GENERAL INFO: On the second largest freshwater lake in the state, this picturesque park is the water enthusiast's paradise. There are numerous water activities, including swimming, boat rentals, a boat ramp and a universally accessible fishing pier. Families can also enjoy picnicking, a visitor center, an amphitheater, special programs, camping, miles of trails and cabins with boat docks.
Current weather: Roanoke weather: 540-982-2303. Lynchburg weather: (804) 528-1212. Click here to visit the Weather Channel's site for this zip code.
AT-A-GLANCE: The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Click on those of interest or read below for more detail. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
LOCATION: The park is on the north shore of Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford County, approximately 40 miles from both Lynchburg and Roanoke and 140 miles from Richmond. To get there, take U.S. 460 to Route 122 South to Moneta, then go east on Route 608 to White House. Next go south on Route 626 for two miles to park entrance.
Its address is 1235 State Park Road, Huddleston, VA 24104-9547.
Latitude, 37.079625. Longitude, -79.610993.
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES: Cabins and camping. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees.
Click here for details on reservation cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for overnight stays.
Visit a Flickr photoset of typical cabins and lodges at Smith Mountain Lake. Cabins and lodges vary. Dwellings may not match what's shown in the photos.
Guests arriving after the office has closed will find information on how to access their cabin in the late-arrival box just outside the visitor center. Check in at the park office the next morning. All overnight guests' vehicles should be registered with the office.
Total sites of each type: Two-bedroom frame, 11; two-bedroom frame waterview, 8; three-bedroom frame, 1
Two-bedroom frame - Two bedrooms; wood frame; one queen bed; two singles; foldout couch; ceramic tile floors with carpeted bedrooms. Two-bedroom cabins have a bathroom with shower.
Two-bedroom frame waterview - Two bedrooms; wood frame; one queen bed; two singles; foldout couch; ceramic tile floors with carpeted bedrooms. The two-bedroom cabins have a bathroom with shower.
Three-bedroom frame - Three bedrooms; wood frame; two queen beds; two singles; foldout couch; ceramic tile floors with carpeted bedrooms. The three bedroom cabin has two bathrooms (one universally accessible shower; the other has a tub). The three-bedroom cabins are meant to sleep six. Eight are allowed, but this relies on the use of a fold-out sofa for the extra two people.
Total cabins: 20
Although the only fully universally accessible cabin in the park is cabin 7, numerous cabins, while not fully accessible, are better suited for customers having disabilities. Because of hilly terrain, all cabins other than cabin 7 have steps. Cabins 15, 17 and 19 have two steps, cabins 10, 13 and 20 have three steps, cabin 14 has four steps, and cabins 6, 12 and 18 have five steps. The remaining cabins are unsuitable for those with disabilities because of numerous steps or steep grades leading into the cabin.
Total sites of each type: TENT, 25
Site type: Tent Std - Tent only. No water and electric. No hookups; no vans. All sites have a small gravel surface. The area has only a general parking lot, so only one vehicle is allowed per site. No boats or trailers allowed in tent site parking area. Tent campers with boats must park their boats in the overflow parking area at the entrance to the campground. Bathhouse available.
Total sites of each type: EW 30ft BackIn, 19; EW 50ftPulThru, 5; Tent Std, 26
EW 30ft BackIn - Tent/van/pop-up/camper/RV up to 30 feet. Gravel sites. Five are minimum impact sites. Sites located in the woods. This site is well-suited for campers towing a small boat. Water and electric sites. All equipment must fit on the site and not encroahc on natural areas.
EW 50ftPulThru, 5 - Tent/van/pop-up/camper/RV up to 50'. These gravel, pull-through sites are recommended for campers with large RVs or larger boats. Because of the gravel, tent set-ups are discouraged. Campers with smaller boat should request site type EW 30ft BackIn. Water and electricity available. All equipment must fit on the site and not encroahc on natural areas.
RV sites (EW 30ft BackIn and EW 50ftPulThru, 5accept outlets for 20 and 30 amp current. There are no waterfront sites at this park. These sites have electric and water, and a bathhouse is available.
General campground information:
Camping Lodge (bunkhouse) - no weekly requirement.
The park has a camping lodge (bunkhouse), which is not a full service lodge, for rent. It's a two-room trailer with seven bunk beds ( five in one room and two in another), a refrigerator, a microwave oven, a coffee pot and air conditioning. It has no heating. The bunkhouse has a has a porch and a large covered deck with two picnic table, two other tables and eight chairs. It also has a charcoal grill and a fire ring. Smoking, portable heaters and cooking, except with the microwave oven, are not permitted in the lodge. There's a fire hydrant next to the lodge in the parking lot. Four vehicles are permitted with rental of the lodge; the daily parking fee must be paid for additional vehicles. RVs and trailers may not be parked in the bunk house parking lot; there's an overflow parking lot about 100 yards away.
It's available only during camping season, March 1 to the first Monday in December. The facility becomes available in January each year; unlike most overnight facilities, it is not sold 11 months in advance. Check-in is 3 p.m., and check-out is 10 a.m.
The transfer deadline and cancellation and pet fees are the same as those for cabins.
SWIMMING: The park’s 500-foot beach is one of only two public beaches on the lake. The beach can accommodate 1,000 people and is guarded during operating hours. In the summer, swimming is free for overnight guests, however it cannot be guaranteed should circumstances beyond the park's control require that swimming be stopped. We do not give refunds for swimming to overnight guests under any circumstances.
Swimming fees: Click here for park fees.
