From Exit 68 of I-20 on the north side of Columbia go north on SC 215, Monticello Road, for 26 miles. Here turn left (west) into a small park. Beyond the athletic fields is a fishing pier and an overlook of the lake.
Birds to look for
Canada Goose, Lesser Scaup (w), Bufflehead (w), Red-breasted Merganser (w), Common Loon (w), Pied-billed Grebe (w), Horned Grebe (w), Double-crested Cormorant, Osprey (s), Bald Eagle, American Coot (w), Spotted Sandpiper (spring, fall), Bonaparte's Gull (w), Ring-billed Gull (w), Herring Gull (w), Caspian Tern (spring, fall), Forster's Tern, Black Tern (fall), Chuck-will's-widow (s), Whip-poor-will (s), Purple Martin (s)
Lake Monticello is a cooling reservoir for a nuclear power plant. Its water is pumped up out of the Broad River. As a result the water is a lot clearer than the water of most Piedmont reservoirs. This makes the lake very attractive to loons and diving ducks, which are its main attraction. Common Loons often persist at Lake Monticello into early May, rather later than on most Piedmont reservoirs. It is not unusual to hear loons calling on the lake on foggy spring mornings.