Mountain Lake Lodge, Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia: 'Dirty Dancing' lake is filling up again after disappearing completely for 12 years

It was the star in pivotal scenes in a classic 1980s film, and now, after disappearing for more than 12 years, a famous US lake has started to fill up once again.

Mountain Lake Lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia featured in Dirty Dancing as "Kellerman's Resort", including the scene where Patrick Swayze lifts Jennifer Grey into the air, and where dance lessons took place in the gazebo next to the water.

But the lake has another claim to fame, it sometimes mysteriously disappears to "self-clean".

The lake filled with water as seen in Dirty Dancing.

The lake filled with water as seen in Dirty Dancing. Photo: Vestron Pictures/Facebook

The natural phenomenon has astonished scientists including Roanoke College professor Jon Cawley. In a video on the hotel's website, he described the lake as "unique".

"When the lake drains – when it actually empties out – it is cleaning itself by moving sediment that has accrued in the bottom of the lake down through that rather complex plumbing system to actually make the lake bigger, deeper, and to keep it clean," Cawley says on a video posted on the hotel's website.

The lake from the same spot, completely empty.

The lake from the same spot, completely empty. Photo: Vestron Pictures/Facebook

About every 400 years the lake completely dries up, but refills again in a natural cycle, according to The Roanoke Times.. The water levels have dropped and come back a couple of times since the movie was released in 1987.

For years, the hotel has lived off its famous cinematic moment, regularly hosting Dirty Dancing weekends.


The film, about a young woman who falls in love with a dance instructor, was a surprise hit, grossing more than $US200 million at the box office on a budget of just $5 million. It also won an Oscar for "Best Original Song" for (I've Had) The Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.

Mountain Lake Lodge's general manager Heidi Stone told CNN that the reappearance is "very exciting".

"Because for so many years it's been dry and looked more like a meadow. It's the prettiest when it's filled with water," said Stone.


See also: Train permanently parked on bridge, converted to luxury hotel

See also: Come here for a year, bring your laptop, and 'forget about coronavirus'