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 2018 Recreation Season

Bailey's Point Campground 2018 Calendar

Tailwater Campground 2018 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.