Sherando Lake Recreation Area's Family Campground provides an ideal camping destination. It is situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is known locally as the jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where visitors enjoy hiking, picnicking in the shade, fishing in the lakes, or swimming and relaxing on the sandy beach.
The 25 acre Lower Lake offers opportunities for swimming in a designated area with a sand beach, accessible ramp to the water's edge, and a beach bathhouse with changing and shower facilities. Fishing and boating are also available outside the designated swimming area of the lake. Fishing is in stocked trout waters during the spring and fall seasons. Visitors will need to have the appropriate Virginia fishing license, National Forest stamp, and trout stamp. Boats with gasoline motors are not permitted on the lower lake - electric troll motors, canoes, kayaks, or similar boats only. A hand-carry ramp is available for access to the lake adjacent to the parking area. Fishing only is available at the 7 acre Upper Lake. This lake is also stocked during the spring and fall seasons and the appropriate licenses are required. Boats are allowed, but there is no launch access - hand carry only. Parking is available at a small area below the group camp area and a walking trail will lead you to the lake. Swimming is not allowed in the upper lake. Hiking trails surround the area offering everything from a short walk around the lake on the Lakeside and Cliff Trails to a day hike up the mountain on the White Rock Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway. For the more adventurous hiker, more challenging day hikes and backpacking trips are available by heading up the Blue Loop Trail to the Torry Ridge Trail to Bald Mountain and beyond.
The campground is divided into three loops: Meadow Loop (Loop C) has campsites with electric hookups which are suitable for larger camping units and RV's; White Oak Loop (Loop A) has non-electric campsites, suitable for tents and camping units less than 28 feet in length; River Bend Loop (Loop B) and the upper part of White Oak have first-come, first-serve sites not available for reservation. Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, serving table, lantern post, and campfire ring with grill. The designated tent pads are covered with a fine brown sandy gravel. Showers, flush toilets and drinking water hydrants are located in each loop. The water hydrants are not threaded for hose hook-ups. Most campsites are equipped with a food storage locker for securing your food due to bear activity. It is mandatory that all food be either stored in a food storage locker or secured in a locked vehicle. Violators are subject to a fine. You are camping in the mountains with unlevel ground. Please be prepared. A trailer dump station is located along the main road between the entrance station and the road to the lower lake parking. A potable water station with threaded hose is located on the left at the bathroom facility near the Williams Branch picnic area.
The campground sits between Lower Sherando Lake and Upper Sherando Lake at an elevation of about 1,800 feet in the shadows of Torry Ridge. The Upper Lake is 7 acres and is fed by the waters of the North Fork of Back Creek. The Lower Lake is 25 acres and is fed by springs, the North Fork of Back Creek, and Williams Branch, so the water stays refreshingly cool all summer long.
There are opportunities for gas, groceries, and firewood at convenience stores and local vendors along the state road to Sherando Lake. Ice can be purchased at the Sherando Lake Visitor Center during operating hours, which vary seasonally. Additional supplies can be obtained in Stuarts Draft, about a 15 minute drive away. The Blue Ridge Parkway with its scenic overlooks and ridgetop views is a short 3 mile drive up State Route 664 from the Sherando Lake entrance. The Wintergreen Resort offers a golf course and ski area within 10 miles of Sherando Lake. Cabin rentals are available near Sherando Lake from local private vendors.
ADA Access: N
It is rare that a campground is close to all the amenities it has to offer without moving your vehicle but Sherando Lakes is one of them. You can access two lakes and multiple hiking trails from any of the three loops. One lake (Upper Sherando) is for fishing only and the main lake is for swimming (in season) and fishing. We were there in October and the fall foliage was stunning.
This campground gets five stars because of the awesome volunteer hosts. Ron started a fire for us while we were waiting for our firewood to be delivered (yes, you read that right!) and the next night, came over to our site bringing additional wood to keep our fire going long after we expected it to last. Gene and Deb were awesome in describing the trails to us.
I was surprised to find showers and flush toilets in a National Forest Service Campground but Sherando had both. Also, if you stay in the B or C loops, there are electric hookups, something else I was surprised to see in a NFS campground. We stayed in the A loop (no hookups) and this loop is more suitable for tents, but we were fine in our 17-foot campervan. The tent pads are large and flat. These spaces might be tight for larger RVs. If you have young kiddos, the C loop is closest to the playground. Sites are generously sized and have good separation. Firepit, large picnic table, lantern hook and what I’m guessing was a food prep “counter” This was awesome to be able to put our camp stove on and something I have never seen before.
LOVED this campground, the hikes, and awesome volunteer hosts.
We had another great trip to Sherando Lake! This is our 4th year camping here and we always look forward to the trip. This year the weather was cooler than it usually is, so we got to enjoy some of the other aspects of the park since it was too cold to swim. We love the hiking here! The trails around the Upper Lake and Lower Lake are favorites. Lookout Rock and Torry Ridge Trails are fun too! The kids enjoyed playing on the playground, skipping rocks, and fishing as well.
The campsites are clean and well kept up. The site we usually get (A-13) is well situated near the bathrooms and showers. Campsite A-12 makes a great buddy site! Such a family-friendly campground.
Coming in the middle of the week is the best time if you like to have peace and quiet and the place all to yourself. Can't wait till next year!
This is the first place I’ve ever camped. Our grandparents used to take us to this campground when we were kids. I remember swimming to the island in the middle of the lake (still there), and going to church in the amphitheater Sunday mornings. Very clean campground, nice facilities, well-maintained beach, and onsite store near the beach makes this a super convenient campground. I have very fond memories of grilling out around the various grills near the lake 💙 there are also various trails, a favorite being the one that wraps all the way around the lake. Great for families! Nearby hiking offers gorgeous views!
