Martinsville, Virginia


The Great Philpott Lake Escape

Ready to get out of the house and enjoy a fall getaway? Consider, beautiful Philpott Lake, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With more than 3,000 acres of water for boating and fishing, miles of trails and pristine scenic opportunities along 100 miles of shoreline, Philpott Lake is the perfect escape for a day-trip, weekend excursion or week-long vacation. 

Philpott Lake is a man-made reservoir operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. It is located in Southern Virginia in the counties of Henry, Patrick, and Franklin. The urgency of building the dam and lake in the 1950s was primarily flood control, the original purposes included hydropower, recreation, environmental stewardship and water supply. Today recreational opportunities abound throughout the area because of this resource. Opportunities for hiking, biking, paddling, swimming, boating, geocaching, hunting, fishing and more are all found at Philpott Lake.

Camping is a popular family activity at the lake. Reservations for the lake's most popular parks are made several months in advance so call toll-free 877-444-6777 or visit to claim your site today. If camping is not your preference, there are plenty of hotels, cabins and B&Bs nearby.

To begin your adventure, step into the Philpott Lake Visitor Center to pick up free lake maps and browse a cultural history exhibit about Philpott and how the dam was constructed. Outside at the overlook you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Philpott Lake to your left and an equally amazing structure created by man as you view Philpott Dam to your right.


Get on the lake via canoe, kayak or motorboat from one of the nine boat launches to explore Philpott's many waterfalls. One of the better known falls is Emberson Falls, located between mile markers 10 and 11. While on the water paddle or ride over to explore Rabbit Island, picnic on Turkey Island or you may choose to stay overnight on Deer Island at the lake's only boat-in campsite.  

Children of all ages will enjoy spending time at playgrounds located in each of the Lake's parks, especially the new playground at Bowen's Creek which is fully handicapped accessible. Six public beaches are also open for enjoyment during the summer months. 

When you need a break off of the lake head to nearby Martinsville for diningshopping and fun. Explore exciting attractions like Martinsville Speedway, the Smithsonian-Affiliated, Virginia Museum of Natural History and take in the area's growing arts and entertainment scene. 

Whether you are visiting Philpott Lake for a fun family vacation or a relaxing escape to reconnect with the ones you love...

Camping at Philpott Lake
Camping at Philpott Lake 
Ranger Programs
Weekly Interpretive Programs  
Fishing on Philpott Lake
Fishing on Philpott Lake