Camp at Switzer Lake

Virginia Switzer lake

Added by Glenn Shellenberger

One of the best car camp/day trip spot in the George Washington National Forest. Right on the border Virginia/West Virginia boarder, just under 30 miles off of Interstate 81.

Directly off of Interstate 81, headed toward West Virginia on Rt 33 is a beautiful lake only known by the locals. Switzer Lake, named because Switzer Dam was placed on the Dry River years ago to aid Harrisonburg and the surrounding area with its increased need for drinking water. The lake is seldom visited by fishermen but more often by locals who just want to get away. There are several awesome lake front camping spots, but if you don't score one of these campsites, there are plenty off to your right as you drive down Skidmore Fork Rd.

Starting from the beginning, drive down Rt. 33 through the GW Forest, take a right on Switzer Lake Rd right as you reach the top of the mountain and follow the dirt road for about half a mile. You have the option to take a left into a parking lot which leads you to the (kind of iffy) boat ramp, or continue straight to the multiple pull offs where the majority of the camp spots are. My favorite spot is about a quarter of a mile down to left, there is a pull of on the lake side of the road. Walk (or drive of you have a car that can handle it) about 100yds down the path towards the lake and it widens into a very large area with a decent fire pit (we have fit 15 ppl comfortably). The only picture I have of this site is the one looking through the trees out toward the lake, this is the view from the path as you walk down away from Skidmorefork Rd. If this spot is taken there are plenty more further down the road. With regards to wildlife, I have seen Black Bear, Deer, Bald Eagles and caught a few Bass and Sun Fish.

Pack List

  • No permit or campsite reservation needed
  • Tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Food supplies
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Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Photography, Running, Stand Up Paddle, Swimming

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



2 Miles



Adult Beverages
Cliff Jumping
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

4 months ago

Good Place to camp

If you follow the road beyond the lake there are some great camping spots as well. The river has much more trout than the lake and easier to catch. As others have mentioned... Be careful about camping next to the lake. I have spoken to the Ranger and apparently camping right next to the lake is not allowed because it is a fresh water reservoir that is being used for the drinking water of Harrisonburg.

4 months ago

4 months ago

Great camping spot

Great directions! I've had quite a few people tell me in the last year that they have been given fines for having open campfires around the lake so beware of that. Also, if you have a canoe or kayak you can cross the lake from either the boat ramp or Skidmore Fork road and find a whole bunch of campsites lining the opposite side that are seldom used. Also- beautiful pictures!

4 months ago

Added by Glenn Shellenberger

Full time adventurer embarking on a 5 month trip to hit all of the National Parks in the US! Follow the adventures on instagram as well @park_hoppin

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