The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Bluestone Lake

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Bluestone Lake
Bluestone Dam

An impoundment of the New River upstream of Hinton, WV, in southern Summers County, 1,970-acre Bluestone Lake is the second-largest lake in West Virginia. It is located upstream of the New River Gorge section of the New River and is considered the southern anchor of southern West Virginia's vast outdoor-recreation area. The lower end of the Bluestone River is also part of Bluestone Lake. Bluestone Lake is protected by Bluestone State Park and the 18,019-acre Bluestone Lake WMA.


More than 250 families were moved from the valleys of the New and Bluestone rivers when the lake was developed, according to historian William Sanders. Many farms and several rural communities were also abandoned during construction, including the villages of True, Lilly, and Warford.


Bluestone Lake features an unlimited-speed zone of approximately 800 acres located above Bluestone Dam and in which water skiing is permitted. Boat racing and other water sports events are sponsored intermittently, and gravelled parking areas off WV-20 along this section provide for viewing areas. A 15-mph speed zone is enforced on the larger part of Bluestone Lake -- on the Bluestone River upstream of the boat launch and marina no-wake zone and on the New River upstream of the unlimited-speed zone as far as Steer Island and the Bulls Falls Camping Area. Boats are prohibited upstream of Steer Island and in the area immediately above the dam. Launch ramps are located at Bluestone State Park, at the Bull Falls Campground, and at the Bluestone Lake launch off WV-20. The Bluestone Lake Marina is also located off WV-20.


Six public camping areas are located on Bluestone Lake -- Bertha (55 sites), Bull Falls (20 sites), Cedar Branch (45 sites), Shankin's Ferry (80 sites), Mouth of Indian Creek (100 sites), and at Bluestone State Park. Cedar Branch, Shankin's Ferry, Indian Creek are located upstream of the motorized boating area. Two camping areas are located off the lake along Indian Creek -- Keatley (15 sites) and Indian Creek (15 sites). A launch site is located at the Bull Falls camping area and provides boat access to the upper reaches of the lake boating area. All camping areas other than those at Bluestone State Park are managed as part of the Bluestone WMA. The Bluestone State Park Campground includes a full bathhouse, while all others include toilets only. Hunting is prohibited in camping areas and within Bluestone State Park.


The New River, including Bluestone Lake, is the best warm-water fishery in West Virginia, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It annually produces more citation game fish than any other warm-water river in West Virginia. Common fish species found in Bluestone Lake include crappie, sunfish, catfish, muskellunge, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and hybrid striped bass.


Diving is permitted only in the no-wake speed zone at the mouth of the Bluestone River embayment. Divers must come up within 50 feet of diving flags and must display two flags located on separately anchored flotation devices no more than 100 feet apart.

Topographic Maps of Bluestone Lake and the Bluestone Lake WMA

Map of Bluestone Lake (North)
Map of Bluestone Lake (West)
Map of Bluestone Lake (East)
Map of Bluestone Lake (South)

Additional Information

Lakes of the New River Gorge Region: A directory of information about the lakes of the New River Gorge region of West Virginia.