Nolin River Lake


2150 Nolin Dam Road
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

(270) 286-4511                                           


Office Hours:  M-Th, 6:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Friday 6:30 - 3 p.m.  (Central Time)  (may vary, please call ahead)

Lake Levels  

Lake Temperatures

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Nolin River Dam is located about 8 miles above the Confluence of the Nolin and Green Rivers near the community of Bee Spring.  While the dam is located in Edmonson County, the lake also covers portions of Grayson and Hart Counties.  The dam is about 8 miles north of Brownsville, 20 miles from Leitchfield, and 95 miles southwest of Louisville.

The dam was constructed to control flooding on the Nolin and Green Rivers, as part of an overall "Comprehensive Flood Control Plan for the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers".  In 1931, a thorough survey of the area was completed and 7 possible locations for the dam were identified.  The one selected offered the most control of flood waters and was the only one which appeared to offer any possibility of commercially feasible power development.  However, the 1931 conclusion was that construction of this flood control reservoir was not justified at the time.  Following the Ohio River flooding in 1937, construction of an additional 45 reservoirs was recommended, including the Nolin River Reservoir.  Construction was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed, built, and operates the project to reduce flooding downstream from the dam.

Construction of the operating tower and outlet works began in January 1959 and was completed in July 1961.  Construction of the dam and spillway was begun in June 1961 and completed in May 1963.  The reservoir was placed in complete operation on March 4th, 1963 and minimum pool (480) was reached on March 7th (minimum/winter pool was 12' lower back then--it's 492' now.)  Summer pool was not reached in 1963 due to insufficient runoff.

Total construction cost was $14.5 Million, but the dam has saved over $115 Million in flood damages through 2014. In addition, economic benefits from the lake are between $35 and $45 Million each year.  Visitation averages about 2 million people each year.

In addition to flood control and recreational benefits, the lake also supplies drinking water to the surrounding area, as well as providing fish and wildlife habitat.


The Nolin River is named for the early American explorer and Kentucky militia member, Benjamin Lynn. Serving under George Rogers Clark during the Revolutionary War, Lynn traveled to Illinois to spy on the British and Indian forces, and also played a pivotal role in the Northwest Campaign on 1778-79. Following his return to Kentucky, Lynn and several friends were camped in the Green River Area. Lynn became separated from his friends and could not be found for several days. Each night, they returned from the search reporting “No Lynn.” The river at which they camped became known as the Nolin.

Many of the early settlers in the area around the Nolin River came from Nordic regions which is reflected in community names such as Stockholm and Sweeden. Others came from France, showing influence through community names like Moutardier and Chalybeate. Rich in culture, the local area mirrors history and tradition in small businesses around the lake.

 Virtual Tour

See what Nolin River Lake has to offer.  To take a virtual tour click here...

 Nolin Lake Historical Photos
 Our Favorite Places

For more information about our lake, please visit:









Nolin has five U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operated boat ramps.  The Arnold Van Meter aka Site One, located at the dam; Moutardier; and Wax boat ramps are open year-round.  The Iberia and Dog Creek boat ramps are open from April 1 until October 31.  In case of extreme variations in the level of the lake, the ramps are subject to closure.

There is a $5 boat launching fee at all Corps operated ramps, payable by credit card.  A temporary $40 Annual pass can also be purchased at the ramp and you will receive a temporary receipt that must be exchanged for a hang tag.

Other ways to purchase:

  1. Over the phone with a credit card.
  2. A check can be mailed to our Office.
  3. In person, at the Nolin Lake office, during regular business hours. (We do recommend calling ahead.)

America the Beautiful passes can be purchased at or in person at the Nolin Lake Office (Please call ahead.)

*Nolin Lake State Park also operates a boat ramp.  There is no fee charged at state operated boat ramps.

USACE Nolin River Lake
2150 Nolin Dam Road
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

Phone: (270) 286-451



In the gentle slopes of South Central Kentucky, the campgrounds on Nolin River Lake have great appeal to the naturalist or those who just want to get away from it all.    The three Corps of Engineers operated campgrounds are Dog Creek, Moutardier, and Wax.


Reservations for all Corps operated sites are handled through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at their website or by calling them toll free at 1-877-444-6777.  You can make reservations for single campsites 6 months in advance of the arrival date.


