Cheoah Dam - Atlas Obscura

Cheoah Dam

Robbinsville, North Carolina

A historic dam made famous for its turbines and feature in a Hollywood classic.  

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At one end of the Tail of the Dragon, Highway 129 crosses an imposing 225-foot dam, wedged into a narrow gorge of the Little Tennessee River. In the 1993 film, The Fugitive, Harrison Ford’s character makes a heart-stopping leap from the top of the dam to elude capture. Ford actually did stand on this precipice, although it was a temporary tunnel built for the film overlooking the drop. The scene involved six dummies valued at well over $40,000. 

The Cheoah Dam at the time of its construction was the tallest overflow dam in the world with the world’s largest turbines. Behind the dam is a scenic mountain lake. Also, not far from the Cheoah, are the remnants of the train wreck scene also featured in the film. 

There is a nice little floating dock that you can head down to to the left of the dam when on the north side. You can walk out and see the dam from “behind” and dip your feet in the water.

Know Before You Go

There are pullouts on the north side of the gorge, but they are not very large and can be full, especially on weekends. Beware, the tight turns in and out of the valley make for very limited visibility and slowing down to look is dangerous.

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