The Cherokee National Forest, established in 1911, now protects the western shoreline above Chilhowee Lake, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, established in 1932, protects the eastern shoreline. Abrams Creek, the longest stream located entirely within the park, is named for Old Abraham of Chilhowee.
Largest at 1734 acres, Chilhowee Lake has two beaches, picnic areas, several boat launches and fishing piers. A canoe portage is marked around the Calderwood Dam upstream. Chilhowie Lake provides part of the boundary between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest.