Smith Mountain Lake Details
Smith Mountain Lake is a man made lake ranging from 10-40 miles southeast of Roanoke, Virginia, and 30 miles southwest of Lynchburg, Virginia. Initial proposals were made in the late 1920s to dam the Roanoke River and the Blackwater River at the Smith Mountain gorge to generate hydroelectric power. The American Electric Power Company (AEP) eventually began construction on the dam in 1960. By 1963 the dam was in place and Smith Mountain Lake reached its normal water level in March 1966. The lake has 20,600 surface acres covering over 32 square miles and provides over 500 miles of shoreline. The north shore of the lake lies entirely in Bedford County. The majority of the south shore of the lake lies in Franklin County while a portion, including access to the dam, lies in Pittsylvania County.
The dam produces pumped-storage hydroelectricity. Water flows through the dam turbines and into Leesville Lake during the day (high demand time) to produce supplemental electricity. Water is then pumped from Leesville Lake back into Smith Mountain Lake at night (low demand time). The dam is operated by Appalachian Power a subsidiary of American Electric Power. The water level of Smith Mountain Lake varies during the day and night, as water flows through (and is pumped back through) the dam.
The normal maximum level of the lake (also known as “Full Pond”) is regulated to 795 feet above sea level. The level will be lower during periods of extended drought. Lake levels were about six feet below normal from time to time, during the years 2001 to 2003 and again in 2007 and 2112, after several years of below-average rainfall. This would have devastated water activities on most lakes but Smith Mountain Lake was open for business as usual except for a few folks in the back of some of the coves.
For more information regarding Smith Mountain Lake and its dam, visit: The Smith Mountain Project.
Recreation and Community at Smith Mountain Lake
Smith Mountain Lake has become a popular recreational area for the region and a destination for many seeking a lakefront home or lake access home near the lake. The area lies in a broad valley nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of rural south-central Virginia. Communities around the lake include Huddleston, Moneta and Goodview on the north side and Moneta, Hardy, Wirtz, Union Hall, and Penhook on the south side. Several annual community events are scheduled throughout the year that showcase the lake and local beauty. A popular 4th of July Fireworks Show, the White House Fall Festival, the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival, and a Memorial Poker Run hosted by the Smith Mountain Lake Boating Association are just a few of the events that make the Smith Mountain Lake Community a fun and exciting place to call home.
Of course the main attraction afforded by Smith Mountain Lake is the lake itself. Fishing is very popular, especially for striped bass and black bass (large mouth and small mouth) and the lake hosts several professional fishing tournaments each year including two major ESPN elite tournaments within the last five years. Boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, and riding personal watercraft are also common activities. Smith Mountain Lake State Park opened in 1983 on the Bedford County side and provided a beach and a section for swimming in addition to the rental cabins and camp grounds. The Franklin County Community Park opened within the last five years on the Franklin County side of the Smith Mountain Lake providing a fishing pier and tie-ups, a beautiful beach and walking trails and will continue to add amenities in the future. Golf at one of the several nearby courses is a popular activity, attracting local, regional, and national players.
Virginia lakefront real estate is a rare find and Smith Mountain Lake real estate is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after commodities of the southeast. Temperatures are moderate in both the winter and summer months making the area a great place for full time residents and part timers alike. The continued growth of the area provides more and more amenities each year but we still have the rural climate that attracted the first visitors to the area more than forty years ago. If you’re looking for an investment property, a second home or you want to be a full time resident and what you’ve heard and read about Smith Mountain Lake interests you, please take the time to investigate the area more thoroughly. There’s a Smith Mountain Lake property waiting just for you. Please use one of the search features of this web site or call me directly to start the process, you won’t regret it!