Skip to Main Content

Claytor Lake State Park


Elevation: 1856 ft.

Claytor Lake State Park sits on the northern shore of Claytor Lake, just above the City of Radford and is a popular destination for boating, water sports, and fishing. The 4,500 acre lake was formed in 1939 through the damming of the New River, which in addition to providing electricity for the Appalachian Power Company  also provides flood control for the New River. The lake and dam were named for Graham Claytor, a native Virginian and former vice-president of American Electric Power Company.

The park provides access to not only Claytor Lake but also 472 acres of associated fields and woodland. Throughout the park, several nature trails connect to a variety of habitats which can be explored in search of flora and fauna. The park’s visitor center, located in the historic 1870s Howe house, includes several excellent displays of the area’s history and ecology, and there is a small discovery center located within the swimming center. Checklists for birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, wildflowers, and fish as well as activity guides are available at the Howe House or water’s edge facility.

The lakeshore is a great place to look for bald eagle, osprey, belted kingfisher, ducks, geese, and gulls. Many species of waterfowl overwinter at the lake, including several species of ducks and mergansers, grebes, and loons. The quiet inlets along the lake’s north shore offer prime habitats for eastern painted turtle, great blue and green herons and a variety of damsel- and dragonflies, including widow skimmer, blue dasher and black-shouldered spinylegs. Swallows gather in large numbers along the lakeshore in late summer with barn, tree and northern rough-winged swallows joining purple martins in coating almost every available perch while each takes a turn skimming the lake surface for food and drink.

There are several nature trails in the park that allow the visitor to access a variety of woodland habitats. These support birds such as downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, northern flicker, eastern wood-pewee, great-crested flycatcher, blue jay, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, blue-gray gnatcatcher, red-eyed vireo, northern cardinal, chipping sparrow and American goldfinch. The fields around the visitor center and swimming area support northern bobwhite, which can be heard giving their characteristic call throughout the day. While walking the nature trails through the forest, take the opportunity to look at the diversity of mushrooms and other fungi growing out of the ground at your feet. These woods are especially good for such distinctive species as fly agaric and American Caesar, with numerous less distinctive polypores lining the fallen and decaying tree trunks.


Physical Address: 6620 Ben H. Bolen Dr., Dublin, VA 24084.

Take Exit #101 from I-81 and turn south on Rt. 660/State Park Road. Travel 2.3 miles to the entry gate.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: (540) 643-2500
  • Website
  • Access: Admission Fee, Daily, 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Birds Recently Seen at Claytor Lake State Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Mourning Dove
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Visitor/Nature Center
  • Camping
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Fee
  • Food
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Lodging
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Primitive Camping
  • Canoe/Kayak Rentals
  • Boat Ramp
  • Historical Site
  • Beach