals this year.
While the lake is big (though it’s the smallest of its sister lakes on the Catawba, Norman to the north, Wylie to the south) it offers ample opportunities for intimate paddling, with various fingers reaching out along its length. Some end in a cove, others evolve into streams that offer additional exploring against a mild current.
There are five access points (see maps) to Mountain Island Lake, perhaps the most enticing is at Latta Plantation. Additional recreation abounds at this 1,351-acre preserve, including 16 miles of trail , all but three of which are also open to equestrians. The trails will expose you to the 97 species of birds, 17 species of mammals, 14 species of reptiles and 9 species of amphibians found at the preserve.
Getting there from downtown Charlotte
Distance: 20 minutes from downtown Charlotte
Time to complete: 1-2 hours
Address: 6211 Sample Road