Philpott Lake, Virginia, USA

Also known as:  Philpott Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Philpott Lake.

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Philpott Lake visitor and community guide

Snuggled into the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 2,880-acre Philpott Lake resides in southwestern Virginia’s Franklin, Henry, and Patrick Counties. The irregular-shaped reservoir stretches along the border of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highlands and Southern tourism regions. The Army Corps of Engineers created the lake in 1952 by damming the Smith River. Philpott Lake provides flood control, generates hydroelectric power, and offers outdoor recreation for thousands of yearly visitors. The reservoir is publicly owned, so there is no residential development along its shoreline. Communing with nature converts first-time visitors to repeat vacationers.

Philpott Lake offers multiple campgrounds, boat launches, and beach areas. The focus here is on drinking in the scenery, enjoying the refreshing water, and truly getting away from it all for a relaxing few days in the Virginia sun. Camping facilities at Philpott range from primitive to deluxe, some with nearby hot water showers, water hookups, and electric. Depending on your needs, you can camp at Beech Point, Bowens Creek, Deer Island, Goose Point, Horseshoe Point, Jamison Mill, Mines Branch, Mize Point, Philpott Park, Runnett Bag, Ryans Branch, Salthouse Branch, Spring Cove, or Turkey Island.

These well-equipped camping facilities not only provide a place to lay down your head, but also serve as the beginning point to your vacation. Hiking trails weave through the campgrounds, offering you an entrance point to the great Virginia hardwood forests. F.U.N. at Philpott, short for Families Understanding Nature, has wonderful programs to help little and big family members understand everything around them.

Walking through forests of American Beech, American Hornbeam, Black Locust, Cocumbertree, Flowering Dogwood, and Oak, you’ll learn about Philpott’s black bears, which can weigh up to 600 pounds, its beavers, also known as nature’s engineers, area coyotes, a newcomer to Philpott’s forests, the black vultures and turkey vultures that act as natural sanitation devices, and the whitetail deer that make their home among the trees. Nature lovers of all ages will feel privileged to catch glimpses of these creatures, living in woods that seem untouched by humans.

When you’re ready to get out on the water, you’ll find that clear, cool waters await you. Hop in your speed boat, jet-ski, kayak, canoe, or pontoon boat and head out to discover the near-3000 acres that await you. Slip on your water skis or drop anchor in the location of your choice, dive into the waters, and when you’ve worked up an appetite, pull out the picnic you’ve packed for the day. With the big blue sky above and the intense green forest all around, the day is yours to do as you please.

Philpott Lake is popular with anglers looking to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass outnumber smallmouth bass by a factor of five to one. The reservoir also has one of the better walleye populations in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries stocks the reservoir with approimately 144,000 fingerling walleye every year.

Adjacent to Philpott Lake is the 4,537-acre Fairy Stone State Park, which is home to the mysterious “fairy stones”. These cross-shaped stones are the mineral staurolite, formed under heat and pressure during the rise of the Appalachian Mountains. The park offers nine miles of hiking trails, swimming, boating, fishing, camping, plus cabin and lodge accommodations.

Philpott Lake’s ideal location and unique building rules make it a true escape to nature. Come prepared to get to know Virginia’s forest, wildlife, and natural history as you relax and enjoy your peaceful vacation.

Custom Philpott Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Philpott Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish species found at Philpott Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Philpott Lake

The Philpott Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Philpott Lake photo gallery

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Philpott Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 2,880 acres

Shoreline Length: 100 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 974 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 927 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 985 feet

Water Volume: 250,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1952

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