Rhododendron Lake Nature Park

A 10-acre park nestled between Lake Drive and Primrose Lane, conveniently accessible from both Laurel Park Highway and White Pine Drive. Features almost a mile of walking paths, fitness stations, a catch-and-release fishing pond (with a child 12 years of age and under only), picnic area with charcoal grill, and more.


321 Primrose Lane
Hendersonville, NC 28739
The property is on Lake Drive just off Laurel Park Highway on the former site of Rhododendron Lake, with main visitor parking off of Primrose Lane. Laurel Green and Rhododendron Lake Nature Park are connected via the sidewalk on Laurel Park Highway to Primrose Lane.



William Alexander Smith, one of the first developers of Laurel Park Estates, built Rhododendron Lake in 1909. At the time, Rhododendron Lake connected to its sister lake, Rainbow Lake, via a canal. Residents enjoyed boating in canoes and rowboats on the canal to meet up with friends. Rhododendron Lake was a hot spot for many friends and families during the summer. For a small entry fee, families could enjoy a picnic and recreational time including swimming, diving off the dock, sunbathing on the beach, or playing on the playground.

The Laurel Park Villa, built on Rhododendron Lake, was the site of many concerts including Cab Calloway, Tommy Dorsey, and even Ella Fitzgerald. The Villa was also the first place in town to show silent movies. Residents of Hendersonville could ride the “Dummy Line” rail car from Main Street to Fifth Avenue to visit the lakes and the villa, and some evenings there would be teen dances at Rhododendron Lake.

Rhododendron Lake was a major community hub in the 1950s and 1960s in Hendersonville. The Red Cross held swim lessons for residents, so many people took their first swim strokes in that lake. In the 1980s, however, the earthen dam that was set to protect the surrounding residents from the Lake was found to be unsound. The lake size reduced from nine acres to one acre and the site where so many used to congregate and enjoy each other’s company became overgrown and forgotten by many.

The new Rhododendron Lake Nature Park seeks to preserve and remind residents of those memories. Through the help of our donors and grants, we were able to construct a park that will make room to create new memories and bring the community together the same way its predecessor did.