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Backpacking with Brooke: Turtle Island

Smith Mountain Lake State Park is full of hiking trails like this one!

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Turtle Island is an easy 1.2 mile hike that leads to an island on Smith Mountain Lake. The hike is located in the Smith Mountain Lake State Park, and cost $7 for parking. There’s many hikes in this park, and a beach access, so you can get your money’s worth.

You will start at the sign for turtle island, heading to the left. We went around 7 p.m. so the sun was starting to sink low in the sky.

The terrain was mostly dirt and a little muddy in some parts. I wore my Chacos in case I wanted to wade into the lake later. There are plenty of informational signs to learn about the forest as well.

As we kept walking, we could see the lake through the trees. Then I realized something. I had taken a wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

So we retraced our steps and realized there is a fork in the trail. When you’re coming from the lot, keep to the right the whole time, and always follow the blazes.

The trail stayed pretty flat for the most part and gradually declined the closer we got to the lake. As the sun continued to set, it lit the trees and plants up so nicely.

Finally, after about 20 minutes or so, the trail opened up to the water. There was a little beach to the right of us, and we headed over the bridge to the island.

There is a sign that explains how the island came to be, and its depth seems to be a good docking spot to fish or hang out.

We headed around to the front of the island to watch the sunset and take some photos. When we were finished, we followed the trail up the middle of the island and took the loop to the left back.

If you are heading to Smith Mountain Lake to visit the beach, I highly suggest checking this hike out. It made for a nice, peaceful way to finish our day.


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