Buckhorn Lake


Louisville District
Published Jan. 10, 2024

Welcome to Buckhorn Lake!

804 Buckhorn Dam Road
Buckhorn, KY 41721-8808
Office hours: M-F, 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (may vary, call ahead)


Buckhorn Lake offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. The lake is located in the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau, which is part of the scenic beauty of the Appalachia Mountain Range. Visitors may enjoy everything from day trips to group gatherings at their choice of four day-use recreation areas managed by the Corps of Engineers at Buckhorn Lake, or they may choose multi-week vacation getaways by taking advantage of the variety of camping opportunities available at each of the three campgrounds managed by the Corps at Buckhorn Lake. Other recreational opportunities at Buckhorn Lake include fishing, boating, swimming and water skiing. Visitors may also enjoy game hunting in the Buckhorn Lake Wildlife Management Area or Daniel Boone National Forest; walking numerous undeveloped trails; or simply enjoying a peaceful weekend retreat at the Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.

With so many fun things to see and do at Buckhorn Lake, don’t forget to visit one of the many nearby historical, cultural and natural sites such as the Buckhorn Log Church, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Red River Gorge Geologic Area, Carr Creek Lake and Carr Creek State Park and the Daniel Boone National Forest. Witness the beauty of the change of the seasons first hand each year from mid to late October. Also, be sure to visit one of many nearby fall festivals held annually in the communities surrounding Buckhorn Lake.

Buckhorn Lake has several picnic shelters at various recreation locations around the lake. The shelters may be reserved for family reunions, birthdays, weddings and other special group events.

A large shelter and a small shelter are available in the Buckhorn Tailwater Recreation Area. They may be reserved locally with the park attendant on duty or by visiting the Corps of Engineers office. You may also phone the Corps of Engineers at (606) 398-7251. The large shelter provides water and electric for a fee of $60. The small shelter does not provide water and electric and is reservable for a fee of $30.

Leatherwood Recreation Area has a small shelter which does not provide water and electric and is reservable through the Corps of Engineers office at (606) 398-7251 for a fee of $30.

Trace Branch Recreation Area has a large shelter with water and electric which may be reserved for a fee of $60. Reservations can be made with the Trace Branch Campground park attendants or at the Corps of Engineers office at (606) 398-7251.

Confluence Recreation Area has a small shelter with water and electric which may be reserved with the Trace Branch Campground park attendants or at the Corps of Engineers office at (606) 398-7251 for $30.

All shelters have grills and picnic tables.

Note: Golden Age and Golden Access Passport discounts for shelter reservations only apply when all users of the registered group possess the Passport.
Golden Age and Golden Access Passports are no longer issued at any Corps of Engineers project, but these are still accepted at all Corps of Engineers locations.
We can now issue America the Beautiful Passes at the Corps of Engineers office at Buckhorn Lake. Please call (606) 398-7251 for more information.

Visitors can also enjoy walking the Pine Shadows Trail. The trail covers approximately a .5-mile of pine-shaded wildlife and natural vegetation. The trail is moderate in difficulty and the first half of the looping trail is uphill. Visitors should be aware of the threat of poison ivy and animals native to any wooded area. Parking is available in the Tailwater Recreation Area.

Those wishing to stretch the legs a bit farther may enjoy walking the Stillhouse Branch Nature Trail. This newly constructed trail will cover approximately 2.5 miles when completed and runs along the Stillhouse Branch State Nature Preserve area that is adjacent to the Dam and Tailwater Recreation Area. Trailheads are located near the Dam Site Boat Ramp lower parking lot and near the main entrance gate. The trail is moderate in difficulty and runs mostly along hilly terrain with open rock outcrop formations. The views of the Lake as visitors walk along the ridge and the uniqueness of the surrounding old-growth forest offers plenty to satisfy any day-hike experience. Visitors should be aware of the threat of poison ivy and animals native to any wooded/rocky terrain area. Parking is available near the Dam Site Boat Ramp.

Hikers can explore the natural beauty and resources of Buckhorn Lake State Resort with a stroll along a 1.5 mile, self-guiding, easy walking trail.

The opportunities for mountain day-hiking are limitless.

Visitors should be aware that all camping at Buckhorn Lake is only allowed in designated camping areas

Buckhorn Lake has many unique camping opportunities to offer outdoor enthusiasts throughout the spring, summer, and fall recreation seasons. Enjoy RV camping with amenities such as city water, electricity and wi-fi, or the peaceful tranquility of shoreline tent camping. Buckhorn Lake has it all. Reservations are available through the website or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

The Buckhorn Campground offers visitors a choice between 31 developed campsites and 18 overflow and primitive campsites. This fee campground is near the Buckhorn Dam and is situated parallel to the Buckhorn Lake Tailwater Recreation Area and the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River. Amenities include free wifi, vending machines, modern restrooms, laundry facility, picnic shelters, playground and basketball court.

Trace Branch Campground is located within the Trace Branch Recreation Area on the shoreline of Buckhorn Lake. This fee campground offers visitors developed shoreline camping with water and electrical hook-ups available on 28 sites. The proximity of the large day-use recreation area accompanied by the Buckhorn Lake shoreline is sure to make this campground a family favorite. Amenities include modern restrooms, picnic shelters and basketball court.

The Boat-In Camping area contains 15 shoreline campsites in more of a wilderness setting. The fee camping area is located near the Buckhorn Lake Emergency Spillway Gates and is within rowing distance of the Buckhorn Dam and boat ramp area. This primitive tent campground offers visitors seclusion but with access to basic necessities. Sites cannot be reserved in advance and campers may contact the Buckhorn Campground office at (606) 398-7220 for payment and site availability information. Facilities at the Boat-In Camping area include port-a-john toilets, a trash disposal station, potable drinking water, and security lighting. Campsites are complete with picnic table, fire ring, lantern post and tent pad. A path of Class-I sand directs visitors to each campsite.  Our newest additions include a playground and a 6-slip courtesy docking system.

Also, camping can be found at the newly constructed Eagle's Landing Campground, which is operated by Perry County Tourism. This campground is located at Gays Creek, Kentucky. The Kentucky State Resort Park at Buckhorn Lake, operated by the State Departement of Parks, does not offer camping facilities at this time.

Buckhorn Lake offers over 1,230 acres of water at summer pool for anglers. There are many different species of fish to be caught at Buckhorn Lake, such as muskie, crappie, catfish, white bass and bluegill. From April through November, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks the stilling basin, just below the dam, with trout. Our Daily Lake Information Line, which includes daily recorded fishing reports, lake elevations and upcoming events and other messages, can be reached by calling (606) 398-7157 or by using this link: Lake Temperatures during warm months.

Hunting is permitted in the Buckhorn Lake Wildlife Management Area as well as outside recreation and operations areas on the project. There is a large supply of rabbit, squirrel, turkey and deer to be hunted on the project. Non-commercial trapping, archery and black powder hunting are gaining popularity at the lake. Contact the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife for seasons, regulations and license requirements.

Note: Hunting, fishing, trapping and boating are regulated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) . The KDFWR is headquartered in Frankfort, Ky. Their telephone number is (502) 564-4762 or dial toll free at 1-800-858-1549.

2024 event calendar coming soon!