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Summersville Lake 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
2981 Summersville Lake Road
Summersville, WV 26651-9401
Phone: (304) 872-3412

Summersville Lake copyright map by Alan EastepNoted for its spectacular cliffs and white water on the Gauley River. Near Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, a Civil War battlefield. On WV 129 at Mt. Nebo, 3 mi W of US 19.

The Summersville Lake Project was built under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers between 1960 and 1966 at a cost of nearly $48 million. By the end of 1974 it had paid for itself by prevented flood damages in the Gauley and Kanawha River areas estimated at almost $67 million.

The dam is on Gauley River near the town of Summersville in Nicholas County, West Virginia, and controls a drainage area of 803 square miles. It is one of the Corps most scenic dams. A rock-fill type, Summersville is the second largest dam of this type in the eastern United States and required 12 million cubic yards of earth and rock. The dam is 390 feet high (about as tall as a 40-story building) and 2,280 feet long.

During summer, the lake is raised to elevation 1,652 feet above sea level which provides 2,790 surface acres of water for recreation.

During late fall and winter it is lowered to elevation 1,575 to provide maximum space for storage of floodwaters.  Water is released from the lake through 1,555-foot long long, 29-foot diameter tunnel controlled at the lower end by three 9-foot diameter valves.


A picnic shelter is located at the Dam Site Picnic Area. The shelter is available on a first come - first served basis except when reserved in advance (a fee is required for reserving a shelter). Picnic shelters may be reserved by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777. Shelters reservations can be made a year in advance. There are also picnic tables at all recreation areas on the Summersville Lake project.

Recreation Area with Picnic Area

  • Damsite

  • Roadside Park

  • Salmon Run $

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