Bath County Pumped Storage Station

Bath County Pumped Storage StationCradled in Virginia's rugged Allegheny Mountains, the world's most powerful pumped storage generating station quietly balances the electricity needs of millions of homes and businesses across six states.

The Bath County Pumped Storage Station, which went into operation in 1985, is jointly owned by Dominion and the operating companies of the Allegheny Power System, and managed by Dominion Generation. This mammoth station was cited as one of the nation's most outstanding 1985 engineering achievements. The earth and rock fill moved to construct the dams and other project facilities, if piled up, would create a mountain 1,000 feet (305 meters) high. Enough concrete was poured to build 200 miles (322 kilometers) of interstate highway.

The station consists of two large reservoirs — one 1,262 feet (385 meters) higher than the other, a massive power house and the huge tunnels that connect them. When demand is low, water is pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper one.

When demand is high, valves permit water to run through the tunnels to the lower reservoir at a rate as high as 13.5 million gallons (852 cubic meters/second) per minute, turning six turbine generators.

The water level in the 265-acre upper reservoir can fluctuate as much as 106 feet when the unit is operated.

About the Environment

The Bath County Pumped Storage Station is nearly surrounded by the George Washington National Forest and was built in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.

Occupying a relatively small amount of land, it has had minimal adverse effect on the environment.

Flows to both streams, Back Creek and Little Back Creek, are supplemented by storage from the station reservoirs. This significantly improves stream flow during periods of drought and enhances the environment for fish and other aquatic life.

The extreme fluctuations in water levels in the two reservoirs make them unsuitable for recreation. However, a separate 325-acre (1.32 sq. kilometers) public Recreation Area containing two lakes is located just downstream from the lower dam. The area has facilities for fishing, non-power boating, picnicking, swimming, hiking and camping. Additional details are provided below.

Brief Facts about the Station

Net Generating Capacity: 3,003 megawatts

License Issued: January, 1977

Commercial Operation: December, 1985

Owners: Dominion (60%), Allegheny Power System (40%)

Lower Reservoir Dam:

  • 135 feet high (41 meters)
  • 2,400 feet long (732 meters)
  • Contains 4 million cubic yards (3.1 million cubic meters) of earth and rock fill

Lower Reservoir:

  • 555 surface acres (2.25 sq. kilometers)
  • Water level fluctuates 60 feet (18 meters) during operation

Upper Reservoir Dam:

  • 460 feet high (140 meters)
  • 2,200 feet long (671 meters)
  • Contains 18 million cubic yards (13.8 million cubic meters) of earth and rock fill

Upper Reservoir:

  • 265 surface acres (1.07 sq. kilometers)
  • Water level fluctuates 105 feet (32 meters) during operation

Water Flow - Pumping: 12.7 million gallons (801 cubic meters/second) per minute

Water Flow - Generating: 13.5 million gallons (852 cubic meters/second) per minute

Turbine Generators: Six Francis-type 500-megawatt units manufactured by Allis Chalmers

Maximum Pumping Power (per unit): 642,800 horsepower (479,300 kilowatts)

Recreation Area

Thank you for your interest in the Bath County Pumped Storage Station Recreation Area. Dominion Generation and Allegheny Energy jointly own the Recreation Area, and it is operated by Dominion Generation. The FERC License Number is 2716. The Recreation Area is open to all members of the public without discrimination. We hope you enjoy your visit and will return.

Season and Operating Hours

  • The Recreation Area is open to the general public April - October. Facilities are open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Fishing is permitted all year.

Day Use Fees:

  • A season parking pass is $25.00. 
  • Day parking is $2.00. 
  • The picnic shelter (reservations required) is $25.00. 
  • Payments may be made at the entry station Honor Box if no staff is present.

Camping Fees:

  • A single campsite is $10.00. 
  • A primitive campsite is $2.00.

