Top 13 Best Lakes to Visit in West Virginia

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West Virginia is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, which includes mountains and undulating hills. In reality, it is one of the most densely karstic ... read more...

  1. South of Summersville in Nicholas County, a rock-fill dam called the Summersville Dam created the reservoir known as Summersville Lake. With 2,700 acres (1,100 hectares) of water and more than 60 miles (97 km) of shoreline at the summer pool water level, it is the largest lake in West Virginia. Its deepest point is 327 feet.

    The lake is also perfect for scuba diving due to its high temperature and the steep cliffs that are submerged. Although there is an on-site diving store, seasoned divers are encouraged to bring their own boats and gear. Under the lake, there is a little boat that was deliberately sunk so that scuba divers would have something to look at. The Summersville Lake Lighthouse, West Virginia's only operational lighthouse, is situated on the cliffs above Summersville Lake. Since 2007, cliff jumping has been prohibited at Summersville Lake.

    The exceptional water quality makes it ideal for activities like swimming, fishing, and use of many sorts of watercraft. Camping, picnics, and rock climbing are additional possibilities in the nearby hills. Rock climbing on the area's hills is an option for lake visitors who would rather not get their feet wet, as is picnicking along the shore.

    Location: Nicholas County

    Photo:  iStock
    Photo: iStock
    Photo:  West Virginia
    Photo: West Virginia

  2. Located immediately upstream of the junction of the New and Greenbrier Rivers, Bluestone Dam is a concrete gravity dam that creates Bluestone Lake, a flood control reservoir. Bluestone Lake, which was initially constructed for flood management, spanned 58 kilometers across three West Virginia counties and into neighboring Virginia. Nevertheless, it is today a well-liked vacation spot with numerous open boat launches and a sizable campground.

    The Lake can expand from its typical size of about 2,040 acres (8.3 km2) to about 36 miles (58 km) long, 165 feet (50 m) high, and 2,048 feet (624 m). Boating and fishing are among the lake's recreational pursuits. The facilities that run in the neighborhood also offer camping, zip line, and mountain biking outings.

    Canoes, jet skis, and pontoon boats are just a few of the watercraft that can be hired here; the lake is also home to a wide variety of fish. Bulltown Recreation Areas, which also provide amenities like a swimming beach, picnic tables, restrooms, and horseshoe pits, welcome those who want to fish from the shore.

    Location: Mercer, Monroe & Summers Counties

    Photo:  Foxfire Realty
    Photo: Foxfire Realty
    Photo:  My Buckhannon
    Photo: My Buckhannon
  3. In the northwest of West Virginia, close to the community of Lavalette, there is a 3,144-acre park that contains the 720-acre (2.9 km2) man-made reservoir known as Beech Fork Lake. The park is crisscrossed with a fantastic assortment of hiking and bike paths, and next to the dam is a lovely swimming beach. The Flood Control Act of October 23, 1962, allowed the construction of The Lake as a flood control impoundment. In May 1978, the lake was finished and dedicated.

    It is a stunning lake where birdwatchers throng to see, among other species, wood warblers, thrushes, chats, vireos, ovenbirds, and cuckoos. Near the dam, the lake has a lovely swimming beach. Boats with more than 10 horsepower are not permitted, but kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats are. The lake is also wonderful for camping, hiking, riding, and fishing. A playground, picnic areas, and a fishing pier are also included. Boats with more than 10 horsepower are not allowed on the lake, but the marina offers kayak, canoe, and paddle boat rentals. The lake is also a well-liked place for boating. The lakefront campsites, which are available year-round and have picnic tables and fire pits, allow guests to stay the night.

    Location: Wayne & Cabell Counties

    Photo:  e-WV
    Photo: e-WV
  4. The lake was created in 1925 when West Penn Power Co. constructed a dam over the Cheat River to supply the 52-megawatt Lake Lynn Power Station, a hydroelectric generating plant. Initially known as Lake Lynn Cheat Lake was chosen as the reservoir's name by the Board on Geographic Names in 1976.

    Cheat Lake is a reservoir on the Cheat River in Monongalia County, West Virginia, that is 13 miles (21 km) long. At the reservoir's river end, there are three marinas. They are Sunset Beach Marina, Edgewater Marina, and Cheat Lake Marina. The Lake has a surface area of around 1,730 acres (700 hectares) and a volume of roughly 128.016 cubic kilometers.

    Fishing is one of the most popular pastimes here; the lake is especially well-known for its population of largemouth bass, but it also supports walleye, sunfish, catfish, and other species. There are multiple marinas available for anyone who wishes to utilize a larger boat, and visitors are welcome to fish from the dock at Cheat Lake Park or launch small boats there. There isn't any camping here, but there are restrooms, a playground, and a number of picnic areas.

    It's great to explore the area around Cheat Lake and look for swimming holes and waterfalls. Additionally, you can go whitewater rafting on the Cheat River or rock climbing in the Cooper's Rock State Forest.

