What Is Smith Mountain Lake State Park?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Smith Mountain Lake State Park is a public park in the state of Virginia in the United States. The park can be found in Bedford County, near the community of Huddlestown. Visitors to Smith Mountain Lake State Park can enjoy boating, swimming and fishing on Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia's second biggest lake. The lake offers a 500-foot (152.4-meter) public beach, said to be capable of receiving 1,000 beach-goers. The park also offers tent and cabin camping, picnic areas, and about 13 miles (20.9 kilometers) of hiking trails. Smith Mountain Lake State Park was opened in 1983, and the public beach was opened in 1989.

Those who wish to enjoy Smith Mountain Lake State Park can swim at the lake's public beach, which is watched over by lifeguard staff during daylight hours. Boating and fishing are also possible on Smith Mountain Lake. The park's hiking trails generally offer visitors a chance to observe local native plants and animals. Several cabins accommodating two to eight persons are available for rental. Bunkhouse rentals may be available for larger groups, and tent camping sites are usually available for those who wish to camp in a more rustic fashion.


In addition to hiking and aquatic sports, the staff of Smith Mountain Lake State Park also provide a number of education and fun activities for children and adults. Guided nocturnal hikes sometimes take place, as do hay-wagon rides. Children can enjoy fishing lessons on Smith Mountain Lake, or can learn about the natural world in the Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park Junior Naturalists club. The park also hosts two annual triathlons, one in late spring, and the other in early autumn.

Construction of Smith Mountain Lake began in 1960, under the authority of the Appalachian Power Corporation. The lake occurred as a direct result of dam construction in Smith Mountain Gap, on the Roanoke River. Construction of the dam took the company about six years. In 1967, Appalachian Power donated a small portion of the land near the new lake to the state of Virginia for use as a public park. As the years passed, state officials purchased more land in the area, until they were finally able to open the 1,248-acre (5.05-square-kilometer) park in 1983.


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Post 1

Do not take horse wagon rides at this resort. At this very resort my mother was almost killed, and in a coma for six months. She is paralyzed on her right side and out of work to this day.

The wagon driver ran away after crashing (not to be seen again), leaving me (8 years old at the time) and my sister who was six, to run the two miles back to the resort by ourselves, bleeding from our heads. I can't believe they still offer those rides. Stay away from them! Make sure you see the rider's background check!

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