Cave Mountain Lake Recreation Area

The Cave Mountain Lake Recreation Area is a utopia of outdoor opportunities for everyone. For $8 per car, per day, there are places to hike, bike, swim, sunbathe, fish, and barbeque on this seven-acre, man-made, sandy-shored trout-stocked lake. Campsites are available for an additional fee.

Paired with the spacious bathrooms complete with hot water, these quick and easy hikes should be enough to get that nature-adverse friend of yours out in the trees.



There are various short hikes surrounding the area, but the easiest trail to access from the grounds is the Panther Knob Nature Trail, located directly to the right of the lake next to the large wooden picnic shelter. The Trail follows alongside a portion of the lake then circles through the woods at a slight elevation climb, eventually looping back to the trailhead. It is well maintained and great for all ages and skill sets with various benches and rest stops along the way.

If you are visiting with more experienced hikers, near the campgrounds are more difficult hikes. Wildcat Mountain is a three-mile loop trail that is not family friendly, but may be the challenge you are looking for. Stay on the marked path, as there are many off-shoots that look like alternative routes that may lead to private property. Many hikers have gotten lost in these areas, having to call for help from emergency personnel.


Cave Mountain Lake offers 28 reservable and 13 non-reservable campsites at this time. Amenities at each campsite include a picnic table, lantern post and campfire ring with grill. Flush toilets and water spigots are located throughout the campground. There is a bathhouse with warm water showers located across the road from Campsite #20. Each campsite can accommodate up to 8 people per site. Campsite #41-42 is considered a double campsite with space to accommodate up to 12 people.

Individual sites at this campground operate on a 6-month rolling basis: April–October. Check rates, availability, and RESERVE your campsite.

    Driving Directions

    From the Lexington Visitor Center, drive east on Washington Street to a left at the stoplight onto East Nelson Street (US-60). Continue .2 mile to a right onto Lee Highway (US-11 S Bypass). Drive .9 mile to a left at the stoplight, continuing south on Lee Highway. Stay on Lee Highway for 10.8 miles to take a left turn onto Buck Hill Road (Rt. 689). After nearly a mile, turn right onto Forge Road (Rt. 608) followed by an immediate left onto Wert Faulkner Highway (VA-130 E). In two miles, turn right onto Arnolds Valley Road (VA- 759 S). In 3.2 miles, turn right onto Cave Mountain Lake Road. Continue 1.6 miles to the entrance of Cave Mountain Lake.


    • This area has so many features, making it perfect for children of all ages.
    • Signs around the area designate fishing and swimming restrictions for certain sections of the lake. Please be mindful of these signs.
    • No boats are allowed on the lake. Effective September 2022, non-motorized kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are permitted. Be prepared to portage your equipment 700 feet/230 yards between the parking lot and the lake.

    Insider's Tips

    • Campsites are available for $15 for a single site per night, $30 for a double (up to 20 people). The picnic shelter with fireplace is available for $25 for up to 50 people. Make a party out of it; bring something to throw on the grill. This site can be booked in advance here.