    Location: Monongalia County

    Photo:  Pixels
    Photo: Pixels
    Photo:  Fine Art America
    Photo: Fine Art America
  5. In Wayne County, West Virginia, there is a reservoir called East Lynn Lake that is 1,005 acres (4 km2) in size. Following the catastrophic Flood of 1937, the U.S. Congress first gave the lake its approval in 1938. Construction took place between 1969 and 1970, and East Lynn Lake was given official status as the project's name in 1971.

    With a shoreline of 44 miles (71 km) at the summer pool, the lake has a maximum length of 12 miles (19 km), a maximum width of less than 0.25 miles (400 m), and an elevation of 662 feet (202 m) at the summer pool and 656 feet (200 m) at the winter pool.

    There are 29 local fish species in East Lynn Lake, along with some invasive species, making it a well-liked fishing location. Also popular among vacationers is water skiing.

    The lake is known to be home to about 30 species of fish, and the hills that surround the lake are home to animals like deer, rabbits, and bears. It's a great destination for both hunters and fishermen. East Fork Campground has 167 sites available and provides amenities like a playground, a boat launch, and sports courts for guests who want to spend more than one day at the lake.

    Location: Wayne County

    Photo:  Fine Art America
    Photo: Fine Art America
  6. Located on the North Branch of the Potomac River in Garrett County, Maryland, and Mineral County, West Virginia, Jennings Randolph Lake is a 952 acre (3.85 km2) reservoir. By the Flood Control Act of October 23, 1962, the Lake was made legal (Public Law 87-874).

    The lake is incredibly serene and beautiful because it is surrounded by hills and parkland. This indicates that it's a wonderful location for both leisurely activities and simply unwinding and taking in the scenery.

    There are practically infinite chances for recreation; highlights include horseback riding, hiking, cross-country skiing, biking, hunting, and picnics at Howell Run Picnic Area, which offers breathtaking lake vistas. Shaw Beach, a lovely 200-foot beach with amenities like picnic tables, restrooms, change rooms, and a playground, is perfect for visitors who just want to unwind. Additionally, there are two paved boat launching available, one each in West Virginia and Maryland. Camping is an option for visitors who want to stay longer, or they can spend more money and stay at the exclusive lakeside resort.

    Location: Mineral County

    Photo:  Kitzmiller, MD 21538
    Photo: Kitzmiller, MD 21538
    Photo:  Kitzmiller, MD 21538
    Photo: Kitzmiller, MD 21538
  7. Within the Lake Sherwood Recreation Area of the Monongahela National Forest in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, is Lake Sherwood, a 164-acre (0.66 km2) reservoir. With a surface area of 156 acres and a height of 2,600 feet, it is the largest lake in the Monongahela National Forest.

    A footbridge spans a tiny island in the lake that is connected to the shore, making it a wonderful place to take a stroll or have a picnic. During the summer, you can rent boats, canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. Along the northeast shore of the lake, there are a few basic campsites with fire pits and picnic tables; reservations are advised, and guests should be warned that there are no hookups available. Visitors who would rather engage in land-based activities can play volleyball or go trekking along one of the four routes that surround the lake. Kids can play on the playground as well.

    Camping, hiking, and picnicking areas, as well as a non-fossil fuel boating facility for kayaking and paddleboarding and a beach for swimmers, are available in the recreation area that surrounds Lake Sherwood.

    Location: Greenbrier County

    Photo:  Nicki & Karen
    Photo: Nicki & Karen
    Photo:  Redfin
    Photo: Redfin
  8. The North Bend State Park encircles North Bend Lake, which is situated alongside the North Fork of the Hughes River. The 13-kilometer-long, 123-hectare lake is located in West Virginia's northern region. This is undeniably one of the best lakes to visit in West Virginia.

    The 116-kilometer North Bend Rail Trail is located in the state park. Additionally, there are trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. ATV riding, geocaching, and cross-country skiing are some of the other land activities accessible here.

    The lake is popular with canoers, kayakers, and pontoon boaters but is also open to boats up to 10 horsepower. There is a paved boat launch available, although pier fishing is also permitted. The 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail, which passes by several historic sites and winds through 10 tunnels, offers fantastic views of the lake and is almost more beautiful from a distance than it is up close.

    Visitors to North Bend Lake can go swimming, boating, and fishing to enjoy the lake itself. Additionally, there is a pool on the property, along with cabins, rooms, and camping sites.

    Location: Ritchie County

    Video: Visit Greater Parkersburg
  9. Spruce Knob Lake, which is 1,170 meters above sea level, is located in the Allegheny Mountains. It is West Virginia's tallest lake and a great place to spend a few days.

    Spruce Knob Lake is only 23 acres, but it provides a wide range of recreational opportunities. The lake got its name because it was close to Spruce Knob, the highest lookout point in West Virginia. Only a short hike will take you to the top of the lookout point from the lake, though you can also drive most of the way.

    Camping around the lake is a relaxing experience, especially with the nearby hardwood forest. On land, hiking and riding are available, while boating is available on the lake. The Whispering Spruce Trail, which circles the lake, is a worthwhile hike. Additionally, it is the greatest location for taking in breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and its surrounds. Fishing is a popular activity here, and while electric-powered boats are allowed, many visitors opt to canoe or kayak instead. As well as a fishing dock, a boat launch is accessible. The lake is not safe for swimming in.

