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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)

Lake Levels 

Lake Temperatures

NEWS RELEASE - USACE to issue America the Beautiful Passes in 2016

For additional information about Barren River Lake, please see information below:


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Barren River Lake is situated in the rural, rolling hills of Allen, Barren and Monroe counties in South Central Kentucky.  The dam is located 12 miles east of Scottsville, KY and 15 miles southwest of Glasgow, KY on State Highway 252.
Barren River Lake was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1938.  Construction began on the dam in March 1960 and the lake became operational in October 1964.  Barren River Lake covers 20,150 acres at maximum flood control pool and 10,000 acres at normal summer pool. The drainage area above the dam is 940 square miles, and since its completion has prevented more than 3 times its original construction cost in flood damages.

A native grass prairie restoration project, near the dam, is representative of what "The Barrens" looked like to early pioneers.

Anglers, boaters and campers are only the most recent people to enjoy the beauty and natural resources of the Barren River Region. As early as 12,000 B.C., Native Americans fished, boated, and lived along the river's floodplain and terraces, and on the bluffs overlooking it. These people lived in small groups that moved often. Around 1,000 B.C. they moved more into farming and built more permanent settlements. By A.D. 900 farming was a way of life and archeologists refer to these farmers as the Mississippians.

Native Americans periodically burned off parts of this region, to provide grasslands that were attractive to grazing buffalo. Thus, this area without trees, appeared to be "barren." This area then came to be known as "The Barrens" to early pioneers that came to this area in the 1700s to settle and live.

The counties of Barren, Allen and Monroe were formerly part of Green and Warren counties and were established around 1797. Originally the entire territory had been set aside for military service grants for veterans of the Revolutionary War.

Port Oliver, near the dam, was formerly called Port Oliver Ford, and was the site of a brine-well field for producing table salt. Baileys Point Recreation Area was the site of an antebellum farmhouse, built by early settlers to the area, named Foster. A family cemetery remains with gravestones and stone vaults that date back to the early 1800s.


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



 Adjacent Landowner Information  

Fee Boundary

Barren River Lake has approximately 140 miles of fee boundary line (often referred to as the “red line”) surrounding 10,106 acres of government land. The government property line is marked by a series of survey points (t-bars or concrete/brass markers) that are further marked by steel locator posts. The government property line is a straight line between these survey points. Trees between these points are marked with white/red boundary marker signs. The boundary line does not always follow a specific elevation. It’s possible that recorded plats of private property do not agree with the true boundary line at Barren River Lake. To prevent encroachments, we recommend that adjacent property buyers contract the services of a licensed surveyor prior to purchase, and that current owners contract the services of a licensed surveyor prior to any construction. Any discrepancies must be resolved prior to any construction activities on any land in question. Any encroachments onto lands owned in fee by the United States are subject to collateral citations, which can result in a fine not to exceed $5,000 and/or up to six months in jail (Title 36 - Regulation Governing Use of Federal Property), and the responsible party will be required to remove the encroaching structure. Questions and requests for assistance should be made to the project office.

Flowage Easement

In addition to fee property, the Corps of Engineers has also purchased flowage easements on 4,561 acres around Barren River Lake using the ground elevation of 596 as an acquisition guide. These easements were purchased for the temporary storage of flood water during periods of high rainfall. Because of the potential for flooding, allowable improvements to property with flowage easement restrictions are limited. Vegetation alteration (mowing, agriculture, timber harvesting, etc.) is allowed under the flowage easement restrictions. Structures not intended for human habitation are allowed only after written permission in the form of a Consent to Easement has been obtained from the Corps of Engineers. Septic systems and structures intended for human habitation are prohibited on land encumbered with a flowage easement.

The boundary line of flowage easement property (often referred to as the “yellow line”) is not marked by the goverment. Legal descriptions of acquired flowage easements are contained in the Government’s acquisition documents recorded in the County Clerk’s Office, and should appear as an encumbrance against the property during a title search. Some information on the boundary of flowage easement property is available at the Barren River Lake project office. To locate the boundary line on any affected property, however, the Corps of Engineers recommends that landowners obtain the services of a licensed surveyor. Encroachments on land encumbered by a flowage easement are violations of legal restrictions on the property and are subject to litigation. They also constitute a title defect which may affect the future sale of the landowner’s property, and the Government cannot assist landowners in the resolution of title defects. Before doing any type of construction or landscaping near the yellow line, contact the project office and speak with a Park Ranger.

For questions about the fee or flowage easement boundary line at Barren River Lake, contact the Barren River Lake project office. An appointment with a Corps Ranger can be scheduled to assist with answering any questions.

