About Lake Bowen
In the 1950s, the Spartanburg region experienced a considerable increase in population. At the time, the population of Spartanburg County had risen to well over 150,000 people, with that number expected to significantly grow in the coming decades. To meet the steadily increasing demand of water usage and to ensure an adequate water supply for the future of Spartanburg County, Lake William C. Bowen was constructed in 1960. Located within the South Pacolet River Basin, Lake Bowen was formed by the waters of the South Pacolet River and its tributaries.
Today, Lake Bowen encompasses 1,534 acres and contains approximately 33 miles of shoreline. Along with providing an adequate water supply, Lake Bowen offers many recreational activities like boating and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy Anchor Park, a recreational park provided by Spartanburg Water that offers picnic pavilions, waterfront access for fishing, a playground, two boat ramps, and the Lake Bowen Warden’s Office.
Although the landscape around Lake Bowen has experienced much change over the past 56 years, the lake itself has remained a sound, focal point of the region. Throughout the coming years, the Lake Bowen area will continue to experience change, with new possibilities, an influx of new families, and promising growth. Amidst the change, Lake Bowen will continue to be the vital link it has always been for the Spartanburg region, providing an adequate water supply and a variety of recreational activities to the residents of Spartanburg County and the surrounding region.
Lake Bowen and Pacolet River Levels
Lake levels and river flows are almost always in a constant state of fluctuation. Spartanburg Water regularly monitors the levels of Lake Bowen, along with the flow of the South and North Pacolet River, to better manage our water supply. As an informational source, customers and recreational users can now monitor these trends for Lake Bowen and the Pacolet River system at their convenience. For reservoir level and river flow history, select a location from the list below.
Directions to Lake Bowen (Anchor Park)
Go I-85 North (towards Charlotte). Take Exit 75 (Boiling Springs/SC9) and turn left towards Boiling Springs. Go 8.5 miles. Lake Bowen Park will be located on the left.
Go I-85 towards (Greenville/Spartanburg). Take Exit 75 (Boiling Springs/SC9) and turn right towards Boiling Springs. Go 8.5 miles. Lake Bowen Park will be located on the left.
Rules and Boating Access Permits
Recreational Rules and Regulations
Spartanburg Water has adopted specific policies and procedures that govern any recreational activities on Lake Bowen. These rules and regulations have been adopted to ensure that all users of Lake Bowen conduct their recreational activities in a safe and conscientious manner. Before participating in any recreational activities on Lake Bowen, please read through the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Boating Regulations.
Spartanburg Water has established a specific boat permitting fee structure that governs the use of Lake Bowen. These fees have been adopted to ensure that all users of Lake Bowen understand the permitting and fees for the use of Lake Bowen. Please read through the Spartanburg Water Summary of Boat Permitting /Fee Structure before participating in any activities on Lake Bowen.
Lake Bowen Irrigation Plan
Lake Bowen provides an excellent source of high quality drinking water for the people of the Spartanburg area. Protection of this resource is needed to ensure that current and future generations will continue to enjoy drinking water from the reservoir and also have excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation and education. Protection of the reservoir begins with the surrounding watershed and associated land use practices. Spartanburg Water has developed a policy aimed at protecting water quality and quantity by managing withdrawals around Lake Bowen for private irrigation.
The City of Spartanburg Commisioners of Public Works approved the Lake Bowen Irrigation Plan by resolution in May 2009 and amended it in January 2014. A copy of the final plan is now available by clicking the link below or may be picked up at the Lake Bowen Wardens' office located at 8515 Highway 9 during normal hours of operation (Monday - Sunday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.).
Since its construction in 1960, Lake Bowen has been one of the leading recreational resources for the Spartanburg area. Lake Bowen offers many recreational activities like boating and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy “Anchor Park,” a recreational park provided by Spartanburg Water that offers pavilion rentals, waterfront access for fishing, a playground, two boat ramps, and the Lake Bowen Warden’s Office.
Along with general recreation, Spartanburg Water also sponsors a number of programs on Lake Bowen.
Ski Bash is a program in cooperation with the Greenville Hospital System. The program offers handicapped individuals a chance to go skiing on Lake Bowen. New, innovative equipment is brought to the twice-yearly events so that every participant may have a chance to participate.
Participants in this class receive a guided tour on a pontoon boat while learning about the history and use of Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock. The program focuses on water safety, water conservation, and watershed issues. Additionally, students learn how to take water samples and test for water quality.
• Day-long program suitable for late elementary through junior high students
• Topics available include:
- Water Treatment Process, Distribution and Purification
- Reclaimed Water Treatment Process, Collection and Recycling
• Contact the Lake Bowen Wardens Office at (864) 592-2240
Lake Sweep is a program that Spartanburg Water is proud to offer every year. The program, a joint effort with Spartanburg Water and Spartanburg area volunteers, involves removing trash and recyclables from around Lake Bowen, Lake Blalock, and surrounding water bodies. Lake Sweep has been so successful, that 200-250 people participate each year to help remove over 15,000 - 20,000 pounds of trash each Lake Sweep day just in the last few years. That’s over four tons!
Learn more about Lake Sweep here.
Bladderwort and the Ecosystem
Bladderwort was spotted by our Watershed Managers on Lake Bowen a few years ago. The species gets its name from the inherent bladder-like structures connected to the submerged segments of the plant. Please click here for a fact sheet prepared by Spartanburg Water about Bladderwort in Lake Bowen.
Bladderwort is a rootless, free-floating aquatic plant that is sometimes noticeable by its small, yellow flower protruding from the surface of the water. The species is called Bladderwort because of its inherent bladder-like structures connected to the submerged segments of the plant. The plant is carnivorous and uses these bladders to capture tiny, aquatic organisms such as insect larvae and aquatic worms.