Claytor Lake State Park

Quick Facts

Claytor Lake State Park

Virginia

(540) 643-2500

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Located on the 4,500 acre, 21-mile long Claytor Lake (from which the park was named) in the New River Valley of southwestern Virginia, Claytor Lake State Park offers a wide variety of activities for water and land enthusiasts. Easily accessible from Interstate 81, the park features the only full service marina in the state park system. In addition, there are miles of hiking trails, swimming, camping facilities, cabins and a visitor center. The visitor center is located in the historic Howe House.

Claytor Lake was formed when Appalachian Power Company built a dam on the New River, just south of Radford, in 1939. This is the largest of the power company's 12 hydroelectric plants, with a total generating capacity of 83,000 kilowatts. In early 1944, the people of the surrounding area expressed an interest in the establishment of a state park on the new lake. The idea continued to grow and in 1946 private citizens and businesses from Pulaski, Radford and Blacksburg raised the money needed to purchase 437 acres from Appalachian Power. This land was given to the state to be developed as Claytor Lake State Park. Due to a lack of operating funds, the Radford Chamber of Commerce operated the park during the summers of 1949 and 1950. The Division of State Parks took over the operation of the park in 1951. In 1962, 35 additional acres were purchased, bringing the total acreage to 472.

Map of Claytor Lake (VA)

Latitude, Longitude: 37.057364, -80.627436

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Activities

  • Boating

    Motorboats permitted.

  • Camping

    Cabins and camping. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK.

    Cabin check-in is 3 p.m., check-out is 10 a.m.

    Camping

    Vehicles: At campsites, two vehicles per site in addition to camping unit. All others are charged the standard parking fee. Camping guests may use the boat launch for up to two boats at no additional charge. Campsites have recently been renovated for guest comfort and park resource protection. All equipment and vehicles must be kept within the site bordered by 6 x 6 inch timbers. Additional vehicles must be parked in the lot adjacent to the campground contact station or in the Campground D parking lot. Visitors to overnight guests must leave the park by 10 p.m. and are charged the normal parking fee. Each campsite has a fire ring type with a metal grill. All rest on the ground and can be used for campfires. Firewood is available for a small fee. Please do not bring your own as it may have insects that could harm the park's trees. Electric-water sites accept 20 and 30 amp current. Campground D: Accommodates large RV units (up to 35 feet) as indicated on site chart. Water and electric hookups (REWA) except in March and November when there is electricity but no water. Also, in April and late October, availability of water depends on the weather. There are no sewer hook-ups, but there is a dump station. The area is sparsely wooded and mostly flat. Most large RV sites are pull-through. Restroom is handicapped accessible. Campgrounds A, B and C: Will accommodate a mix of equipment; however, mostly tents and small trailers up to 20 feet long. No hookups for electric and water. Campgrounds are mostly wooded. Terrain varies from level to hilly. Total sites of each type: STD, 70; E/W, 40

    Site type:

    STD - Various equipment up to 20 feet; campgrounds A, B, & C. No hookups. E/W - Various equipment up to 35 feet. Cold weather may affect the availability of water - see above. Total campsites: 110

    Camping Lodge: The park has one camping lodge (bunkhouse) for rent. It's in Campground A. The camping lodge has a covered front porch and a small deck behind it. Two-night minimum stay; no weekly requirement.

    The transfer deadline and cancellation and pet fees are the same as those for cabins.

    Maximum occupancy: 14 Available only during camping season for campground A (the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day). It is not sold 11 months in advance; it goes online in January each year. Check-in is 3 p.m., check-out is 10 a.m. The camping lodge is a two-room, climate-controlled trailer. There are seven sets of bunk beds as well as a refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot. Linens are not provided. Guests must bring their own linens and pillows. Guests are responsible for any damage. No bathroom, kitchen or fireplace. No cooking or smoking permitted in the camping lodge. Firewood is available for a small fee. Please do not bring your own as it may have insects that could harm the park's trees. Five vehicles are permitted with the rental of the camping lodge. All others are charged the standard parking fee. Parking is available at the camping lodge for four vehicles only; the fifth vehicle must park in the campground overflow parking lot. Electrical outlets are available but limited to 50-amp service. There are two picnic tables and a charcoal grill outside.

  • Fishing

    Bass, catfish, muskie, walleye and striped bass are among the popular sport fish found in the lake. A valid Virginia fishing license is required. Licenses may be purchased at the Water's Edge gift shop when it's open or at the park office during off-season.

    The park and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recently installed various fish attractors to improve fishing for both shoreline and boating anglers.