DOG CREEK CAMPGROUND, located in Hart County, offers 70 campsites, 50 with electric and water hookup.  Two sites have been adapted for disabled persons.  The entire campground has easy access to the shoreline.  There is a swimming area located within the campground available to registered campers only and a boat launching ramp and playground adjacent to the campground.  Other amenities include showers, a dump station, group picnic shelter, pit restrooms, and watchable wildlife area.  This campground is open from early May through late September with attendants on duty.  The camping fees range from $15.00 - $25.00 per night.  The campground telephone number is 270-524-5454.  For more information and to make online reservations at the Dog Creek Campground, please use the following link:


MOUTARDIER CAMPGROUND, located in Edmonson County, offers 167 sites, 81 with electric and water hookup.  Two sites have been adapted for disabled persons.  Most of the areas in the campground are rolling hillsides with gentle access to the shoreline.   Some shoreline areas are steep with riprap erosion protection.  There is a boat ramp, playground, and group picnic shelter adjacent to the campground.  Other amenities include showers, a dump station, flush facilities, playgrounds within the campground, public marina, and hiking trails.  This campground is open from mid-April through late October with attendants on duty.  The camping fees range from $15.00 - $25.00 per night.  The campground telephone number is 270-286-4230.  For more information and to make online reservations at the Moutardier Campground, please use the following link:


WAX CAMPGROUND, located in Grayson County, offers 110 sites, 86 with electric and water hookup.  Two sites have been adapted for disabled persons.  The campground had gentle slopes, with a sloping incline access to the shoreline.  There is a boat ramp, group picnic shelter, and playground adjacent to the campground.  Other amenities include showers, a dump station, flush facilities, playground within the campground, and public marina.  This campground is open from early May through late September with attendants on duty.  The camping fees range from $15.00 - $25.00 per night.  The campground telephone number is 270-242-7578.  For more information and to make online reservations at the Wax Campground, please use the following link:




1. Camping is permitted at designated camping areas with not more than six (6) people or the members of one family unit at any one site.  A family unit is considered to be parent(s) and unmarried children living in the same household.  All vehicles must be registered at the tollhouse.  Vehicles and personal property are to be placed only on the site(s) rented by you, not on adjoining sites.  Loaded boat trailers may be parked at nearby parking areas.

2. Campers must register at the campground entrance station as soon as possible after arrival.

3. Campers will display the user permit on the site identification post and return it to the tollhouse when departing.  Checkout time is 4:30 p.m. on the day the permit expires.

4. All visitors will check in at the tollhouse and will be charged a visitor’s fee.  Visitors must leave by  9:30 p.m.

5. Gear, equipment, trash, and debris shall be completely removed from the area upon departure.

6. Quiet hours are 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.  The operation or use of any noise-producing devices that unreasonably annoy others at any time is prohibited.  The use of properly muffled generators is permitted between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.  Individuals who are boisterous, rowdy, disorderly, or otherwise disturb the peace at any time may be requested to leave the campground and forfeit all camping fees paid.

7. Vehicles, tents, trailers, or other equipment will not be placed on grass at sites with a defined border.  Vehicles must be parked within the railroad timbers or ties surrounding each campsite and not on or over the ties.  Empty boat trailers may be placed on the grass. 

8. Fires may be built only in fireplaces or grills.  A responsible person must attend to all fires.  Hang lanterns on metal holders provided at campsites.  No burning of treated lumber or wood containing metal is allowed.

9. Any loaded projectile fire device, ammunition, and explosives of any kind are prohibited in the area except when in the possession of a Government employee or law enforcement officer on official duty.  The possession or use of fireworks is prohibited.

10. Pets shall be kept on a leash not over 6 feet long or under physical control at all times.  Pets shall not be left unattended.

11. The destruction, injury, defacement, removal, or alternation of Government property, vegetation, rocks, or minerals is prohibited.

12. Motor driven vehicles, including mopeds, must conform to state licensing laws and their use will be confined to developed roadways by a licensed operator (16 years or older).  Constant circling or “joy riding” is not permitted.  The speed limit in the campground is 15 M.P.H. and all directional arrows must be observed.  Motorized or battery-operated toys are not allowed on roadways or sidewalks.

13. No bicycles, skateboards, mopeds, or similar equipment are allowed on the sidewalks or steps around showerhouse facilities or other walkways.  No bicycles, skateboards, or other similar equipment may be operated after dark.





Central garbage bins will be used for campsite garbage disposal at Dog Creek, Moutardier, and Wax Campgrounds at Nolin River Lake. The following regulations apply:


  1. Each campsite must be maintained in a clean, un-littered condition.  All garbage must be kept in bags and transported to the collection bin when checking out.  DO NOT LEAVE BAGS ON THE SITE.


