Barren River Lake


Louisville District
Published Jan. 10, 2024

Welcome to Barren River Lake!

11088 Finney Road
Glasgow, KY 42141
(270) 646-2055
Office hours: M-F, 6:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Central) (may vary, call ahead)
Information Line: (270) 646-2122 (updated daily)





The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is committed to providing universal access so that the lake facilities and programs will be available to the widest possible range of visitors, including people with disabilities. Barren River Lake has the following accessible facilities: 

Location       Facility
Visitor Center
  Restroom, Shower House, Campsites, Picnic Shelter
The Narrows
  Restroom, Shower House, Playground, Campsites, Swimming Area
Bailey's Point
  Restroom, Shower House, Playground, Campsites, Picnic Shelter
Quarry Road
  Restroom, Picnic Shelter, Fishing Pier
  Restroom (marina only)
Beaver Creek
South Lucas Road
  Fishing Pier
Barren River State Park   Restroom, Shower House, Marina, Campsites, Picnic Shelters, Swimming Area
  Picnic Shelter
Port Oliver
  Restroom, Boardwalk, Picnic Shelter, Courtesy Docks, Weigh-In Shelter
















Driving Directions

From Louisville, Ky.:

Take I-65 South toward Nashville, take Ky. 101 Exit 38 toward U.S. 68/Scottsville/Smiths Grove, merge onto Ky. 101 via the ramp on the left toward Scottsville/U.S. 68, turn left onto Ky. 1533, turn left onto Ky. 252, end at 11088 Finney Road. Distance is approximately 114 miles.

From Murray, Ky.:

Take Ky. 94 East, turn right onto Ky. 80/U.S. 68 East, turn right onto U.S. 68/Cadiz Bypass East. Continue to follow U.S. 68/Cadiz Bypass, turn right onto Hopkinsville Road/Ky. 80 East/U.S. 68 East. Continue to follow Ky. 80 East/U.S. 68 East, merge onto I-24 East, take U.S. 79 North Exit 4 toward Guthrie, turn left onto U.S. 79 North/Wilma Rudolph Boulevard/Tenn-13 North. Continue to follow U.S. 79 North, turn right onto Ky. 80/U.S. 68/East Jefferson Davis Highway. Continue to follow Ky. 80/U.S. 68, stay straight to go onto Ky. 68 Bypass East, Ky. 68 Bypass East becomes Ky. 80 East/U.S. 68 East, take the William H. Natcher Parkway South ramp, merge onto Green River Parkway South (portions toll), merge onto I-65 North via Exit 1B on the left toward Louisville, take U.S. 68/Ky. 80 Exit 36 toward Oakland, turn right onto Ky. 80/U.S. 68. Turn right onto Ky. 101, turn left onto Ky. 1533, turn left onto Ky. 252, end at 11088 Finney Road. Distance is approximately 163 miles.

From Nashville, Tenn.:

Take I-65 North to U.S. 68/Ky. 80 East Exit 36 - toward Oakland, turn right onto Ky. 80/U.S. 68, turn right onto Ky. 101, turn left onto Ky. 1533, turn left onto Ky. 252, end at 11088 Finney Road. Distance is approximately 90 miles.

From Barbourville, Ky.:

Take U.S. 25 East North, merge onto I-75 North, take Ky. 80 West Exit 41 toward Somerset, turn left onto Ky. 80 East/Russell South Dyche Memorial Highway. Ky. 80 East becomes Russell South Dyche Memorial Highway/Ky. 80 Bypass West that becomes Louie B Nunn Cumberland Parkway West (portions toll) that becomes Ky. 90 Truck West/Ky. 90 Bypass West (portions toll). Take U.S. 31 East/Ky. 90-Bypass/Ky. 90 Truck Exit 11 toward Glasgow/Scottsville, turn left onto U.S. 31 East South, turn right onto Windy Hills Road/Ky. 252, stay straight to go onto Ky. 252, end at 11088 Finney Road. Distance is approximately 152 miles.

Friends and Volunteers


Volunteers provide a valuable service while gaining experience.  The US Army Corps of Engineers at Barren River Lake offers many types of volunteer opportunities.  Volunteers can participate in organized events, such as the annual Trashmaster’s Classic Lakeshore Cleanup, or they can sign up to do their own approved project.  Volunteers can do many types of things to help:  trail maintenance, campground hosting, assisting with interpretive programs, litter removal, park beautification, tree planting, and much more.  Individuals and groups are welcome.  If you are interested in volunteering at Barren River Lake, contact our office at (270) 646-2055.       

The Corps of Engineers Volunteer Clearinghouse website is an excellent resource for finding volunteer opportunities across the nation.  With almost 12 million acres of land and water, The Corps of Engineers relies on volunteers to help get the job done.  The Volunteer Clearinghouse helps connect potential volunteers with those Corps sites in need. 

Corps of Engineers Volunteer Clearinghouse

Friends of Barren River Lake

The Friends of Barren River Lake & Park is a non-profit group that also provides excellent volunteer opportunities.  Originally founded in 1987 as the Barren River Regional Water Safety Council, the organization’s mission has since been expanded to focus on supporting a broad range of goals in the Barren River Lake area.  This all volunteer organization partners with the US Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies to provide quality water safety programs, environmental education, and recreational opportunities.  Each year they sponsor the 4th of July fireworks, the Trashmaster’s Classic Lakeshore Cleanup, and the popular Poker Run on the Barren. 

For more information, please visit their website at


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 these Corps of Engineers Lands.

Much of the lake is bordered by private land, which requires 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.

No Hunting Areas
These areas are closed to all types of hunting: Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Corps of Engineer Recreation Areas, and the Girl Scout leased area on Cooks Creek. State and local restrictions may also apply.

Public Hunting Areas
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.

There is a free map available at the Corps Office that will help in locating areas for hunting. To become familiar with Barren River Lake, plan a scouting trip. Contact information for the Barren River Lake Project Office is on the menu bar to the right.

Remember, written permission is required to hunt on or to cross private property.

Commandments of Hunting Safety:

  • Treat every gun with the respect due a loaded gun. This is the cardinal rule of safety.
  • Guns carried into camp or home must always be unloaded, taken down or have actions open; guns always should be encased until reaching the shooting area.
  • Always be sure that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
  • Always carry guns to maintain control the muzzle's direction, in case of a trip or fall. Keep the safety on until ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of the target before pulling the trigger.
  • Never point a gun at anything that is not a target.
  • Unattended guns should be unloaded; guns and ammunition should be stored safely beyond reach of children and careless adults. Trigger guards should be locked and in place.
  • Never climb a tree or fence with a loaded gun.
  • Never shoot at a flat, hard surface or the surface of water.
  • Drinking alcohol and hunting do not mix.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Natural Resource Management

In addition to the many recreation areas managed and/or leased out by the Corps of Engineers at Barren River Lake, more than 7,000 acres of land is licensed to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for the management of public hunting areas. The Corps also offers wildlife viewing opportunities in the Quarry Road Recreation Area with a 14 acre native prairie field and wildlife viewing trail.

Watchable Wildlife Area

The Quarry Road Watchable Wildlife Area at Barren River Lake offers visitors the opportunity to experience animals in their natural habitat. The one-mile loop trail will lead you to a secluded viewing shelter nestled at the edge of an open viewing area frequented by white-tailed deer, eastern wild turkey, cotton-tailed rabbit and eastern bluebird. Stop by the Corps of Engineer office or visit the Quarry Road Fee Station for a free viewing guide to record your encounters with the wildlife of Barren River Lake. Quarry Road Recreation Area is located off of State Highway 252 at the dam in Barren County, adjacent to the Corps of Engineers office.

