Spring Hollow Reservoir, Virginia, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Virginia - Shenandoah Valley -

Spring Hollow Reservoir is a prime example of planned water supply storage in Virginia’s southern Shenandoah Valley region. The 158-acre reservoir was created by building a dam across a valley southwest of the city of Roanoke. The dam encloses water pumped from the nearby Roanoke River. Called an off-stream storage reservoir, over three billion gallons of water can be held behind the Clifford D. Craig Memorial Dam. The lake created is 220 feet deep in places, nestled beneath green and forested rolling hills in a picturesque natural setting. It’s hard to believe that this lake is entirely man-made.

Beautiful Spring Hollow Reservoir lies within a 540-acre watershed owned and managed by the Western Virginia Water Authority. Those lucky enough to enjoy the lake and surrounding hills are the campers attending Camp Roanoke, a children’s camp owned by Roanoke County and operated by the Department of Parks, Tourism and Recreation. All summer long, camp weeks organized for different age groups allow county children to enjoy a traditional overnight camp with canoeing, archery, campfire sings, disk golf, a challenge course and skill-building activities. The county-operated camp maintains the tradition of the original Camp Roanoke for boys begun in 1925. Long before there was Spring Hollow Reservoir, Camp Roanoke helped build fond summer memories. When the original camp closed in the 1980s, Roanoke County purchased the large property to build Spring Hollow Reservoir and planned a new generation of memory-making for area children.

Adults also get a chance to enjoy Spring Hollow Reservoir if they take advantage of the camp rentals offered to organized groups on weeks when a children’s camp is not scheduled. Rental of camp facilities include the bunkhouses, camp kitchen, catering, large pavilion and long stretches of hiking trails. Nothing indicates that fishing is available, or that motorized boating is allowed. Because this is drinking water supply, access to the lake is strictly limited. However, the views over the natural-appearing reservoir are available to all visitors. Occasionally the Parks, Tourism and Recreation Department opens the site to the public for a walking adventure around the four miles of shoreline. On these excursions, binoculars for bird-watching are suggested.

Spring Hollow Reservoir is an innovative system designed to supply drinking water to large areas. The dam is constructed with rolled-compact concrete, a building method proven to be extremely stable and not likely to need a great deal of maintenance. Pumped off-stream storage of water is considered less disruptive to the watershed and fish as the river’s flow is not re-directed. Biological studies of the fish and aquatic life forms have resulted in agreements to reduce pumping at specified times of the year to prevent withdrawing too much water during spawning seasons. The reservoir acts as its own settlement pond to filter sediments before water enters the treatment plant. After treatment, the water is stored in a two million gallon storage tank for distribution. The current capacity of treated water can be doubled in the future as the need arises.

The reservoir’s recent construction and isolated watershed have allowed the system to be used for many studies exploring water quality. Because of the extreme depth of the lake and the lack of a natural river current, water tends to stratify, leaving water carrying more oxygen in the upper zone. When algae forms in the oxygenated upper layer with its plentiful sunlight, it tends die and fall toward the bottom, only partially decaying due to lack of oxygen in the lower layer. A new form of oxygen-diffuser pumps compressed air into the lower oxygen-starved zone, facilitating more complete biodegradation and leaving the resulting drinking water taste and odor free. Such experiments in new reservoirs allow a better understanding of how to improve the health of compromised water systems, hopefully leading to better and cheaper methods of water quality management.

There are other lakes in the Roanoke area where public access is encouraged, such as Carvins Cove northeast of Roanoke. The area is blessed with plentiful opportunities for outdoor recreation, and the sightseeing is spectacular. The county offers four different entry points to the Blue Ridge Parkway with numerous venues for hiking, fishing, scenic viewpoints, picnicking and camping. South near Salem, Dixie Caverns allows entry to some of the few caves in southwestern Virginia. Nearby, Smithfield Plantation preserves the home, outbuildings and beautiful gardens of a pre-Revolutionary War plantation. Southeast of Roanoke, the Booker T. Washington National Monument near Smith Mountain Lake preserves the birthplace of this famed and history-changing former slave.

The City of Roanoke holds a number of museums and arts venues. The Science Museum of Western Virginia provides hands-on exhibits that will delight children as they learn about the past and their natural world. Mill Mountain Zoo protects and breeds endangered species while offering a seldom-seen glimpse at the life habits of some of these rare creatures. The Harrison Museum of African American Culture preserves and showcases the cultural, historic and artistic legacy of African-Americans. And the Taubman Museum of Art displays the best of contemporary and modern art. The city holds numerous hotels, motels, inns and bed & breakfasts, with campgrounds, guest cabins and other unique forms of lodgings found in the surrounding area. All types of nightlife, antique shops, one-of-a-kind shopping and the offerings of local artisans will keep every member of the family busy during a visit.

So, plan a leisurely drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and make Roanoke a must-stop location. Bring hiking boots, binoculars and plenty of free time for visiting all there is to see and do in these misty mountains. And check the Parks Tourism and Recreation website to get the opportunity to visit beautiful Spring Hollow Reservoir.If they schedule that four-mile lakeshore hike, jump at the chance.

Things to do at Spring Hollow Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Spring Hollow Reservoir Photo Gallery

    Spring Hollow Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

    divider

    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Western Virginia Water Authority

    Surface Area: 158 acres

    Shoreline Length: 4 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,422 feet

    Maximum Depth: 220 feet

    Water Volume: 10,434 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1993

    Drainage Area: 1 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

    Spread the word! Share our Spring Hollow Reservoir article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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."


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.