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Rural Retreat Lake


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 shores. 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 Wytheville, head south on US-11/Lee Hwy, turn left onto N. Main St. in Rural Retreat, continue straight onto SR-749/Cedar Springs Rd, turn right onto SR-677/Rural Retreat Lake Rd, turn left onto SR-778/Lake Rd, and follow it to the DWR boat ramp parking area.

Location & Directions

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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.

Birds Recently Seen at Rural Retreat Lake (as reported to eBird)

  • Canada Goose
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Osprey
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Red-eyed Vireo

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Camping
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Boat Ramp