Location: Smith Lake Alabama   |   February 10, 2017

In Michigan, I grew up surrounded by clear lakes. During the summer, you would always find our family and friends out on the water. Being on the lake holds so many memories and will forever be my happy place.

So naturally when I moved down to Mississippi, I was excited to scope out some new lakes. What I found was brown, muddy rivers, where you could barely see your hand under the water. To top it off, locals told me that the river I was swimming in all last summer were filled with alligators, human-sized catfish and water moccasins. I couldn’t tell if these were hard facts, or they were just “teasing the Yankee.” Shoot, and to think I use to be afraid of little sunfish biting my toes in Michigan. It was safe to say the quest to find a clear lake was on.

restlessroots_smith lake AL map

I started asking around, and Smith Lake in Alabama kept popping up in conversations. So we decided to check it out one weekend and it did not disappoint. Smith Lake is located in north Alabama, and covers over 21,000 acres. The three-fingered lake has over 500 miles of shoreline, majority of which is national forest.

To my satisfaction the water is clear and the lake is surrounded by cliffs with rows of tall pine trees. It is truly a sight to be seen.

restlessroots_smith-lake-3 restlessroots_smith-lake-5

Since this was our first trip to Smith Lake, we briefly explored. Luckily, we have some friends that live on the lake, so they gave us the grand tour from their boat. The main channels of the lake were quite deep, however, some of the smaller offshoots vary in depth and at one point nearly ripped off the engine from our friend’s boat. The shallow parts were perfect for pulling up to the shore and exploring some of the hidden waterfalls off the beaten path. Smith Lake offers a variety of activities, but we only had time for a few. We plan to go back in the spring and check out the campgrounds in Bankhead National Forest. So stay tuned!

Tip for next time: print off a map of how to get to the lake, you lose cell service at some point.

restlessroots_smith-lake-1 restlessroots_smith-lake-4


  1. Smith Lake 
  2. Cullman County Park 
  3. Bankhead National Forest 



  1. Angie Vines

    Can you give directions to the waterfall? We just bought a lot on Smith Lake and love to go exploring


    • Restless Roots

      Angie we on our friend’s boat exploring up and down the channels. We happened to catch a glimpse of the waterfall and parked the boat on a sand bar. The lake is so large it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where we were. If you guys have a boat, I would suggest driving around the lake and exploring, you are bound to find some.


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