Getting to know Smith Mountain Lake

Check out the history of Smith Mountain Lake!

Initial proposals were made in the late 1920s to dam the Roanoke River and the Blackwater River at the Smith Mountain gorge to generate electricity. Construction on the Smith Mountain Dam began in 1960 and was completed in 1963. On March 7, 1966, the lake reached 795 feet above sea level (full pond) for the first time. The giant project, which began in 1960, is complete. The water depth at the dam is recorded as 200 feet on that day. The lake covers 20,600 acres (83 km2) and has over 500 miles (800 km) of shoreline. The total project cost, including Smith Mountain and Leesville Lake Dams, hits $66 million. By 1967, Smith Mountain Lake, the largest inland water recreation area wholly located in Virginia, had already become a nationally-known hot spot for fishermen and a paradise for campers, boaters, and water-skiing enthusiasts. In 2016 Smith Mountain Lake celebrated its 50 anniversary.