Camped here for the second year and it was just as breathtaking. We had site A12 right in front of the bathrooms (great for kids) there is a path through the woods to site A13, so it was great to have the rest of our family at that site. This campground is SO kid friendly. Great Lake, fishing, swimming, and trails.
When I go to set up, the sites are always pristine and beautiful.
Sherando is the campground I suggest first when anyone asks where my favorite place to camp is!
We've stayed here several times, most recently in June 2019. Large, level sites with electric hookups. Potable water is available at various spigots around the campground loops as well as on your way in (to fill up your fresh water tank). Cell service is very limited, though this time I had intermittent service (for texting) with AT&T 4G.
Only C loop allows you to make site-specific reservations, and these fill up quickly. B loop is first come-first served, but that is often full, too. We're close enough (25 miles) that we'll sometimes drive over to claim a site in B loop then drive home to get our trailer. Wish there was a better system re: reservations!
But the lake is nice, bathhouses are clean, and we always enjoy being at Sherando--when we can get a site!
More pics and information about Sherando Lake Campground is on my blog:
Sherando Lake Campground is a place that we make a point to go every summer, even though it is almost a 5-hour dive from where we live. We always get campsite A13, which is right across from the bathrooms. Very convenient with kids. The site is pretty secluded with trees, so you can't see your neighbors. The campground itself is very well maintained and clean. Decent, hot showers. The campsites are equipped with bear boxes, a picnic table, a tall prep table, and a fire ring. It’s a sandy dirt surface to put your tent on. The lake is beautiful! It’s a decent walk from the campground but we usually walk down in the morning and spend all day there. There is great hiking! Beautiful views everywhere. Friendly people. They have activities during the summer like outdoor movies and live music. And a town not too far away with a Target for emergencies. Lots of awesome restaurants, breweries, and outdoorsy things to do nearby. We just love this place and will keep coming back!
What a fabulous park. Camping on the creek , walk to lakes. Beautiful and serene
We had a great time camping for 5 days. Facilities where well maintained and clean.
Sherando Lake is a well-maintained, popular campground located in the George Washington National Forest near Lyndhurst, VA. Convenient to both Richmond and Charlottesville, it brings people in for camping and day-use alike.
There are three camping loops here; a standard non-electric loop (loop A/White Oak Loop), and two RV loops (B and C). Both of the RV loops are very flat and open, with little shade or privacy between sites. They have electric hookups and drinking water available, but do not have water hookups. The tent loop is the oldest loop in this campground, and is heavily wooded, with sites along both meadow and backing up to the mountain. These sites do not have any hookups, but most have driveways large enough for campers and RVs 28' in length or under. All tent sites have fire rings, utility poles, and large picnic tables, and tent pads that are raked clear by campground hosts between guests.
The biggest benefits of this campground are its location, and the recreation area. It's about an hour and a half west of Richmond and only thirty minutes from Charlottesville, making it a great weekend trip without having to take time away from work. And as for recreation, it's wonderful. There are two lakes--the lower lake is the largest at 25 acres, and and while the beach can get crowded during peak season, it's an easy walk from the campground, with a large swimming area roped off. Canoeing is available at the lake, and there are several hiking trails, ranging from the easy lakeside trail, to more difficult trails that connect to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and other trails in George Washington National Forest. Fishing is available at both lakes with the proper licensing. There are several large picnic areas right on the lower lake, and a few smaller creekside spaces with picnic table and grills.
All that said; for RV campers this is an excellent campsite. While the loops with hookups are lacking in shade and privacy, having an RV or camper will afford you what the site itself lacks, and the location and activities make this a great basecamp.
For tent camping, it's good if you live in one of the nearby cities and want the shorter drive time, or if you like tent camping but still want all the benefits of front-country camping. As a place to set up camp and enjoy spending time near your tent, Sherando is exceptionally maintained. There is not a lot of opportunities for foraging for firewood, which means purchasing heat-treated wood nearby, and while the sites are very shady, there is little underbrush between sites to offer a privacy barrier. Many of the sites are staggered, with one or more levels of steps leading from the driveways. Because of all there is to do this is a great site for older kids, but we learned that, especially with toddlers, the steps around the campsites can turn a relaxing trip into one of constant vigilance.
Enjoyment of this campground will largely depend on what type of camper you are. If you are mainly looking for a place to get outside of the city, where you can set up for the night and have easy access to hiking, fishing, swimming, or boating, this is a great campground. This is where we typically chose to take friends if they were new to camping, as the bathrooms are well-lit, the road is paved, and the sites are so well-maintained. Plus at $20 a night, while it's more expensive than its neighbors in Shenandoah National Park or Cave Mountain Lake, it's a shorter drive from the neighboring cities, and doesn't have the additional NPS fee. However, if you want something that feels more rugged, or with campsites that offer a greater feeling of privacy, it would be better to skip this one.
This is a pretty neat little camping area in George Washington National Forest. Some friends and I stayed here for a couple of nights when we wanted to get away from school for the weekend. The campground is really cute. You can swim in the nearby lake, there is a little beach, bathrooms are nice with showers, and there's fresh water. It was the perfect place to take my less outdoorsy friends who had never camped before.
Also, nearby is one of my favorite hikes in the area, Humpback Rocks. This hike is super short, only about a mile, but there is a lot of elevation gain, so it can still be pretty strenuous. The view from the top is awesome though. It's also the perfect place to see a sunrise. I highly recommend this hike, and the area in general.
If you get bored with camping, you can always visit Charlottesville, which isn't too far of a drive away. The city has tons of history (go TJ!), great sports at UVA, and amazing food. I never miss a chance to talk it up.
Really amazing area!