Grand Lake of the Cherokees is located on the Grand (Neosho) River in northeastern Oklahoma, in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It’s a big place with a lot to offer, with five state parks around the winding, scenic shoreline, as well as all the privately operated commercial marinas, restaurants, motels and fishing guides. Native fish species found in Grand Lake include large mouth bass, white bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill.
If you’re looking for natural beauty , bass fishing, water sports and picnic and playground areas, as well as camping, look no further than Cherokee Area at Grand Lake State Park. It is located two blocks east of Disney OK on SH 28, between the floodgates of the Grand River Pensacola Dam in northeastern Oklahoma, on the shore of Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees.. There are over 59,000 surface acres and 1,300 miles of shoreline on the lake.
Grand Lake State Park actually consists of several smaller parks located near the Pensacola Dam and around Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees. The whole area is famous for great fishing and family water sports. With picnic sites, group shelters, campsites, playgrounds, comfort stations, a lighted boat ramp and a 9-hole golf course you have everything you could want close at hand.
For those who enjoy some area history, The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture lists Henry Holderman, a official member of the Cherokee tribe, as selecting Grand River for a possible source for hydroelectric power to supply the Cherokee Nation before Oklahoma achieved statehood in 1907. But it took a few years to achieve Holderman’s goal. Construction began in on the Pensacola Dam on the Grand River (lower Neosho River) in 1938, and was completed in 1940. The dam formed a lake behind it, prompting the U.S. government to take control of Pensacola Dam for electricity during the war years, which control ended in 1946, after WW II.
Pensacola Dam is claimed to be the longest multiple arch dam in the world, its main span consisting of 51 arches totaling 5,145 feet (1,568 m) in length, and supporting a walkway and narrow two lane highway. A 120 megawatt, 6-unit powerhouse sits at the west end, with 21 spillways on the east end. Two other dams known as “the spillways” with an additional 21 gates, surrounded by public parks and launching ramp are located a mile east, through the town of Disney OK.