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Banister Lake

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWT: Be Safe While OutdoorsDGIF encourages you to be safe while outdoors. Before heading out, first check with individual sites on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail to find out whether they are still open to the public. Information regarding closures is typically posted on a site's own website. Be advised that some sites, even if still open, may have certain public facilities closed during this time. If a site is still open, maintain CDC social distancing guidelines while enjoying the outdoors.


Banister River bubbles out of the highlands of Halifax and Pittsylvania counties flowing southeast to meet the Dan River just above Buggs Island/Kerr Lake. Where the river enters the Town of Halifax, just after the US 501 Bridge, a small dam backs up the river into an idyllic lake at the edge of town. Here the glassy calm waters of the lake host pairs of belted kingfishers, joined by great blue herons haunting the quiet inlets. In the summer, wood ducks raise their broods along its shores, and in winter, Canada geese come en masse along with other dabblers such as teal, mallards and northern shovelers. Scan these waters carefully, because they also occasionally host a surprising find such as a grebe, loon, cormorant or pelican.

The banks of the lake are thick with jewelweed and other inviting blooms, which attract an abundance of butterflies. Watch for irruptions of American snout in late summer and marvel in the iridescence of the numerous red-spotted purples. Although the lake can be seen well from the boat landing next to US 501, there is much more to be found by a canoe or kayak adventure.


From the intersection of US 501 and SR 360 in Halifax, follow US 501 North 0.4 miles to just outside the Town of Halifax. A boat landing is maintained on the south end of the bridge.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Linda Wallace; lfw@co.halifax.va.us
  • Website
  • Season:
  • Access: Free

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Parking
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Boat Ramp