Smith Mountain Lake is a 20,600 acre lake with 500 miles of shoreline offering sailing, water skiing and wake boarding, jet skiing, paddling, stand up paddling, and swimming. There are several public boat ramps and private marinas nestled among lots of lakefront real estate. The lake is a popular tourist attraction.
Off-water you’ll enjoy sightseeing that includes many spectacular views of Smith Mountain Lake’s mountainous 500-mile shoreline. Five challenging golf courses surround the lake, and Smith Mountain Lake State Park includes miles of hiking trails.
Fairy Stone State Park, the largest of Virginia’s six original state parks (4,741 acres), is home to its namesake “fairy stones.” These rare mineral crosses and the park’s scenic beauty, rich history, and ample recreational opportunities make it a local and regional favorite.
More than 9 miles of multi-use trails and a 168-acre lake will keep you busy. The park is also just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Franklin County Recreation Park is a 150-acre park, located south of Rocky Mount (just 2 miles from Route 220). The park offers a variety of outdoor activities for all ages including, fishing in a 3-acre lake. It hosts various special events and athletic tournaments.
Grassy Hill is a prominent landmark on the west side of Rocky Mount. The site is characterized by rocky slopes forested with hardwood species and scattered patches of Virginia pine. Shallow, basic, heavy-clay soils predominate and outcrops of magnesium-rich bedrock are common. These unusual soil and rock substrates provide habitat for rare woodland communities. Several rare plants grow in small grassy openings near the hill’s summit.
The trail includes 6.6 miles of hiking trails with signage. Parking for trail users is available adjacent to the preserve.
There are some tough climbs and a few short downhill segments.. Various stretches of the trail run along the shoreline of Philpott Lake. The approximately 7-foot wide trail can be accessed from Philpott Dam (Franklin County side) or Salthouse Branch Park. Parking is limited at Salthouse Branch Park ($4 day-use fee) and not accessible for equestrians at that location.
The park is open year-round and offers a partly-covered handicap accessible fishing pier with seating, picnic shelters with grill, playground area, restrooms, hiking, jogging, and a beach with lifeguards on duty when open.
The park includes 3 miles of pleasant lake and wooded view hiking. Entry and exit points are scattered throughout the park.
Waid Recreation Area is a 220-acre facility located near Rocky Mount, along the site of the Old Carolina Wagon Trail. The park is nestled near the Pigg River, which is home of the “Pigg River Ramble.”
More than 400 acres of rolling terrain and creek crossings make this area great for beginners and more experienced hikers and bikers. The location also hosts various special events and athletic leagues.
Located on Smith Mountain Lake, Bridgewater Marina rents canoes and kayaks from Smith Mountain Lake State Park. State Park Rentals is conveniently located right on the beach in the park and features some of the most beautiful scenery on the lake. Rent a paddleboat, kayak, canoe, paddleboard, pontoon boat, runabout, waverunner, or tube, kneeboard, wakeboard, or skis.
Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is the second largest municipal park in the nation. It holds a major water source within its 12,700 acres and overflowing recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, fishing, and boat rentals. The cove includes 11,363 acres that are protected by the largest conservation easement in Virginia’s history.
With more than 60 miles of trails and an 800-acre reservoir Carvins Cove is a mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating paradise.
Claytor Lake is a 4,500 acre lake with a marina, three public boat ramps, and a public beach. Public access is somewhat limited but there is a good boat launch area at Claytor Lake State Park on the northern shore of the lake. The state only stocks smallmouth bass and walleye but there is a fair population of muskellunge in the lake as well.
Nestled among Bolar, Oliver and Little mountains Lake Moomaw is a jewel about 90 minutes drive north of Roanoke. Because it is completely surrounded by the George Washington National Forest this beautiful lake has been spared development. Access to the entire lake is open but boat ramps are primarily undeveloped and suited only to watercraft that can be carried, with the exception one small marina operated at the southern tip of the lake. The lake is quite deep and boasts healthy populations of reproducing brown and rainbow trout. The state periodically stocks both large and smallmouth bass to supplement the existing populations.
Mountain 2 Island Paddleboard company is the leading Paddleboard company located on Claytor Lake, offering specialized stand up paddling services, from rentals and gear to complete instruction and awesome tours. Mountain 2 Island also sells paddleboards from some of the top brands in the industry.
Lessons and tours include:
Call or email firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.
Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia’s most popular lake, offers superb recreational activities, 500 miles of shoreline, a wide variety of water sports, and affordable lakefront real estate. Known locally as “SML,” it is the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Smith Mountain Lake is best known for its Striped Bass fishery. This lake regularly leads the state in producing “citation” sized stripers. There are also good populations of both large and smallmouth bass. Public access is very good with both public boat ramps and private marinas.
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