Mountain Lake, called the “Silver Gem of the Alleghanies,” is on top of Salt Pond Mountain. It measures about 2/3 mile long by 1/5 mile wide and has an elevation of 3874 feet, nearly 1000 feet above much of the surrounding ridges and more than 2000 feet above the New River. It is reportedly one of only two natural fresh water lakes in Virginia; the other is Lake Drummond in the Dismal Swamp near Norfolk. There are several explanations for the formation of Mountain Lake. One states that earthquakes caused rockslides at the north end of the valley, damming up the water from an underground stream to form the lake. The lake is shallow on the south side at the hotel beach, but is nearly two hundred feet deep on the north end. Much of the movie Dirty Dancing was filmed at the Mountain Lake Hotel.
Starting Point: Newport town park baseball field located on SR 42, 1.3 miles east of junction with US 460.
Distance: 33.2 miles.
Terrain: Difficult with steep grades.
|0.0||From the town park, go to the left (west) on SR 42.|
|0.1||Turn right onto SR 601.|
|0.9||Pass SR 604 on left.|
|1.4||Pass SR 702 on right.|
|2.5||Pass SR 685 on left.|
|5.2||Left onto SR 602.|
|7.9||Continue right on SR 602. Pass SR 685 on left.|
|9.3||Pass SR 603 on left.|
|9.9||Right onto SR 700.|
|14.3||Top! Left onto SR 613, steep descent. Mountain Lake Hotel is 0.1 m on SR 613 to right.|
|19.7||Hoges Chapel. Cross US 460 and continue straight on SR 772.|
|22.8||Left onto SR 730.|
|23.5||Right onto SR 682.|
|25.9||Left onto SR 605. Watch for dogs!|
|32.4||Cross US 460, proceed east on SR 42.|
|32.8||Continue to right on SR 42 passing through Newport.|
|33.2||Return to the baseball field parking lot.|
Public restrooms are available at the Mountain Lake Hotel. For other bicycling opportunities around the lake, check the mountain bike section for Mountain Lake.