Native Prairie Field at Quarry Road Recreation Area

Barren County, Ky., is part of a larger area historically known in the pioneer days as “The Barrens,” an area the Native Americans utilized to attract large game. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Ky. Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at Barren River Lake have developed 14 acres of native warm season grasses in the Quarry Road Recreation Area to replicate the prairie fields that once dominated this area. Warm season grasses planted in this area include: big blue stem, little blue stem, switchgrass, Indian grass, and eastern gamma grass. The Quarry Road Recreation Area is located off of state highway 252 at the dam in Barren County.

Invasive Species

For information about Kentucky's exotic pest plants, you can visit the Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council online.



Boating opportunities abound at Barren River Lake. Boat ramps are conveniently located in each recreation area and there are also three four service marinas to satisfy needs. These marinas provide boat rental, slip rental, gasoline and grocery items.

There are eight boat ramps on the lake and one located below the dam on Barren River. The Corps of Engineers charges a day use fee to launch boats, except for Austin, Browns Ford, Walnut Creek, Tailwater, and the State Park boat ramps. Fees are $5 per day and can be paid at the self-service fee box at the boat ramp or purchase an annual day use pass for $40 per year at any Corps of Engineers Office.

Depending upon the discharge rate, below the dam, there are excellent opportunities for canoeing and fishing on Barren River. A boat ramp is located in the campground at Tailwater Recreation Area, just below the dam, off State Highway 252. Call the Barren River Lake Information Line, (270) 646-2122, which is updated daily at 7 a.m. Central, for discharge rates and river levels.


Class A Corps of Engineers Campgrounds includes Baileys Point, The Narrows and Tailwater. To make reservations for these three campgrounds, see below. The Narrows and Baileys Point are located on the main body of the lake, with Tailwater located just below the dam, on Barren River.

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. 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.


Fishing opportunities abound at Barren River Lake. Hybrid bass (stocked regularly by State of Kentucky), striped bass, largemouth bass, all types of catfish, crappie, brim and many others are harvested. Boat ramps are conveniently located at all recreation areas and include Peninsula, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, The Narrows, Beaver Creek, Baileys Point, Walnut Creek, Austin and Browns Ford.

Fishing Piers

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 around the lake and a boardwalk at Port Oliver 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. From U.S. 31 East take State Highway 1318 west and turn left at the stop sign onto South Lucas Road. Port Oliver has 2,400 feet of ADA accessible boardwalk with numerous locations from which to fish and dock one's boat, as well as nine lakeside picnic sites.

River Fishing

River fishing, below the dam, offers the opportunity to catch muskie, catfish and also hybrid and striped bass. A boat ramp is located in the Tailwater Campground.

Fishing Tournaments

All tournaments taking place at a Corps of Engineer operated ramp at Barren River Lake require the issuance of a special event permit.  You may obtain a permit by contacting the project office at 270-646-2055.  Also, click the link below while planning for, or registering a fishing tournament. This voluntary registration will help organizers and participants choose a part of the lake that may be less congested.

KY Fish & Wildlife Fishing Tournament Schedule

Picnic Shelters

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.

Picnic Shelter Reservations

You can reserve the picnic shelters, by calling the Barren River Lake Project Office at 270-646-2055.

The fee for the picnic shelter is $50. Make reservations as far ahead as possible.

Port Oliver Amphitheater

Port Oliver Amphitheater is available for rent for special events, such as weddings, concerts, reunioins, etc.  The rental fee for the amphitheater is $100.  You can make your reservation up to a year in advance.  The Port Oliver Picnic Shelter is available for rent only in conjunction with the amphitheater for a total fee of $150 per day. 

You may reserve these facilities by calling the Barren River Lake Project Office at 270-646-2055.


There is no lifeguard service at Corps beaches -- swim at one's own risk. Always use the "Buddy System" -- don't swim alone.

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.

Corps Beaches

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. Quarry Road beach has a gate attendant that collects fees Memorial Day through Labor Day. The day-use fee is $2 per person, with a maximum of $5 per carload.

Depth markers and deep water buoy lines are provided. However, remember Corps beaches do not have lifeguards and swimmers swim at their own risk.

Upcoming Events

2024 recreation events coming soon