Smith Mountain Lake State Park is a public recreation area near Huddleston in Bedford County. This picturesque park is only 40 miles from both Roanoke and Lynchburg and is nestled along the state’s 2nd largest freshwater lake.
Visitors come to this 1,248 acre Virginia state park and public beach to swim, boat, fish, picnic, camp, explore trails, learn about nature and birdwatch.
When you visit Smith Mountain Lake State Park you’ll immediately appreciate its peacefulness and rustic beauty. Spend a day and enjoy the trails, picnic areas (and playground) and the lake. Or stay for a few nights. While the park is open year round, some features are only offered seasonally – snack bar, guarded swimming, camping and a Discovery Center.
During your visit check out the visitor center’s exhibits, displays, gift shop and program information (night hikes, hay rides, canoe trips, twilight programs, Jr Naturalists and much more).
Here are some of the other activities that you can do during your visit to Smith Mountain Lake State Park:
Swimming at Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Smith Mountain Lake has 2 public beaches and one is located inside of the park. This 500’ beach has guarded swimming and a snack bar from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Swimming anywhere else in the park is not advised.
Boating at Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Enjoy a relaxing day out on the state’s second largest lake. Rentals of canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, pontoon boats, ski boats and jet skis are available inside the park between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And outside year round at Bridgewater Plaza.
A launch fee is required unless staying overnight inside the park. There are no overnight mooring areas except in the cabin area for cabin guests only.
Fishing at Smith Mountain Lake State Park
The lake has bass (smallmouth, largemouth, black and striped), catfish, shad, perch, muskellunge, sunfish and crappie. Fish from boat, shore or along the universally accessible fishing pier. Remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater fishing license.
Trails at Smith Mountain Lake State Park
The park’s 13 hiking trails range from half a mile to three miles long and spread throughout the woods, grassy fields and along the lake. All of the trails are open to pedestrians and mountain bikers and range from easy to moderate in skill level.
Here are a few of the more popular trails at Smith Mountain Lake State Park:
- Turtle Island Trail – An easy 1.2 mile loop through the woods, over a bridge and around an island with beautiful views of the water.
- Chestnut Ridge Trail – Easy 1.7 trail with views of the water and mountains. This well maintained path has a few up and down sections.
- Striper Cove Trail – Moderate 3.5 mile loop out to the picnic area by the lake. This trail has more elevation changes but is shaded and has benches scattered along its path.
- Buck Run Trail – Moderate 3.3 mile hilly trail through the oak and hickory forest and past wildflower fields and lots of wildlife.
- Walton Creek Trail – Easy 2.8 mile trail that is mostly flat, well marked and mostly shaded along the shore of Smith Mountain Lake.
Wildlife Viewing at Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Many birds, both native and migratory, love the peaceful atmosphere of the woods and around the lake. During your visit to Smith Mountain Lake State Park you will have a chance to see eagles, osprey, great blue heron, cardinals, ducks, loons, chickadees, blue jays, woodpeckers, robins, wrens, bluebirds, doves and many more species.
White-tailed deer, squirrels, foxes, turtles, snakes, frogs, salamanders and other wildlife are also commonly seen within the park.
Camping at Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Smith Mountain Lake State Park has many choices for overnight accommodations – tent and RV camping, cabins, lake view cabins and a bunkhouse.
The camping season runs from the first Friday in March through the first Monday in December. Full-service bathhouses, free boat launching and a day of guarded beach swimming are available during that time for overnight guests.
Here’s a closer look at each of these accommodations:
The park has 50 campsites, all cozily located within the woods but without views of the lake. These sites contain 26 tent-only, 19 back-in sites with water and electric connections for vans, popups or RVs up to 30’, and 5 pull-through sites with water and electric connections for vans, popups and RVs up to 50’. Electric connections are 20 and 30-amp.
The Bunkhouse is a 2 room climate controlled trailer that sleeps up to 14 guests. It has 7 bunk beds, a refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and electric outlets. The bunkhouse also has a porch and large covered deck with 2 picnic tables, 2 other tables, 8 chairs, a charcoal grill and a fire ring.
Cabins are available year round. There are 11 two-bedroom cabins, 8 two-bedroom cabins with lake views and 1 three-bedroom cabin. The 2 bedroom cabins sleep 4-6 (pull-out sofa) and the 3 bedroom cabin sleeps up to 8.
Each cabin has a fully equipped kitchen and combined dining and living room area with a woodstove and mission style rustic furniture. Outside the cabins have decks with rocking chairs.
Cabins do not have a dishwasher, washer/dryer, telephone, tv or linens. You will need to bring your own linens, pillows, warm blankets (it can get very chilly at night), food, dishwashing liquid, dish towels, coffee and filters, salt and pepper, bath towels and toiletries and activities such as board games, cards, magazines and books.
Pets at Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Pets are allowed inside the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area. There’s an additional $10 fee per pet per night for the bunkhouse and cabins. Please clean up after your pet and do not leave them unattended at any time.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park
1235 Rd 888
Huddleston, VA 24104
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Smith Mountain Lake State Park: