R.D. Bailey Lake

Huntington District
Published Jan. 5, 2024
RD Bailey Lake

RD Bailey Lake

Reservations, Fees & Passes

Campground Fee:
$30- $40 per night -  Standard Electric

$80 per day - Shelters 1 and 2
$40 per day - Shelter 3


R.D. Bailey Lake was authorized by Section 203 of Flood Control Act of 1962. The primary project purposes are flood risk management, water quality and recreation. The dam was completed in 1980 and serves a drainage area of 540 square miles. The lake is impounded by a rock and random-fill dam with a concrete face and an uncontrolled broad-crested saddle spillway. The outlet works include an intake structure with two sluices controlled by hydraulically operated slide gates which discharge through a circular tunnel through the left abutment of the dam.  Five intake gates at four different elevations discharge into a sluice for selective withdrawal. The project operates its own water treatment system within the public recreation areas due to the remote and rugged terrain of the project. There are eight recreation areas including a Corps operated campground and day use areas. The project no longer has a marina concessionaire. 

Recreation Opportunities

Visitor Center
The Visitor's Center is perched 365 feet above the lake providing a breathtaking view of the dam, lake and surrounding forest. Viewing telescopes are mounted on the observation deck. Visitor center exhibits show opportunities available at the lake and provide a better understanding of the project. Tours are available of the dam and intake structure.

Facilities for boat launching are available at the Guyandotte Point Recreation Area. We offer a three (3) lane launch ramp with a lighted parking area for security. For more information please contact the project office at 304-664-3229.

Spread along a scenic six mile stretch of the Guyandotte River, the campground is divided into two segments, each with restrooms/showers, playgrounds, and nearby trailer dump stations.  A boat launch ramp is available for campers. All recreational facilities are universally accessible. Camping at R.D. Bailey Lake is restricted to developed camping areas only – there is no random camping. The use of vehicles off authorized roadways is also prohibited. The campgrounds are fee areas, with 94 sites. All sites have electrical hookup and have recently been upgraded to 50 amp service.

Picnic shelters are located at the Big Branch Day Use Area, Guyandotte Point Recreation Area, and the Visitor Center / Overlook. All shelters are available on a first come - first served basis EXCEPT WHEN RESERVED IN ADVANCE (a fee is required for reserving a shelter). Picnic shelters may be reserved by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at 877-444-6777 (toll-free) or visit us on the web at or click here for a direct link. Picnic tables are availibe at all recreation areas on the R.D. Bailey Lake project.

Fishing has been excellent for largemouth, smallmouth and striped bass; walleye, tiger muskie, channel catfish, crappie and panfish since the lake was formed in 1980. West Virginia fishing licenses are required. Easy-to-reach fishing spots are located at the Guyandotte Point Recreation Area, Big Branch Day Use Area, and Below Dam Fisherman's Access.  

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages 17,180 acres of the 19,000 acre project for Wildlife Management purposes providing opportunities for the hunting enthusiast to harvest small game such as squirrels, rabbits, grouse, and turkey. An abundant of oak, hickory, and beech make up the steep mountains and deep ravines offering a challenging hunt for any seasoned hunter.  The WMA at R.D. Bailey is also nestled in part of Wyoming and Mingo Counties which offers archery only hunting for white-tailed deer. These two counties along with the bordering counties of Logan and McDowell give the opportunity to harvest older age deer.  For more information contact Wildlife Manager at  for hunting regulations visit

Currently, R.D. Bailey Lake does not have a marina. However, the Guyandotte Point Recreation Area is open for boat launching, picnicking, and shoreline fishing. The Recreation Area is open from mid April thru Mid October. When the area is closed boaters may use the winter launch ramp. This one lane ramp can be access through the Below Dam Recreation Area/Fisherman's Access.

No developed swimming facilities currently exist

Bicycles are permitted on main roads, trails, and campground areas. Contact a Ranger for the location of areas conducive to off-road bicycling. Under West Virginia law, all riders under the age of 14 years MUST wear a protective helmet.

Foot trails (Hiking) are located at the Salt River and Justice Trails.

Handicapped Access
Universally Accessible Facilities are provided at the Project Office, Guyandotte Campground, Guyandotte Point Recreation Area, and the Big Branch Day Use Area.

Rules & Regulations

General Policies
A full list of Federal regulations that apply to all US Army Corps of Engineers properties can be found in Title 36 of the United States Code (USC). Title 36, The Rules and Regulations that Govern Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects.

Possession of firearms in a federal facility, including locks, dams, power plants, ranger stations, buildings, switchyards, recreation facilities, warehouses, and offices is strictly prohibited. This prohibition includes the storage or transporting of a personally owned firearm in controlled access parking areas or Government vehicles, heavy equipment, boats and vessels under the operational control of the District regardless of its location. Exceptions for Federal employees are only allowed for Federal law enforcement officers or where possession of a firearm is specifically authorized by law.

Fireworks, along with explosives, firearms and other weapons are prohibited on Government Property. Detailed information can be found in Title 36, The Rules and Regulations that Govern Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects, Section 327.13.


R.D. Bailey Lake 
PO Box 70 
Justice, WV 24851