Nantahala Power and Light's Queens Creek Dam

On our Cherokee trip in April 07 we manage to bag Queens Creek Dam at the end of a very interesting drive up the side of a mountain on "Winding Stairs Road". We didn't take any pictures on the way up, figuring that we would have to come back the same way. But, as it turns out, the road from the lake back to SSR 1310 was a nice paved road, so we opted to take that instead. So, we missed some good pictures of the scenery and the pipeline.

But, in September 07 we were in the area again. This time, we started at the top, and drove down Winding Stairs Road from the dam to US 19, in the Nantahala Gorge. So, we got a couple of shots of the pipeline, passing through the middle of nowhere!

You know, when you have facilities in the middle of nowhere, you still have to work on them. I'm glad we didn't meet these folks on Winding Stairs Road!

Queens Creek Lake is a very small lake at the 3000 foot level on a mountain that Topo identified as Briertown Mountain. This mountain forms the east side of the Nantahala Gorge. Here is a shot of the back side of the dam from the far end of the lake.

The Power House is down on the river, across the street from the Nantahala Power House. It looks like the power is transferred at generator voltage to the Nantahala transformer/switchyard.

This is a shot of the Queens Creek penstock from the driveway to the Nantahala Switchyard. This driveway is also the Bartram Trail, which goes behind the Nantahala Power House and up to the surge tank, eventually making its way close to the Nantahala Dam. I haven't found the exact figures yet, but, from Topo, it looks like the head is at least 800 feet. Should be good for a watt or two!

This time there were crews working in the switchyard, and this tower was obviously undergoing maintenance of some kind!.

The end (or the beginning) of Winding Stairs Road, next to US 19. These two bridges (look closely!) cross the Nantahala River, as it parallels US 19 through the gorge. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad is just across the street!
Some stats for the project:
Dam: 382 feet long x 78 feet high, rockfill
37 Acre reservoir
6,250 feet of penstock/pipeline
1.44 Megawatts
Constructed 1947-49