Rough River Lake

Louisville District
Published Jan. 10, 2024
Aerial view of the dam at Rough River Lake in Falls of Rough, Kentucky.

Aerial view of the dam at Rough River Lake in Falls of Rough, Kentucky.

Aerial view of the dam at Rough River Lake in Falls of Rough, Kentucky.

14957 Falls of Rough Road
Falls of Rough, KY 40119-6318
(270) 257-2061
Office hours: M-F, 6:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (may vary, call ahead)

Lake Levels

Lake Temperatures

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DRAFT Rough River Dam Safety Modification Project 

Encroachment Resolution Plan (link coming soon): Direct questions to Rough River Lake at (270) 257-2061.

*If you are looking for a document that you cannot locate on this page, please email


Rough River Lake is situated in Breckinridge, Hardin, and Grayson counties in south central Kentucky. The dam is located on the Rough River near the community of Falls of Rough, about 20 miles from Leitchfield and 95 miles southwest of Louisville.

The 5,100-acre Rough River Lake provides a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. The Corps, in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, manages Rough River Lake’s land and water for wildlife, fisheries and recreation. The menu on the right leads to specific recreation and other lake information.


Rough River Lake was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1938. The Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed, built, and operates the project to reduce flood damages downstream from the dam. The dam is in Breckinridge and Grayson counties, about 6 miles upstream from Falls of the Rough on Rough River.

During the fall and winter months, when excessive rainfall is likely, the lake is kept at a relatively low level referred to as winter pool. Should heavy rains occur, surface water runoff is stored in the lake until the swollen streams and rivers below the dam have receded and can handle the release of the stored water without damage to lives or property.


Rough River Lake lies within the “Clifty” area of Pennyroyal Region of Kentucky. The term “Pennyroyal” or “Pennyrile,” used interchangeably, denoted an area exceeding 11,000 square miles. The name derived from a plant of the mint family which grows profusely throughout the area.

The Clifty area comprises the western edge of the Pennyroyal layers have been assigned by geologist to the Chester Series of Late Mississippian Geologic Age, a period estimated to have existed about 300 million years ago.

An abundance of water in the area, both surface and underground, has caused solutioning in the limestone and as a result, created a myriad of sinks and caverns. The most important cavern in the area is Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world with more than 240 miles of mapped passageways. The Pennyroyal plain, extending from northern Tennessee through Kentucky to central Indiana, is an outstanding example of “Karst” (sinkhole) topography and is the most widespread topographic feature of this type in the United States.

Shoreline Use, Permits and Licenses

Rough River Lake allows shoreline uses through permits and licenses in accordance with their lake’s Shoreline Management Plan. For questions about this, please contact the project office at (270) 257-2061.




Louisville District Public Affairs
Rough River Lake