Campsite Registration

  • Reservations are not accepted. 
  • Campers must register and pay total fee for expected stay before setting up. 
  • Fee receipts must be presented to recreation staff upon request. 
  • Campers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 
  • Maximum occupancy is eight persons per campsite. 
  • There is a maximum of two vehicles per campsite. For larger sites an additional tent and boat trailer are permitted. 
  • Campsites may not be occupied for more than 14 days without previous permission of recreation area staff. 
  • Camp trailers may not be left unoccupied overnight.

Check Out:

  • Check out time is 1:00 p.m. 

Campground Rules:

  • Camping in other than designated sites is prohibited.
  • Quiet hours are 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. 
  • Please be considerate of other campers by not playing musical instruments, radios, TVs, electrical generators or other noisy devices during quiet hours.
  • Please conclude group gatherings by 10:00 p.m. 
  • Campground restrooms are reserved for registered campers only. 
  • Tents, trailers and all motor vehicles must be placed on prepared gravel pads. 
  • Do not attach any device, rope, line or wire to trees or tree limbs. 
  • Fires are permitted only in fire rings, cook grills or personal campstoves. Fires must be attended at all times. Only deadwood may be gathered for fires. 
  • Dish and clothes washing are not permitted in drinking fountains or comfort stations. 
  • Sewage may be dumped only at the designated dumping station. 
  • Place all trash/garbage in receptacles. Keep your area clean and report any problems to the recreation staff. 
  • Camping equipment unattended for 24 hours past last payment or abandoned will be impounded.


  • Two pets are permitted per campsite or per vehicle visiting other areas. 
  • Dogs, cats or other animals must be caged or leashed (6' or shorter) in the recreation area. 
  • Pets are prohibited from the beach and bath house. 
  • Pets disturbing others must be removed from the area by its owner.

Recreation Area General Information

  • Motor vehicles must remain on roads and parking areas. No off-road or unlicensed vehicles may operate in the recreation area. 
  • Posted speed limit is 10 mph. 
  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in all public use areas. 
  • Trash should be placed in receptacles. 
  • Firearms must be unloaded and cased in the recreation area. Discharging of firearms or fire works is strictly prohibited. 
  • Bowhunting and archery target practice are strictly prohibited. 
  • Objectionable behavior (noisy, abusive, threatening or indecent) is strictly prohibited. 
  • Please turn in found personal items to the entry control station. Check with the recreation staff for lost articles. 

Beach, Ponds and Bath House

  • No lifeguard is provided at the swimming area and all swimming is at your own risk. 
  • Beach, swimming area and bath house are open daily from 10 a.m. until dusk. 
  • Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. 
  • Parents are responsible for the actions and safety of their children at all times in the recreation area. 
  • No pets are allowed on the beach or in the bath house. 
  • Structures are not allowed on the beach. 
  • Boats are allowed on the upper pond only. 
  • No gasoline or diesel powered boats are permitted. 
  • Fishing is permitted in the stream, upper pond and lower half of the lower pond. 
  • Special regulation areas for trout and large mouth bass apply. Virginia fishing rules and regulations apply to all other species. 
  • No gigging, trotlines or trapping are allowed in the stream or ponds.

Environmental Information

  • Please do not feed the geese or ducks - keep the "wild" in wildlife. 
  • Do not discard or discharge any liquid or material into the ponds, stream or other waters. 
  • Trashcans are placed at many locations - please use them and help us keep the area clean. 
  • Please do not disturb bird nest boxes or other bird nests.  
  • Please be considerate of the other creatures that enjoy the recreation area!

Emergencies and Security

  • In the event of an emergency use the red telephone at the entry control station. Picking up the receiver will contact the Bath County sheriff's dispatcher.
  • Dominion Generation assumes no responsibility for the loss or theft of personal property of recreation area users. Incidents of loss or theft should be reported to the recreation staff.

Dominion Generation reserves the right to revoke camping and daytime use permits. In the event of such revocation, unused fees will be refunded.

Your comments are welcome and may be sent to:

Recreation Area Manager
Dominion Generation BCPSS
316 Power Station Road
Warm Springs, VA 24484

Bath County Recreation Ponds

 Dominion Virginia Power opened the Bath County Power Station Recreational Ponds, near Back Creek, in 1989. There are two ponds (27 and 45 acres). 

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