Only about 40 miles from Atlanta, Lake Allatoona covers about 12,000 acres in northwest Georgia, with 270 miles of shoreline in Cherokee, Bartow and Cobb counties.
The lake, and much of the land adjoining it, are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake is rarely called by its government name, Allatoona Lake.
Its seemingly remote setting, in reality only minutes from Interstate 75 and Atlanta's northern suburbs, has made Lake Allatoona one of Georgia's most popular lakes, visited by more than six million people annually.
Located largely on a peninsula jutting north into Lake Allatoona, Red Top Mountain State Park is named for the iron-rich peak contained in the park's 1,562 acres.
With its extensive camping facilities, this park is the largest of more than 25 parks and ten campgrounds adjoining Lake Allatoona,
There are 13 hiking trails and at least a half-dozen biking trails.
Most of the north side of the lake remains undeveloped because of its isolated location. More than 25,000 acres of public land adjoins Lake Allatoona.
For boating and fishing enthusiasts, Lake Allatoona has at least eight full-service marinas, at least three of which rent a wide range of boats, and a total of 26 boat ramps.
Largemouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, hybrid bass and crappie are the best fishing bets, although Lake Allatoona is home to channel and flathead catfish, bream, carp and gar.
On the northeastern corner of the lake is the 7,000 acres of the Allatoona Wildlife Management Area, with its robust populations of both game and non-game species.
"Allatoona Lake," as it is known to the U.S. government, is the oldest U.S. Corps of Engineers lake.
It is filled mostly by the Etowah River, with additional inflow from the Little River, Noonday Creek, and the namesake Allatoona Creek. Downstream, the Etowah joins the Coosa River.