U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Kentucky and Tennessee

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Forest Information

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL) is located in southwest Kentucky and northwest Tennessee. It is comprised of 170,000 acres and has 16 developed campgrounds all of which meet the selection criteria.

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is a newly designated Forest Service holding. The 170,000 acres of beauty, history, and adventure was part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) efforts until October 1999. The Forest Service now has responsibility for managing the land and recreation opportunities. Sandwiched between two magnificent bodies of water, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, the LBL is a place of beauty, and widely varied recreation opportunities, a good location for a family camping vacation. Whether looking for a camp site with full-hook-ups or nothing more than a level, cleared area with the whispers of wind through old-growth oak or something in between, you'll find it at LBL. While the campgrounds with water play recreation and hook-ups, such as Piney and Hillman Ferry, fill up most weekends, the smaller, less well-known campgrounds with their superior fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities, are just as popular.

Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area is dedicated for OHVs. There are 2,500 acres of varied topography requiring various skill levels for hours, days, maybe weeks of OHV fun. While there are no formally designated campgrounds in the Turkey Bay OHV area, campsites, chemical toilets, good drinking water and unloading ramps are found throughout. Kentucky State vehicle laws are observed and enforced.

A couple of unique features of LBL are cabins and long term camp site rentals (over 21 days) at Wranglers, Piney and Hillman Ferry campgrounds. The cabins are spartan with maybe cots and electric power and no indoor plumbing, requiring hearty visitors to bring their own equipment and linens. These cabins and camp sites (long term) are awarded via an open-to-the-public lottery system. Contact LBL for details.

The personality of the Forest Service shines through at Land Between the Lakes. From the Forest's Supervisor (a confirmed bird-lover) to the Internists' interest in providing wide and interesting recreational opportunities for the whole family, LBL reflects those who manage it. A stop at either the North or South Welcome Center or Golden Pond Visitor Center illustrates this point. Pick up a copy of the LBL's calendar for a comprehensive listing of the many activities awaiting visitors. Strongly recommended activities focus on the night sky viewing at the Golden Pond Planetarium, a tour of the Elk and Bison Prairie, and one of the many scheduled special programs or demonstrations.

The Land Between the Lakes is surrounded by Kentucky and Tennessee state parks. Although there might be little reason to visit one of these state parks, they do offer recreational opportunities, such as golf and music festivals, not available at the LBL. For more information, contact Kentucky Lake State Resort State Park (1-800-325-0143), Kentucky Dam Village State Park (1- 800-325-0146), Lake Barkley State Resort Park (1-800-325-1708) or Paris Landing State Park (1-800-250-8614).

Surrounded by water and covered with a healthy woodland, camping in the LBL is delightful. Campgrounds, like Boswell Landing and Nickell Branch, provide car and tent camping enthusiasts solitude at a bargain price. Such campgrounds also offer direct lake access plus good fishing and wildlife viewing. Hillman Ferry and Piney are huge, full-service campgrounds, perfect for motorhome and recreational vehicle (RV) camping enthusiasts with a long list of amenities, including full-hook-ups and a camp store. In between are campgrounds like Birmingham Ferry. Not as plush as Hillman Ferry or Piney, these "in between" campgrounds feature fewer crowds and delightful scenery.

Perhaps in a category by itself is Wranglers campground. Designed and maintained as a horse camp, all campers are welcomed. With full-hook-up sites through no hook-ups at all, hot showers for campers, cold showers for stock, and a 100-mile network of horse and wagon trails, this little campground is really special. If you don't camp there, take time to visit and maybe enjoy a trail ride with the resident riding stable folks or meeting a hard-working, long ear mule or prancing saddle horse.

Superior fishing, outstanding boating, magnificent scenery, a wide variety of interesting activities, limitless camping opportunities, and more!! The Land Between the Lakes may not be well-known among National Forest enthusiasts yet, but soon will be. Don't wait! Come and enoy this wonderful "new" forest and all it offers.

SUPERVISOR OFFICE 100 Van Morgan Dr. Golden Pond, KY 42211-9001 270-924-2000 There are no Ranger District Offices.

Fred and Suzi Dow