Land Between The Lakes

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The Land Between the Lakes is a National Recreation Area in western Kentucky. The two lakes that surround the park are Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. The lakes are large enough for wind blown surf to be significant, but is generally not an issue. Motorboat traffic is heavy, there is also a lot of barge traffic, but kayakers tend to stay close enough to shore that traffic is not an issue. Kentucky Lake offers what is probably the best back country kayak camping available within a reasonable distance from Louisville.

The main website for the LBL park is , it has information on hours, fees, maps, trails, facilities, etc.

Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake is the West lake bordering LBL, it is the larger of the two lakes. It is approximately 80 miles long and about 1 mile wide in most places. The shoreline of the lake on the park side is virtually all large pebble gravel, providing virtually an infinite number of opportunities for camping, hiking, swimming and even cliff diving. Most of the coves have facilities such as large high tech campsites to back country campsites, and most also have launch ramps, or areas suitable for launching kayaks.

Lake Barkley

Lake Barkley is the East lake bordering LBL. The lake has mud banks on the park side that are moderately steep making them undesirable for camping, but many coves will have back country camping sites. Boat traffic is moderate, but is mostly slow moving fisherman. At the South end of the park, there are many small islands that are interesting to explore.


Camping is permitted almost everywhere in the Park. Free backpacking passes are available to backpakers only, kayakers must purchase a $5 back country permit valid for three days. A 1 year permit is available for $20.

Maps of LBL




North Welcome Center,+KY/36.9713225,-88.1988839/@37.6348411,-88.0772507,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m8!4m7!1m5!1m1!1s0x88690b1ab35bd511:0xd4d3b4282071fd32!2m2!1d-85.7584557!2d38.2526647!1m0