Smith Mtn Lake & Roanoke River, VA

Heading to the Smith Mountain Lake State Park for the big 4th O’ July camping trip this coming Monday, and plan to kayak the lake & sections of the Roanoke River nearby. Does anyone on the boards paddle this area? Looking for some good stretches of flatwater through Class II whitewater. Thanks for any help ar comments.


Smith Mtn. Lake
Hello- I can give you recommendations and info depending on what you’re looking to do. I paddle the lake in a composite sea kayak and have covered nearly all of it at one time or another. Be aware that it is the fourth of July and there will be quite alot of power boat traffic which can be a good thing if you like to surf boat wakes near the shore or play in reflected wakes off sea walls- you do not want to be in the middle of the lake in the channel, however. Most power boaters can’t see a kayak very well in the first place, and are not accustomed to looking for them anyway because there are not that many paddlers on the lake. Post me back with questions and I will help you with the lake stuff and put you in touch with folks that can advise you on the river. Cheers----------Kevin

On the Roanoke River
Thanks Kevin,

I am aware of the boat traffic on the lake, and will limit kayaking there to coves only. I am more interested in putting in above or below (looks like another lake/damn right after Smith Mountain Lake on Google Earth) the lake. Are there any good slowflow and/or Class I or II sections just above or below the lakes. I can’t find any info on the river as it leaves these two damns. I am sure it is dependant on damn water release, so I would like to find the release times, and the class of flow when they do release. Thanks for any info or contacts you can provide. We leave after work Monday and stay till Sunday, so hopefully will have a couple semiquiet days before the masses arrive.


All Lake above Leesville and SML Dams
but if you put in just below Leesville Dam and wait for water release (usually every hour on weekend), you can ride the wave downstream for a mile or two, then float down to the Goose Creek confluence at Leesville, take out there. Also can float from there downstream to Altavista, about 8 miles. A few ledges, Class 1 or less, good float trip.