Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Rural Retreat 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.


Elevation: 2542 ft.
Rural Retreat Lake is a relatively large lake surrounded by hardwood forest and reedy marshland. It is accessible from several areas along its southern and eastern shore. Facilities include a boat ramp, camping and picnic areas. A trail follows the southern shore of the lake ending at the dam. In summer, the area is prolific with nesting wetland species including red-winged blackbird, and green heron in the swampier sections. The lake itself offers prime habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl in winter and migration. The occasional osprey and bald eagle are fairly common and can be seen virtually any time of year. The forested areas, composed of a mixture of oak, maple, and pine, attract an interesting array of songbirds. Fields near the lake host some of the few bobolink nesting in Wythe County. Look for these jewels in longer grass that hasn’t been harvested or on roadside telephone wires, especially near the intersection of Rt. 615 and Rt. 679.

Note: To access the site, a Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.


From Crawfish Valley, return to Rt. 680 and turn right, following it west 2.4 miles across I-81 where it becomes SR 90 East. Cross US 11 and go through the Town of Rural Retreat where SR 90 becomes Rt. 749. After 3.2 miles, turn right on Rt. 677/Rural Retreat Lake Rd. and proceed 1.4 miles to the site entrance on the left. Continue 0.8 miles to the end of the road at a picnic and camping area.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: (276) 783-4860
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset. Restore the Wild Membership, hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.

10 Most Recent Bird Observations Added to eBird

  • Canada Goose
  • Mallard
  • Mourning Dove
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Empidonax sp.
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Blue Jay

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Camping
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Boat Ramp