Information on:

Barren River Lake State Resort Park

1149 State Park Road

Established January 1, 1965

Vast forests did not cover all of Kentucky. In the south-central portion of the state an area of open grasslands known as the "Barrens" made a stark contrast to the heavily forested terrain surrounding it. Native Americans had repeatedly burned the forests that once covered the region as a means to stampede and kill big game. These fires created an open savannah that in turn drew all types of wild game to feed off its lush grasses. Buffalo herds migrated eastward across the Mississippi to Illinois, and then to Kentucky. These herds came to the Barrens and multiplied, providing food and clothing for the Indians.

The open lands of the Barrens also drew settlers who found the treeless areas easy to cultivate. Originally the pioneers thought the treeless grasslands infertile because of the lack of forestation. They soon found the soil to be some of the best that they had encountered. Farms and communities soon began to cover the area. In 1798 Barren County became the 37th county of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Taken from parts of Green and Warren counties, Barren consisted of 1,500 square miles. Beginning in 1815, the county had 1,000 square miles taken away to create portions of Allen, Edmonson, Hart, Metcalfe, and Monroe Counties.

Although Barren County had a railroad, most of south-central Kentucky remained isolated. The need for development became a topic for most civic and government organizations. A dam on Barren River had economic potential in the promotion of tourism. By 1960, construction of a 146 foot-high dam began on the river. When completed the dam had created Barren River Lake. The lake covers 10,000 acres and has a shoreline of 141 miles. The Louisville division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed and built the dam. They continue to maintain the lake.

A movement by the people of Barren County to establish a park next to the lake became a reality on January 1, 1965. The state purchased adjoining farms to extend the park site and the Louisville Corps of Engineers donated acreage to round out the park's boundaries. In 1966 the park constructed a boat dock with a marina. The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, approved a total development project of $3,469,000. A federal grant of $1,734,500 funded 50 percent of the estimated cost.

In 1971 the Louie B. Nunn State Lodge opened. The lodge overlooks the beautiful 10,000-acre lake. Barren River Lake is located in some of Kentucky's most scenic countryside. On the first weekend in June the park hosts Glasgow Highland Games, a festival celebrating Scottish heritage. Thousands of people attend this popular event each year.


Sam Beachy

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
This is a very nice state park. We really enjoyed the campground with the exception of one of the camp hosts, who was entirely too strict with how kids sat on rented golf carts. I think enjoyed being bossy. Aside from the that the park is great. Nice beach, 2 boat ramps, a nice lodge with daily kids activities, and some nice cottages and villas. People were friendly and the gate attendants were always helpful and very much appreciated.

Toni Macaroni

Friday, July 6, 2018
We are staying here for 2 weeks. They park is clean and everyone is so friendly. The park and the areas surrounding are beautiful. The restaurant, pub and the lodge are fantastic. We highly recommend this park to any travelers/vacationers. We are here from Florida!!!

Nathan Depenbrock

Friday, June 29, 2018
Great cabins. Very clean and modern. The buffet at the lodge was also very good. We spent the day on the lake in a rental ski pontoon and it was an incredible day. Would and will come back again and again!

Constance Reneau Edwards

Friday, May 4, 2018
Wonderful, friendly service. It's one of the best parks Kentucky has to offer for exploration and water front fun. I love that it's right at our back door pretty much. The trails are gorgeous. You can plan almost every event there. It's where I did my wedding.

Nicole McKinney

Thursday, March 29, 2018
One of our favorite state parks. Great campground-although very busy. We usually book well ahead. Hotel area is comfortable with a relaxed lodge type feel. Driftwood Restaurant is excellent at breakfast ( don't miss the buffet) and slightly better than average other times. We enjoyed some local live music on the patio; nice experience. Alcohol is a recent addition but the crowd & dancing couples seemed well behaved. Often see wedding parties & business meetings here. Banquet areas are well separated from other guests but pretty accessible to the amenities.

Barren River Lake State Resort Park is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media