Small town Beaver, Pennsylvania, home of Garrison Day

“Mountain Lake Lodge Virginia” by AstaPro5 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mountain Lake lies peacefully in the Appalachian Mountains in southwest Virginia. Along the lakeshore sits a mountain retreat that offers an unforgettable getaway experience, Mountain Lake Lodge. Located in Pembroke, Virginia, Mountain Lake Lodge is surrounded by wilderness, but still convenient to the civilized world.

Take a Hike Around Mountain Lake

If you are planning to take a trip to Mountain Lake, be sure to explore the numerous hiking trails. There are plenty of options for hiking, from a light stroll to more strenuous trips. If you have to choose only one, the trail up to Bald Knob offers a beautiful trek culminating in some spectacular views.

Though only about a half a mile long one way, this hike is extremely steep. Once you get to the top, you will realize why it is worth the trip. Bald Knob offers extraordinary views of the sprawling New River Valley and surrounding landscape. Go late in the afternoon and treat yourself to a gorgeous sunset over the mountains of southwestern Virginia.

mountain lake lodge view of bald knob
Bald Knob by the Author

Mountain Lake Lodge: Stagecoach Stop to Hollywood Celebrity

Mountain Lake was first discovered in the 1700s by Christopher Gist, a member of the Ohio Land Surveying Company. The lake was initially called Salt Pond but adopted its current name in the 1800s. Mountain Lake Lodge opened in 1851 with its original Salt Pond moniker. Six years later, it was renamed Mountain Lake Lodge by its new owner, General Herman Haupt. During the 1800s, the lodge provided housing for many stagecoach travelers coming in and out of the mountains, and its popularity began to grow.

Fast forward a century or so, and the lake and lodge have grown into a premier Appalachian destination with their own claim to fame. 30 years ago, Mountain Lake Lodge turned Hollywood. The now-classic movie, Dirty Dancing featured Mountain Lake in some of the film’s iconic scenes. The crew and cast, including Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, stayed at the lodge and filmed numerous scenes in the area.

Mountain Lake and Lake Lure: The Hatfield and McCoys of Movie Locations

Some parts of Dirty Dancing filmed in Lake Lure, North Carolina. Using multiple locations for such a famous film led to disagreements that are still debated today. A feud broke out over whether Mountain Lake in Virginia or Lake Lure in North Carolina should have the rightful claim to fame.

This seemingly small controversy doesn’t have a very broad reach, and most fans of the film couldn’t care less. But around Mountain Lake and Lake Lure, the rightful claim to the “official” lake of the movie is serious business. And not bad for getting a little extra exposure for both of these mountain destinations!


So head up to Mountain Lake Lodge (don’t tell Lake Lure!) and enjoy the mountains, forests, and hospitality of this Appalachian getaway. Check out our events calendar before you hit the road because there’s a good chance you’ll find a great Appalachian event or festival on the way.

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