Surrounded by the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests, Hiwassee and the adjacent Apalachia Reservoir serve as a rich habitat for deer, wild turkey, and other animals. Below Hiwassee Dam, a day-use park on Apalachia Reservoir provides access to boating, fishing, and exploring the reservoir and its tributaries.
The Hiwassee is exceptionally beautiful and well suited for canoeing, rafting, and learning the basics of whitewater boating. The flow of water in the reservoir comes from deep below the surface and is chilly, even in the summer.
In addition to recreation, Hiwassee Reservoir serves a number of other purposes, including flood damage reduction and power generation.