Camping at Barren River Lake State Resort Park

Barren River Lake State Resort Park is an ideal lake vacation destination, created in the 1960s for that very purpose. Named after the wide-open grasslands that once covered the area, Barren River Lake is a water lover’s dream. The lake itself covers 10,000 acres for kayaking, boating, swimming, and jet skiing to your heart’s content. Barren River Lake is also home to many fish. Migratory birds find refuge here before continuing on their journey.


Switch things up and join one of the guided horse rides through the park, or take a woodland hike, keeping an eye out for a variety of birds. At the end of the day, settle into a rustic two-bedroom cottage and watch the sun set over the water. Tent camping is also welcome for those who want to be a little closer to nature.


What Makes It Great


Barren River Lake State Resort Park is a popular lake vacation destination for so many reasons—from the sandy shores perfect for sunbathing and swimming to the abundant and diverse variety of fishing, there is something for everyone. Visitors can rent pontoon boats, fishing boats or kayaks to explore the lake at a leisurely pace, taking in the rolling green hills and woodlands. The lake is abundant with bluegill, channel catfish, striped bass, and crappie, so purchase a fishing permit and head out to cast a line.


Throw your bike on a rack and bring it to the park, as well—the park’s 2.5-mile paved loop takes you past wildflower patches and lush trees, all while scaling grassy hills with lake views. Lace up your hiking boots and take an after dinner walk on the Connell nature trail to the sunset viewing area. If you want to see an oak tree over 200 hundred years old, try the Peter’s Creek Trail, where you can also see the remains of the farming culture of early settlers. The Connell Nature Trail is another good one for spotting farming relics. All of these trails can be done as a loop. And if horseback riding is more your style, there are guided horseback tours that leave every hour from the lodge.


After a full day of activities, head back to the Louie B. Nunn State Lodge dining room for a home cooked meal made with local ingredients. Guests can stay in one of the 51 rooms overlooking the lake, or you can head to one of the two-bedroom woodland cottages that wrap around the lake. Each cottage is equipped with a full kitchen and two bathrooms, making each guest’s stay comfortable and unique. If you want to stay a bit closer to nature, bring an RV or a camper, or camp in one of the few tent spots that the park offers.


Who is Going to Love It


This park is great for water-loving adventurers of all levels and activity preferences. It’s best for those who want to enjoy a beautiful lake setting without the effort of hiking and primitive camping. Families will also find a lot to do, as there are several sports areas with rental equipment, playgrounds and a variety of year round special events. It’s a great place to stay if you want to explore more of Southern Kentucky’s attractions—the park is near Mammoth Caves, the site of the longest cave system in the world.


Directions, Parking & Regulations


The park is located at 1149 State Park Road, Lucas, Kentucky 42156. Drive I-65 to the Cumberland Parkway East, then take US 31E South. Reserve a campsite or lodge/cottage online at least 24 hours before your stay, and call the park to make any changes.


The park does not allow alcohol, littering, or cutting plants or firewood.


A valid fishing license is required in order to fish on the lake.


Originally written by Jacqui Levy for RootsRated in partnership with Kentucky Tourism

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