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Cumberland River & Dale Hollow Lake: Wonders to Behold




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By David Shuffett

 

It has become a legendary stretch of water.  If you’ve heard the stories of the Cumberland River – from Wolf Creek Dam downstream to Burkesville you’ll want to book a guided trip and pack your fishing gear. Because it could be you who catches the next behemoth trout that will become a story for the grandkids.

 

The one that got away? Not here! All of Kentucky’s record trout were caught on the Cumberland River, including a 21-pound brown trout and a 14-pound, 6-ounce rainbow.  

 

Dale Hollow Lake

 

But nearby Dale Hollow Lake is not to be outdone.  That’s where David L. Hayes caught the world-record smallmouth bass back in 1955. That fish weighed in at 11 pounds, 15 ounces – a record that still stands. For now.

 

You can even look at those big catches eye-to-eye, if you’d like. Dale Hollow Lake has better underwater clarity than most lakes in the Commonwealth, making it a popular destination for scuba divers.    

 

Overlooking it all is the Mary Ray Oaken Lodge at Dale Hollow State Resort Park, a limestone structure with a 37-foot-tall rock fireplace perched on a cliff high above the lake.  The views from the lodge are absolutely incredible, but its allure doesn’t stop there.

 

The park’s 18-hole championship golf course is beautifully designed. Days later you may not remember what you shot, but you’ll never forget the course’s sweeping vistas of mountains, forest and, of course, the lake.

 

Recreation & Relaxation

 

The area’s water draw lots of adventure-seekers here: canoeists, kayakers, recreational boaters, fishermen, hikers, even photographers on the lookout for bald eagles. All those folks need a place to stay, and the newly renovated Alpine Lodge and Resort delivers.

 

Looking like something straight out of the Swiss Alps, this gem located on top of “Big Hill” offers stunning views of the town of Burkesville down below.  Some of my earliest childhood memories are eating in the restaurant here with my parents, moments I still cherish to this day. This was the highest place I’d ever been as a little boy, so in my eyes it was like being on top of Mount McKinley.      

 

If you like having all amenities in one location, Sulphur Creek Resort can’t be beat. Guests can step out the door of their lakefront log cabin (or tent at their campsite) and walk straight to the restaurant – or perhaps to the full-service marina and store to plan a day on the water. Rental boats, including houseboats, are available.   

 

The same can be said for Hendricks Creek Resort, family owned since 1953, offering rental houseboats and cottages that can accommodate from 2 to 12 people. In addition, they also offer rental fishing boats, pontoons and runabouts.  The full-service marina also has a ship’s store, on-site repair facility and moorage facilities for those who own their own boat. 

 

Wonders to Behold

 

Ready for a vacation to remember?

 

Water lovers can lose themselves on Dale Hollow, a big lake with 650 miles of secluded shoreline, and the Cumberland River – a trophy trout stream – is right next door. You can soak up the beauty of both places during the same trip, all the while watching majestic bald eagles grace the skies above.

 

These are truly wonders to behold.

 

When you leave, the locals will ask you to come back again sometime. If you’re like me, you’ll make that “sometime” very soon.

 

For more information on things to see and do in Cumberland County, call 270-864-5890 or visit www.cumberlandcounty.com.   

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