TRAILS: There are 13 hiking trails ranging from half a mile to three miles long. Trails meander through the park’s various features, including hardwood forests, pine forests, secluded coves and picturesque vistas. They are open year-round during daylight hours.
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Smith Mountain Lake's trails.
WILDLIFE: Virginia State Parks are great places to discover and reconnect with the wild world. Bring a camera and share your captures with the world. But please don't disturb or get too close to the animals. The park is, after all, their home. Here are a few recent natural encounters others have had at Smith Mountain Lake.
View all wildlife encounter photos from Smith Mountain Lake.
FISHING, BOATING: Located on Smith Mountain Lake, the park offers ample opportunities for shore and boat fishing. You’ll find striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish and several other species.
Boat launching fee required for day-use public; overnight guests launch for free. There are no overnight mooring areas except in the cabin area for cabin guests only. The campers must return their boats to the campsite or overflow parking area. Boat rentals (canoes, kayaks, hydrobikes, paddleboats, pontoon boats, ski boats and jet skis) are available at the park from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The park concessionaire also rents boats offsite the rest of the year. Reservations are taken for those wishing to rent more than six hours. From Memorial Day through Labor day, call 540-297-3642 for information and reservations; call 540-721-1639 the rest of the year. Purchase an annual boat launch fee by calling 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees.
HUNTING: Click here to learn about this park's hunting opportunities.
EVENTS: Click here to view park events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP: The park’s visitor center, built in 2009, has various displays, handles guest services and has a small gift shop. The park's Discovery Center, which is near the park's interpretive trail and has WiFi access, has exhibits on the history and folklore of the area and the lake’s aquatic environment. Call the park at 540-297-6066 for dates and hours of operation. The Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park manages the gift shop and helps operate the Discovery Center.
Many interpretive programs take place here or at the nearby amphitheater. The amphitheater can be reserved for small weddings or family reunions at the same price as a large shelter's (see above). A special user permit approved by the park manager is required for use of the amphitheater; allow at least two weeks for processing. There are no grills for cooking or picnic tables are in this vicinity, and the area may be used for interpretive events. The location is reserved on first-come first-served basis. Call the park directly at 540-297-6066 for availability. A small playground is nearby.
NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS: Night hikes, hay rides, canoe trips, twilight programs, Junior Naturalists. Junior Naturalists is a program for children 6-10 years old. The program focuses on themes of nature, and arts and crafts. It is sponsored by the Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park.
Click here to view park events festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Various festivals year-round around the lake. Call Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-676-8203 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and visit www.visitsmithmountainlake.com for lists of special events and articles on local sights and businesses. The Smith Mountain Dam Visitor Center is open at various times; call 540-985-2587. Also near the park are the Booker T. Washington National Monument, 540-721-2094), the Blue Ridge Parkway and Peaks of Otter, 540-857-2485. National D-Day Memorial, 540-586-3329, www.dday.org. Visit www.bridgewaterplaza.com to learn more about the concession that handles boat rentals at the park. Molliver Vineyards and Winery offers wine tastings, tours, wine sales and a variety of outdoor recreation on its 134-acre vineyard and winery on the Bannister River.
PICNIC SHELTERS: Picnic area pads have a table and a grill. A water fountain is near the picnic area restrooms. A small picnic shelter, able to accommodate up to 50 people, is also available by reservation on a first-come, first-served basis by calling the Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARK. The picnic area is open year-round. A large playground is in the picnic area. There's a smaller playground at the Discovery Center. Parking and swimming fees are not included in shelter rental. Click here for park fees.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park Picnic Shelter - One shelter is available for rent. It can be rented from 8 a.m. to dusk (all day). The park also rents an amphitheater through its office. Shelters may be rented year-round.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
The shelter cannot be seen from the road as it is 50 yards from the gravel parking lot down a wooded trail. It accommodates 48 people under the shelter. Thirty more tables and grills are in the area, but they are not reserved and the general public uses the other tables around the shelter. The shelter has a large grill and picnic tables. Restrooms are accessible at the parking lot, approximately 100 yards from the shelter. There is no electricity or water at shelter. Parking is available in gravel lot with additional paved parking farther from the shelter. There is a playground nearby. Prior arrangements must be made with staff if any guests are disabled or if a caterer will be used.
CONCESSIONS: The swimming complex offers concessions with food service, various notions and a bathhouse. The park operates the beach and food area Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Times may change because of poor weather. Boat rentals are available during Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Beach hours may be limited during the last two weeks of August when staff members return to school. Please call the park for open-beach hours during this time.
HISTORY: Smith Mountain Lake itself was created in 1960 when Appalachian Power built a dam on the Roanoke River in Smith Mountain Gap. Construction of the dam was completed in 1966, and in 1967 Appalachian Power donated the first parcel of park's land for the proposed park. The state bought the rest of the park's land over the next six years. The park opened to the public in 1983.
FRIENDS GROUP: Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park, a nonprofit citizen group, helps conserve the park's natural, cultural, scenic and recreational resources. The group offers various recreational and educational opportunities and promotes environmental stewardship for one of Virginia's largest lakes. Join up or learn more about the friends group by emailing email@example.com or visiting the group's website.
Master plans must be written for parks before they're built.
The plans are updated at least once every five years thereafter.
The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources.
Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan.
Click here (PDF) for this park's master plan.
CONTACT INFO: Smith Mountain Lake State Park, 1235 State Park Road, Huddleston, VA 24104-9547; phone, 540-297-6066; email, smlake. Learn more about park offerings by calling 1-800-933-PARK or email resvs. Be sure to specify the park of interest.