  • Hiking

    About four miles of hiking trails with easy to moderate ratings are open year-round. Plant life is predominantly representative of a mature oak-hickory-poplar forest. Extensive reforestation is ongoing. White-tailed deer, raccoons, squirrels and other species are common.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic areas include grills, drinking water and restroom facilities. Several restrooms and shelters are handicap accessible. Seven picnic shelters are available for rent through the reservation center by calling 1-800-933-7275. Shelter capacity varies from 30 to 100 people.

    Seven shelters are available for rent. Large and small shelters are available. Shelters can be rented from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. (all day). Parking and swimming fees are not included in the shelter rental fee. The park also offers for rent a special gazebo, which is quite popular for weddings.

  • Water Sports

    Note: From mid-August through Labor Day, swimming may be unavailable on some weekdays. Please call the park for details. Swimming is available in Claytor Lake from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. The area has a diving tower, snack bar and gift shop. Times and days of operation vary prior to mid-June and after mid-August because of student labor availability. (Swimming cannot be permitted when lifeguards aren't on duty.) Swimming is free to overnight guests, but it cannot be guaranteed should circumstances beyond the park's control - e.g., inclement weather or lack of lifeguard - require that swimming be halted. The park gives no refunds for swimming to overnight guests under any circumstances. Free wi-fi is available in the immediate vicinity of the beach bathhouse.

Seasonality/Weather

Spring and fall are generally comfortable with precipitation possible. Summers can be hot and humid with average temperatures in the high 80s and with sudden thunderstorms possible. July and August are the hottest months. Winters can be cold with average temperatures in the winter of 41 degrees with variable precipitation.

Park Partners

Gas dock, gift shop and snack bar

Days of operation:

Daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day Saturdays and Sundays, April 1 through Memorial Day weekend and from Labor Day through October When the gas dock is not staffed, self-serve gasoline sales are available when purchased with a MasterCard or Visa. Services: Boat slip rental, launch ramp (no charge to overnight guests), gasoline sales, fishing supplies and licenses, camp store, boat rentals available through Claytor Lake Water Sports, [(540) 731-8685 or (540) 674-5678], and a gift shop. Long-term boat slips are available by calling the park at (540) 643-2500. Overnight dock rentals are available and can be obtained only by calling the Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARK, Monday through Friday. Boats can be no longer than 24 feet; half-slips may be rented for boats seven or fewer feet wide but those with boats from from seven to fourteen feet wide must rent whole boat slips. There's a per slip cancellation fee. Check-in is 3 p.m., check out is 2 p.m. There's a 14-night maximum stay limit; the boat must be removed once that limit is reached.

Directions

Driving

From I-81, take Exit 101 (Claytor Lake) to State Park Road (State Route 660). State Park Road ends at the park's entrance.

Drive Time : Northern Virginia, 5 hours; Richmond, 4 hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 5 hours; Roanoke, 1 hour

Phone Numbers

Primary

(540) 643-2500

Links

Comments

Claytor Lake is one of our favorite places to camp and boat, however....they have a 10:00 pm "quiet time" policy, which really limits the experience for those of us who boat all day or have older children or adult friends along.  Claytor lake needs to consider devoting ONE section of the campground to a midnight quiet zone. The sections are separated enough that this is possible.  I've heard many campers complain about this policy. It is an alcohol free park, so it isn't late night party animals who wish for a midnight lights out, but adults with older children, who can't enjoy a friendly card game after ten or chatting around the campfire.

The rangers hide behind the trees in the campground and can't wait to "spring out" and scold you for talking, even if it's respectfully quiet talking.  It's overkill and it ruins the camping experience for so many. Every time we camp there we run into so many people who are frustrated with the same thing. Reserve two sites for those with young children or those who wish to bed early and rise early, and at least provide one small section for those of us who are night early birds. It seems a bit discriminatory to cater to a few on such a simple thing. When you come off the lake at 8 pm, cook dinner, there isn't even time to wash the dishes, clean up camp and sit around the fire for family time.

The rangers will gleefully jump out from behind their hideaways, where they have usually been for 20 minutes or so, (like none of us know this) and threaten to kick you out if you don't stop talking. We have always tried to be respectful of others and keep the talk to a whisper, but it's never quiet enough for the rangers.

Claytor Lake admins.... please consider one small section for those of us who love the leisure of our summer vacations, like to sleep in just a little and go to bed a bit later. We are families, couples, good people who are there to enjoy nature and fellowship. No one warns those early risers to be quiet that they may be waking those of us who sleep late, so please consider one midnight quiet section so that you can be fair and meet the needs of many campers, not just the very few who actually go to bed at 10 pm.