    Location: Randolph County

    Photo:  Twitter
    Photo: Twitter
    Photo:  Only In Your State
    Photo: Only In Your State
  10. The 550-acre Stonecoal Reservoir is tucked between the West Virginia towns of Weston and Buckhannon in the Allegheny Mountain foothills. A 3,000-acre Wildlife Management Area surrounds the lake, which provides fantastic boating, fishing, and hunting opportunities.

    Stonecoal Reservoir, which is in both Lewis and Upshur counties, is currently home to multiple state records for trophy-sized fish. Additionally, Stonecoal Reservoir is home to state records for carp, golden rainbow trout, and rainbow trout, each weighing 8.63 pounds (41.5 lbs). At the lake's two extremities, there are two concrete boat ramps. Only motorboats of 10 horsepower are allowed.

    Anglers have a high chance of catching walleye, crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and other species once they are on the lake. The lake is frequently filled. On the western coast, near the Stonecoal Creek Dam, is a renowned fishing spot.

    Inquiries for camping at Stonecoal Reservoir can be made at a small private campground close to the lake's source or by driving a short distance to the 3,800-acre state park Stonewall Jackson Lake and State Park. 2,650 acres of the lake are available for swimming, boating, and fishing. More than 18,000 acres of excellent hunting land are included in the Stonewall Jackson Wildlife Management Area. Camping, hiking, biking, boat launches, and rentals are all available in the park. There is also a contemporary resort with a restaurant, golf course, and lake cruises.

    Location: Lewis and Upshur counties

    Photo:  Fine Art America
    Photo: Fine Art America
    Photo:  Pinterest
    Photo: Pinterest
  11. In Lewis County, West Virginia, Stonewall Jackson Lake is a 2,630-acre (10.6 km2) impoundment on the West Fork River. The Flood Control Act of 1966 gave the Lake authorization and approval, and it was finished in 1900. The Lake bears Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's name; he was a Lewis County native.

    The main reason to go to Stonewall Jackson Lake is for fishing. Along with other species, it is stocked with largemouth bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill, yellow perch, and carp. The Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park is located alongside the 1,060-hectare lake's shores. The award-winning park offers 40 campsites, a marina, and hiking and bike trails.

    The lake is great for swimming, fishing, and boating. While there is no restriction on boat horsepower, a stretch of the lake has been designated as "no-wake" so that canoers and kayakers can enjoy it without concern. Anyone looking for a more laid-back getaway will be happy to find that the lake also has an opulent resort with magnificent suites, a full-service spa, and a public sundeck with stunning lake views.

    Location: Lewis County

    Stonewall Jackson Lake
    Photo:  Only In Your State
    Photo: Only In Your State
  12. This 17 hectare lake lies within the Gauley Ranger District of the Monongahela National Forest. Despite being small, the lake is charming because of the surrounding forest. You may trek or cross-country ski on several fantastic trails that surround the lake. 33 undeveloped campsites are available as well.

    Summit Lake, a tranquil paradise encircled by woods, may be found alongside Route 39. The lake is not permitted for swimming, but it is a great place for fishing and has a healthy population of bass and panfish. Visitors are welcome to use the lake's boat ramp, but there is also a fishing pier for those who would rather fish from the shore. Boat usage is limited to row boats and low-horsepower boats. The lake is completely surrounded by a hiking trail, and there are numerous more nearby.

    A modest campground with 33 rustic campsites and parking spurs is also there. The Northeast and southern sides of Summit Lake both have a number of campsites that allow for additional exploration along the Bearhead Mountain and Carbon River Trails that are close by. Note that the Summit Lake basin does not permit campfires. And when using the restroom, please use the wilderness facilities.

    Location: Greenbrier County

    Photo:  Washington Trails Association
    Photo: Washington Trails Association
    Photo:  Expedia
    Photo: Expedia
  13. At a height of 392 meters, Warden Lake is tucked between Baker Mountain and Big Ridge. The Warden Lake Wildlife Management Area includes the reservoir. It's one of the best lakes to visit in West Virginia.

    Warden Lake is a few kilometers off State Route 17 to the west and south of the City of Moses Lake. Warden Lake has consistently ranked among Region 2's top opening day (late April) lakes for the past three years. On opening day, anglers typically catch close to their daily limits of trout, and the spring fishing is excellent. Trout come in sizes between 12 and 20 inches.

    Anglers occasionally succeed in landing the lake's tiger trout. The best way to fish this lake is from a boat, but there are many highly productive shoreline fishing spots as well.

    Fishing for bluegill, largemouth bass, catfish, channel fish, and northern pike is the main attraction at the lake. This can be enjoyed both during the day and at night. The lake's graveled boat ramp is the only access point permitted for electric motors. Although there are bathrooms here, camping is not permitted.

    Location: Hardy County

    Photo:  Redfin
    Photo: Redfin
    Photo: thecrazytourist
    Photo: thecrazytourist

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