Licenses and Permits

Landowners in subdivisions adjacent to Barren River Lake may be eligible to apply for a license or permit to conduct certain activities on government property, including placement of a boat dock, construction of stairs or steps, construction of a pathway (improved or unimproved), vegetation alteration (mowing), construction of roads, turnarounds, parking areas, boat ramps, and installation of fish attractors. Once placed on government property, these improvements are considered public facilities and adjacent landowners cannot restrict the public’s use of the facilities. Restrictions apply as to where on the lake these activities may take place. For additional information, call the Barren River Lake project office. Additional information is also available on the district Shoreline Management  web page.

 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

or find them on Facebook at!/Fobrlp


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

Barren River Lake WMA Map

 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.

Kentucky's Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants



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.

Loop closures for 2022 Recreation Season

Bailey's Point Campground 2022 Calendar

Tailwater Campground 2022 Calendar



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 lifguards and swimmers swim at their own risk.

 Upcoming Events

2022 Recreation Season

The events for the year are as follows:


Barren County Ecology Meet, TBD, Fall 2022

The Barren County Ecology Meet provides the sixth grade students from Glasgow and Barren County with hands-on knowledge about our environment and how we can protect it for future generations. The stations are provided by federal, state, and private organizations dedicated to the protection of our land, air and water.


Allen County Ecology Meet, TBD, Spring 2022

The Allen County Ecology Meet provides the sixth grade students from Allen County and Scottsville, Kentucky with hands-on knowledge about our environment and how we can protect it for future generations. The stations are provided by federal, state, and private organizations dedicated to the protection of our land, air and water.


National Safe Boating Week, May 21-27, 2022

The Corps of Engineers would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer. Those who own boats should have a boater’s check list to use as a guide to ensure a safe trip when using their boats this summer. With increasing amounts of boat traffic on the water, people should be aware of the current laws affecting boat operation on Kentucky waters. The crrent Kentucky Sport Fishing and Boating Guide contains information that all boaters should know, required equipment, age restrictions, proper operation procedures and more. Swimmers should be aware of boaters on the water and hazards in the lake and swim where they know it is safe, at a swimming beach. Public beaches are located at the State Park, Quarry Road, and Beaver Creek. Certain areas on the lake that look appealing to swim are actually hazardous to the user for what lies beneath the surface of the water.


Glasgow Highland Games

An annual Scottish Games and Festival based in Glasgow Kentucky. Games are held the first weekend after Memorial Day at Barren Lake River State Park in Lucas, Kentucky.


Scout Celebration, August 2022

Greetings to all Scouts! Scout Celebration began as a way to thank the Scouts for all their dedicated volunteer service to our lake. This event has grown into one of the largest outdoor Scouting weekends that include both the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts USA! The celebration provides activities for all ages, competitions, exhibits, and live entertainment. The Scout Celebration at Barren River Lake is a unique opportunity for the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts USA to demonstrate to the public what Scouting is all about.


Lakeshore Cleanup, September 17, 2022

Your concern for the lake’s environment has made this event successful for decades. The Trashmaster’s Classic has been recognized as one of the best cleanup efforts in South Central Kentucky and has been recognized nationally by Take Pride in America, Keep America Beautiful, and Take care of America! As one of the largest volunteer efforts, people have unselfishly given their time to keep Barren River Lake a clean and enjoyable place for everyone. Participants can show up at various designated locations around the lake, and help keep Barren River Lake Beautiful. After the cleanup, all participants will be treated to free food and music.  Prizes and awards will be given away for the largest represented organization, most unusual trash, oldest, youngest, and the volunteer who came the farthest. Other raffle prizes will be given away this year by posting the winning numbers on a board located within the afternoon festivities area.  On behalf of the Corps of Engineers, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, and the Friends of Barren River Lake & Park we owe our deep gratitude to all those who help make Barren River Lake, YOUR LAKE, a better place for all!


Bailey's Point Boo Bash, October Oct 8-9 & 15-16, 2022

Each year all kinds of ghosts, goblins, and jack-o-lanterns can be seen at campsites around Bailey's Point Campground during our annual Boo Bash. There are a variety of activities taking place over the course of the weekend, such as, trick-or-treating, campsite decorating contests, pumpkin carving contests, and more. Reserve your campsite early, they fill up fast!

 Jr. Ranger Program

Barren River Lake's Junior Park Ranger Program is open to children of all ages. Parents may need to assist younger children.

Step 1: Print out and complete the Junior Park Ranger Knowledge Packet.

Step 2: Send completed packet to the location specified within.

Most of the answers can be found on this website, but you'll have to think about some! Have fun and good luck on your way to becoming a Junior Park Ranger.


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