Lake Barkley

Barkley Lock and Dam Project, Grand Rivers, Ky,The Nashville District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Lake Barkley, the westernmost project in a series of dams along the Cumberland River and its tributaries.

The lake provides a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for millions of visitors each year.  The lake covers 57,900 acres at summer pool, elevation 359 mean sea level, and is surrounded by 1,004 miles of shoreline.  Natural conditions at Lake Barkley make it possible for the public to participate in activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, and boating.  In addition, there is a Civil War Monument, historic relics, commercial marinas, public parks and wildlife refuges.  The many species of wildlife here, including golden and bald eagles, make bird watching and nature photography exciting pastimes.

Lake Barkley is located in an area that varies from gentle to moderately rolling hills, typical of scenic southwestern Kentucky and north central Tennessee.  It is a beautiful area interspersed with open fields, old growth timber and picturesque bluffs.  The lake, in its upper reaches, passes through the site of the famous Civil War battlefield now preserved as the Fort Donelson National Battlefield located in Dover, Tennessee. 

The project was first identified as the Lower Cumberland Project, but was later redesignated as Barkley Lock and Dam and Lake Barkley in honor of the late Alben W. Barkley, the 35th Vice President and United States Senator from Paducah, Kentucky.


Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
200 Barkley Dam Overlook Grand Rivers, Ky. 42045

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Camping & Group Picnic Shelters
Registration Center hours are:
Mon. & Thurs. 11 am to 5 pm
Tues. & Wed. CLOSED
Fri. & Sat. 10 am to 7 pm
Sun. 12 noon to 6 pm

*If the Registration Center is closed when you arrive please select a non-reserved site and return to register for your stay during the hours listed above.

Bumpus Mills Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season May 5 through September 5. Bumpus Mills campground and Day Use Area is located in Bumpus Mills, Tenn. The campground offers offers 15 sites with water and electric hook ups. 
Canal Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season March 31 through October 30.  The campground is located in Grand Rivers, Ky. Canal campground offers 110 campsites along Lake Barkley’s shoreline.  Available amenities include; 50-amp electricity, water, sewer sites, a playground, accessible restrooms/shower house, laundry facilities, a swim beach and a launching ramp with courtesy float. 
Eureka Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season April 28 through October 16. The campground is located in Kuttawa, Ky. Eureka campground offers 26 camping sites with water and electric hookups.
Hurricane Creek Campground will open for the 2023 recreation season April 28 through October 30. The campground is located in Eddyville, Ky. Hurricane Creek offers 51camp sites with water and electric hookups.  Additional amenities include restrooms, hot showers, dump station, swim beach, laundry facilities, playground and a launching ramp.

The Corps of Engineers manages several day use areas on Lake Barkley.  Some shelters may be reserved (for a fee) up to 365 days in advance.  Reservations may be made through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS).  When a shelter is not reserved, it is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Shelters are available for reservation from April 1 until October 31. To reserve a shelter, contact the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777.


Lake Barkley's aesthetic shoreline makes it an enjoyable lake for boating and skiing. One of eight commercial marinas situated at various locations on the lake, or one of the many Corps of Engineers Access areas, provide easy access and supplies for boaters. As the number of boaters visiting Lake Barkley have increased in recent years, the Corps of Engineers encourages visitors to wear life jackets, pay close attention at all times, abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages, and become familiar with the rules of the water and basic boating regulations. 

Lake Barkley maintains a commercial and secondary navigation buoy system to aid in the safety of commercial and recreation boating. Users unfamiliar with the lake should be aware of un-marked hazards and barge traffic while boating and skiing. Lake Barkley is located in Kentucky and Tennessee.  Kentucky Boating Regulations and Tennessee Boating Regulations apply when boating in either state.

Fishing & Hunting

Lake Barkley has over 57,000 surface acres of water available for public use, supporting diverse and abundant fish populations. Sportsman licenses for fishing are required in both Kentucky and Tennessee and should be purchased prior to fishing on Corps of Engineers waters. Special permits may be obtained in both States for trout fishing. Licenses may be purchased at County Clerk's offices, marinas and other commercial establishments in the area. For up-to-date fishing information, lake elevations, and generation schedules visit the Lake Barkley Facebook page. 

