Philpott Lake, Virginia, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Virginia - Blue Ridge Highlands - Southern Virginia -

Also known as:  Philpott Reservoir

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.

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

Philpott Lake Photo Gallery

Philpott Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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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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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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