Paintsville Lake

Quick Facts

Paintsville Lake


(606) 297-6312

Map Directions

Things To Do


Located in eastern Kentucky, Paintsville Lake is a total of 1,139 surface acres. The US Army Corps of Engineers owns a total of 13,156 acres of land surrounding the lake with 57 miles of shoreline. The lake is approximately 18 miles in length. Paintsville Lake gleams like a jewel in the crown of the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. With steep cliffs and wooded coves along the shoreline. The lake provides 1,140 acres of boating, skiing and fishing pleasure. After a day on the lake, relax in the campground. For a glimpse into a vanished way of life, visit the Mountain Homeplace. The Paintsville Tourism Commission, in cooperation with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, has developed a 19th Century Mountain Homeplace Historical Area at Paintsville Dam. The Historical Homeplace depicts, through a living history, mountain life of Eastern Kentuckians from the time period of 1850-1900. The US Army Corps of Engineers Office/Visitor Center is located on the top of the hill after crossing the dam.

Map of Paintsville Lake

Latitude, Longitude: 37.840157, -82.871761



  • Boating

    Launch ramps for the boating enthusiasts and fishermen are located at the Rocky Knob Recreation Area, 1 mile from the dam, and Open Fork Boat Ramp, 16 miles west, off Route 172. The Lost Creek and Big Mine Fork boat ramps are accessible from Route 1260 or Route 1437. There is no size limit on boats and motors. Boaters must obey all regulations and maintain responsible control of their craft at all times. Boaters are responsible for any damage caused by the wake (or waves) caused by their boat.

  • Bicycling

    Bicycles are permitted on roadways. Bicycles are not permitted on the Kiwanis Trail. There are about 25 miles of service roads suitable for mountain bikes.

  • Camping

    Camping is only available at the Paintsville Lake State Park Campground located near the marina. There are 32 state-of-the-art modern campsites with 50 amp electricity, water and sewer hookups. 10 additional primitive sites have water and a wash house nearby with showers and laundry facilities.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is allowed from boats and the shoreline at Paintsville Lake. Largemouth Bass, Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Walleye and Redbreast Sunfish have been stocked in the lake. Paint Creek below the dam is stocked monthly, April - November with Rainbow Trout. The Lake itself is stocked annually with Rainbow Trout. Kentucky fishing licenses are required.

  • Hiking

    The Kiwanis Trail head is located across from the Mountain Homeplace Welcome Center. It is a 1.6 mile Scenic Walking Trail. This trail is for foot traffic only. An orienteering course and the Adena Trail, a 7-mile long hiking trail developed by the Boy Scouts, is also available near the dam.

  • Historic Sites

    For a glimpse into a vanished way of life, visit the Mountain Homeplace. This living history farm recreates Appalachian farm life in the mid-1800s.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is available at Paintsville Lake, but you must provide your own horse. Those who own horses may ride them on the project's forest fire access roads, but not in developed recreation areas. Groups of 10 people or more must obtain a free permit from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources before arrival.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is allowed in accordance with state hunting regulations on about 90% of the project. Deer, turkey, and squirrel are abundant. Rabbit, grouse and quail hunting is fair.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic shelters are located at the Paintsville Lake State Park. Call 606-297-8486 for reservations. Reservations are not required for 'first come, first serve'. Picnic Tables are also located around the Office/Visitor Center.

  • RVing

    There are 32 state-of-the-art modern campsites with 50 amp electricity, water and sewer hookups.

  • Water Sports

    No developed swimming facilities currently exist. SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK! Swimmers should be alert to the potential underwater hazards along a lake's shoreline, i.e., large rocks, tree branches, other natural debris and sudden depressions or shallow holes in the floor of the lake. Swimming is prohibited at the dam and within 100 feet of the intake structure (the concrete tower near the dam). Swimming is also prohibited at boat launching ramps. Cliff diving and jumping from cliffs at Paintsville Lake is PROHIBITED.



From Route 23, take Route 40 West 1.5 miles to Route 2275, turn right and travel 1 mile to the dam, turn left onto the dam and travel * mile to the Office/Visitor Center.

Phone Numbers


(606) 297-6312