*Please note:  Water release schedules often change without notice due to unanticipated changes in weather conditions and power system requirements. Use caution near dams. A large amount of water may be discharged without warning at any time. Your safety depends on obeying all posted safety regulations and warnings. 

Hunting licenses are required in both Kentucky and Tennessee and should be purchased for the state in which you will be enjoying these outdoor activities.  Special permits are required in both states for hunting deer, wild turkey and waterfowl.  If you plan to hunt the Western Shoreline of Lake Barkley keep in mind that this is under the management of the USDA Forest Service.  The Forest Service requires a special Hunter Use Permit in order to hunt on the Land Between the Lakes.  Please check State laws for complete information.  Hunting licenses may be purchased over the counter at Bait Stores, Gas Stations, Marinas and Department Stores, which sell sporting goods. 

Special hunting regulations apply for the Bear Creek Wildlife Management Area in Tennessee.  If you are interested in hunting the Bear Creek Area you should contact the Ranger's Office at Dover TN, at (931) 232-7724 for detailed information. 

Lake Barkley Duck Blind Drawing Information In order to place a duck blind on Lake Barkley during waterfowl season a permit must be obtained through a drawing process. Lake Barkley holds its Annual Duck Blind Drawing on the third Monday of September each year.  The drawing is held at the shelter below Barkley Dam beginning promptly at 8 a.m. central time.  All State and Federal licenses and Waterfowl stamps are required and should be purchased prior to the drawing to participate. For more information, contact the Lake Barkley Resource Manager’s Office.

Pinned duck blind locations for Kuttawa and Eddyville in Lyon County, KY. Pinned duck blind locations for Eddyville in Lyon County, KY and Cadiz in Trigg County, KY. Pinned duck blind locations for northside of Cadiz in Trigg County, KY. Pinned duck blind locations for southside of Cadiz in Trigg County, KY.


Scuba & Swimming

Scuba diving is allowed at Lake Barkley. Divers must display a "Diver Down" flag in the area where they are diving. Boaters should be alert to the "Diver Down" flag and keep a safe distance away. 

The Corps of Engineers operates seven swim areas on Lake Barkley: Kuttawa Recreation Area has a sand beach and playground and there is a nominal Day Use Fee.  Linton and Rockcastle Recreation Areas are free to the public and have sandy beaches.  Canal, Eureka and Hurricane Creek campgrounds include sandy beaches for registered campers and their authorized visitors.  Pets are prohibited at all beaches.


Anderson Woodland Trail Located in the Old Kuttawa Recreation Area, the half-mile Anderson Woodland Trail is an enjoyable footpath for birding and viewing the great tall trees of the region.

Canal Overlook Trail Located in the Canal Overlook Recreation Area, the 1-mile short hiking trail allows campers to enjoy the outdoor scenery at their leisure.

Lake Barkley State Park Trail Located in the Lake Barkley State Park, the 3-mile-long trail offers a well-maintained path for visitors to take an easy stroll through the lakeside woods where wildflowers and deer can be seen.

Chestnut Oak Trail Located in the Eureka Campground and Day Use Area, the 2.5-mile-long trail offer hikers and bikers a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.


Proposed Surface Water Drainage Improvements to Barkley Dam Embankment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District (USACE), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), is evaluating the impacts of proposed construction actions at Lake Barkley Dam, Lyon County Kentucky. The construction items considered in this evaluation include: (1) site grading approximately 10 acres of land adjacent to the toe of Barkley Dam; (2) installation of six culverts; (3) construction of two drainage ditches; (4) deforestation of approximately 12.7 acres of mature pine stand.

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Nashville District announces new firewood policy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 6, 2017) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces a new firewood policy is now in effect, and seeks the public’s cooperation to prevent the spread of forest insects and disease at campgrounds in the Cumberland River Basin. 

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