Barren River Lake

Quick Facts

Barren River Lake


(270) 646-2055

Map Directions

Things To Do


A 10,000 acre lake in the slightly rolling, timbered countryside. Barren River Lake is located in southcentral Kentucky and is approximately 35 miles south of the largest cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave National Park. The lake was completed by the Corps of Engineers in 1964. Barren River Lake is the site for the 2001 International (Scottish) Highland Games (the Glasgow Highland Games are held annually at the State Resort Park). The Lake area has many federally protected Native American village and burial sites. The river was the historic route for westward traveling pioneers, who would travel down the Barren River to a trading post at present-day Bowling Green, Kentucky, where their journey would proceed by land.

Map of Barren River Lake

Latitude, Longitude: 36.894312, -86.124916



  • Boating

    Boating opportunities abound at Barren River Lake. Boat ramps are conveniently located in each recreation area and there are also three full service marinas to satisy needs. There are eight boat ramps on the lake and one located below the dam on Barren River. There are four full service marinas at Barren River Lake that provide boat rental, slip rental, gasoline and grocery items.

  • Camping

    Numerous federal and state operated campgrounds provide a wide range of opportunities at various locations around the lake. Remember that camping is only allowed at designated camping areas, within a recreation area. Corps of Engineers Campgrounds includes Baileys Point, The Narrows and Tailwater. The Narrows and Tailwater open for the season in Mid-April and close the third Saturday in September. Baileys Point opens at the same time but has an extended season until the third Saturday in October. All three campgrounds have a wide range of amenities which include on-site park attendants, individual water hook-ups, electrical hookups, shower houses, playgrounds, horseshoe pits, volleyball area, hiking trails and nearby swimming areas. Each campsite has a fire ring/cooking grill, table and lantern holder. The Narrows and Baileys Point have washers and dryers available as well as ice and firewood. The Narrows also has a full-service Marina within walking distance. In addition, Baileys Point has a concession store with a limited supply of groceries and camping supplies available. For the more primitive camper Beaver Creek campground is available. There are 12 sites with no electric, two water stations, a swimming beach and a vault toilet available. Other non-Corps camping areas on the lake are located at Barren River State Park and Walnut Creek Marina.

  • Fishing

    Fishing opportunities abound at Barren River Lake. Hybrid bass, striped bass, largemouth bass, all types of catfish, crappie, brim and many others are harvested. Fishing is one of the main attractions at Barren River Lake and for those who don't own a boat, or prefer fishing from the shoreline, there are three fishing piers to choose from. Two of these piers are located at the Quarry Road Recreation Area located at the dam off State Highway 252 in Barren County. Choose the main lake to fish from or a more quiet location in a small pond adjacent to the parking lot. The third location is located below Lucas, KY, at the end of South Lucas Road on Peter Creek. River fishing, below the dam, offers the oportunity to catch muskie, catfish and also hybrid and striped bass. Fishing maps, bait and gasoline are available at most stores around the lake. Detailed maps of the lake can also be obtained from the Corps of Engineers Office at the dam.

  • Hiking

    Hiking trails at The Narrows, Baileys Point, Tailwater and Barren River Lake State Resort Park are available for the casual as well as the avid hiker.

  • Hunting

    There are 10,000 acres of federal lands at Barren River Lake and approximately 8,000 acres are available for all types of hunting. The Corps of Engineers has leased this land and the 10,000 acres of water to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for management of the fisheries and wildlife. The leased land is referred to as a WMA (Wildlife Management Area). Kentucky Hunting Regulations are enforced on Corps of Engineers Lands at Barren. There are seven Public Hunting Areas or WMAs at Barren. The islands and Peninsula WMA are primitive weapons only: bow, crossbow and muzzleloader. The Public Hunting Areas are large tracts of land, several hundred acres each, that have a public roadway access point. These accessible areas are good areas for hunting; however, they do receive heavy use, especially during the weekends of deer hunting gun seasons. Much of the lake is bordered by private land, and require written permission from the landowner for visitors to cross their land to access federal land. A boat is an excellent way to access most of the available hunting areas at Barren.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic sites with picnic tables and bathroom facilities are available at all recreation areas except for Peninsula, Austin and Browns Ford. There are four Corps of Engineer maintained picnic shelters available for reservation mid-April to mid-September. Baileys Point picnic shelter is available until mid-October. During the off-season picnic shelters are on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming, wading, snorkeling or scuba diving at one's own risk is permitted, except at boat launching sites, designated mooring points and public docks, or other areas so designated by the District Commander. The designated Corps swimming beaches at Barren River Lake are at Beaver Creek Recreation Area and Quarry Road Recreation Area. Quarry Road Beach, located near the dam, is the largest of the two beaches. Both beaches are routinely maintained and sanded. The State Park Beach has lifeguards on duty throughout the recreation season. The area is buoyed off and has a gradual sanded slope. There is also a small concession store available.



From Louisville, 95 mi S on I-65 to Cave City, 10 mi S on KY 90 to Glasgow, 5 mi S on US 31 to KY 252, 9 mi S to dam.

Phone Numbers


(270) 646-2055

Campground reservations

(877) 444-6777