Size of Lake Wylie: A Comprehensive Guide

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By Ali Imtiyaj | Updated on May 17, 2024

Reviewed by Rittika

Size of Lake Wylie:  a picturesque reservoir straddling the North Carolina-South Carolina border, is a destination known for its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and residential communities. In this detailed guide, we delve into the various aspects that define Lake Wylie, focusing on its size, geographical features, and its significance to the surrounding regions.

Overview Size of Lake Wylie

Lake Wylie is one of the oldest reservoirs in the United States, created in 1904 by the damming of the Catawba River. This artificial lake serves multiple purposes, including hydroelectric power generation, recreation, and water supply. The lake is named after Dr. W. Gil Wylie, one of the founders of the Catawba Power Company, which was instrumental in the lake’s creation.

Geographical Location and Dimensions


Lake Wylie is located in the southeastern United States, primarily in York County, South Carolina, and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The lake extends into Gaston County, North Carolina, as well. This strategic positioning makes it easily accessible from major urban centers like Charlotte, NC, and Rock Hill, SC.

Surface Area and Volume

The surface area of Lake Wylie is approximately 13,443 acres (54.4 km²). This substantial expanse of water covers various terrains, including lush forests and residential areas. The lake’s volume is equally impressive, holding around 324,000 acre-feet (400 million cubic meters) of water. This capacity makes it a critical water resource for the surrounding communities.

Shoreline Length

Lake Wylie boasts a shoreline of approximately 325 miles (523 km). This extensive shoreline is dotted with numerous marinas, parks, and residential properties, offering ample opportunities for boating, fishing, and waterfront living. The diverse shoreline also includes quiet coves and bustling recreational areas, catering to a variety of preferences.

Hydrological Characteristics

Inflow and Outflow

The primary inflow to Lake Wylie is the Catawba River, which flows southward from the Blue Ridge Mountains. The river’s journey through Lake Wylie is regulated by the Wylie Dam, which controls the water level and flow rates. The outflow from Lake Wylie continues as the Catawba River, eventually joining the Wateree River to form the Santee River Basin.

Water Quality

Maintaining water quality in Lake Wylie is a top priority for local authorities and environmental groups. The lake is subject to regular monitoring for pollutants and invasive species. Efforts to protect water quality include controlling runoff from surrounding urban and agricultural areas and implementing conservation practices to reduce erosion and sedimentation.

Recreational Opportunities

Boating and Water Sports

Lake Wylie is a haven for boating enthusiasts. The lake supports a variety of watercraft, from speedboats and sailboats to kayaks and paddleboards. Several marinas and public boat ramps provide easy access to the water, while numerous coves and inlets offer ideal spots for water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing.


Fishing is another popular activity at Lake Wylie. The lake is home to an abundance of fish species, including largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill. Anglers can enjoy fishing from boats, piers, or the shoreline. The lake is also the site of numerous fishing tournaments, drawing competitors from across the region.

Parks and Trails

Surrounding Lake Wylie are several parks and nature reserves that offer hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Notable parks include McDowell Nature Preserve in Mecklenburg County and Ebenezer Park in York County. These parks provide well-maintained trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds, making them perfect for day trips or weekend getaways.

Residential Communities and Real Estate

Waterfront Living

Lake Wylie is surrounded by numerous residential communities that offer waterfront living with stunning views and direct access to the lake. These communities range from luxurious estates to cozy lakefront cottages. Popular neighborhoods include Tega Cay, River Hills, and Lake Wylie Township.

Real Estate Market

The real estate market around Lake Wylie is vibrant, with properties in high demand due to the area’s natural beauty and recreational amenities. Homes on the lake tend to appreciate in value, making them attractive investments. Buyers can find a variety of properties, from custom-built homes to pre-existing structures, each offering unique benefits and scenic vistas.

Environmental and Conservation Efforts

Conservation Initiatives

Local governments and environmental organizations are actively involved in the conservation of Lake Wylie. Initiatives focus on preserving the natural habitat, maintaining water quality, and promoting sustainable development practices. Programs include shoreline restoration projects, invasive species control, and community education on environmental stewardship.

Community Involvement

Community involvement is crucial for the ongoing health of Lake Wylie. Residents and visitors are encouraged to participate in clean-up events, educational workshops, and conservation programs. Organizations like the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation play a key role in organizing these efforts and advocating for policies that protect the lake and its ecosystem.

Economic Impact

Tourism and Local Businesses

Lake Wylie is a significant economic driver for the surrounding region. Tourism related to recreational activities on the lake supports numerous local businesses, including marinas, restaurants, and retail stores. Seasonal events and festivals also attract visitors, boosting the local economy.

Property Values

The presence of Lake Wylie positively impacts property values in the area. Waterfront properties and those with lake views command higher prices, contributing to the overall wealth of the community. This economic benefit underscores the importance of maintaining the lake’s health and accessibility.


Lake Wylie is a vital and vibrant part of the North Carolina-South Carolina border region, offering a blend of natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and residential appeal. Its substantial size, coupled with its rich array of activities and amenities, makes it a cherished destination for both residents and visitors. Ongoing conservation efforts and community involvement are key to preserving Lake Wylie for future generations.