  2. A separate portion of the collection bin is provided for recycling.  Campers are encouraged to separate aluminum cans and use this portion.


  3. Each campsite is the responsibility of the individual registered at the tollhouse.


  4. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in a federal citation.















Nolin fishing includes Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, Crappie, Trout, and Walleye.

Special Fishing Regulations apply to Nolin River Lake.  Click here for those Regs.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks the Tailwater at Nolin.  Click on the link for the schedule.

 Picnicking and Shelter Rental

Warm weather, sunny skies and a nice breeze blowing - what better weather for a picnic. So, if looking to get out to Nolin River Lake for either a small outing or hoping to find the perfect spot for a family reunion, look no further.

Four group picnic shelters are available for day-use*. Shelters are equipped with lighting and electrical outlets, charcoal grills, water fountains and trash cans. Restrooms facilities are located in each area. Reservations can be made through the recreation. gov web page or by calling (877) 444-6777.

The shelters available and the use fees are as follows:

Dog Creek     $50.00
Moutardier   $50.00
Wax                $50.00
Tailwater       $65.00

*Organized sporting events, weddings, fund-raisers and activities with special requirements require a special event permit. Contact the park manager (270) 286-4511 30 days prior to the scheduled event to obtain a permit.

In addition to the shelters listed above, there are several individual picnic sites located at Tailwater, Wax, and Moutardier recreation areas that are available free of charge, on a first-come, first served basis. 


The Iberia recreation area provides a public access beach and includes a small shelter for shading.  Swimming in Nolin Lake is permitted except as indicated by posted signs.


The Nolin Lake State Park offers a dynamic biking trail, featuring the Waterfall Loop (1.9 miles) and the Omega Loop (2.2 miles).  KYMBA (Kentucky Mountain Biking Association, Kentucky State Parks and the USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers) partnered to design and construct the Brier Creek Trail System.  Work was completed in 2014 to expand the trail to 9.5 miles, including the Campground Connector, a ½ mile “Beginner” trail.  For more information visit the KYMBA site:  For park information, please visit the Nolin Lake State Park webpage:


*Campground Host
*Event Participation
*Trail Construction and Restoration
*Vegetation Identification and Cataloging

If you would like an opportunity to volunteer at Nolin River Lake, please contact volunteer coordinator Jon Fillingham by phone at 270-286-4511 or by e-mail at

Friends of Nolin Lake

KYMBA (Kentucky Mountain Biking Association)

 2023 Schedule of Events
Jan. 2, 2023 (Monday) New Year's Day (observed) OFFICE CLOSED
Jan. 16, 2023 (Monday Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. OFFICE CLOSED
Feb. 20, 2023 (Monday) Washington's Birthday OFFICE CLOSED
March 15, 2023 (Wednesday) Begin lake fill for summer pool  
April 1, 2023 (Wednesday) Dog Creek and Iberia boat ramps open  
May 5, 2023 (Friday) Dog Creek and Moutardier campgrounds open  
May 19, 2023 (Friday) Wax campground opens  
May 29, 2023 (Monday) Memorial Day OFFICE CLOSED
June 3 - 4, 2023 (Saturday & Sunday) Free fishing weekend  
June 19, 2023 (Monday) Juneteenth National Independence Day OFFICE CLOSED
July 4, 2023 (Tuesday) Independence Day OFFICE CLOSED
Sept. 4, 2023 (Monday) Wax campground closes  
Sept. 4, 2023 (Monday) Labor Day OFFICE CLOSED
Sept. 16, 2023 (Saturday) Lake clean-up day  
Oct. 9, 2023 (Monday) Columbus Day OFFICE CLOSED
Oct. 15, 2023 (Sunday) Begin drawdown to winter pool Dec. 1, 2023 target date
Oct. 15, 2023 (Sunday) Dog Creek and Moutardier campgrounds close  
October (date to be determined) Dog Creek and Iberia boat ramps close No later than Oct. 31, 2023
Nov. 10, 2023 (Friday) Veterans Day (observed) OFFICE CLOSED
Nov. 23, 2023 (Thursday) Thanksgiving Day OFFICE CLOSED
Dec. 25, 2023 (Monday) Christmas Day OFFICE CLOSED

* Events may be cancelled due to severe weather.
* For Nolin Lake State Park information, visit Nolin Lake State Park | Ky Parks
* For the most current lake fill and winter drawdown dates, please visit the Louisville District Water Information page at Fill and Drawdown (



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