Artwork Lander’s Outside: Land Between the Lakes is an incredible outside treasure for fishing and household enjoyable


Land Between the Lakes (Photo by Kentucky Tourism)


Summer is a great time to hitch up the boat, pack your camping gear, and head to the lake.

A unique fishing destination can be found in western Kentucky in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL), surrounded by Lake Barkley to the east and Kentucky Lake to the west.

The 170,000 acre national recreation and demonstration area was approved by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and extends as far as Tennessee to US 79.

LBL was developed and managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority for 36 years, but in 1999 its management was transferred to the USDA Forest Service.

A 15-minute video published in 2013 commemorates the LBL’s 50th anniversary:

LBL is a festival for outdoor enthusiasts who have plenty to do and see besides fishing. There are 444 miles of scenic back country roads, abundant wildlife, hiking and mountain biking trails, a planetarium, five environmental education facilities, and areas reserved for horse riding and ORVs.

(Map courtesy of the USDA Forest Service; click for larger image)

The 64 km long peninsula has 300 miles of undeveloped coastline, 26 boat ramps and 14 lakeside campsites. The boat ramps are located on campsites, campsites and day use areas. Many of these ramps provide access to secluded coves on Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. They are located in shallow, sheltered waters, making them ideal for small boats to carry down, such as fishing kayaks.

There is no ramp start fee in LBL, although a paid stay at that campground is required to start at the Hillman Ferry Campground (Kentucky) or Piney Campground (Tennessee) ramp.

A fee is required to camp at the other campsites and campsites across the LBL, but boating is open and free to everyone, whether they are camping or not. The camping fees vary depending on the equipment. The main access road is Woodlands Trace, Ky. 453, which runs north to south through LBL. Roads off the “lane” are numbered, in a somewhat ascending order from north to south.

The 100 numbered streets are maintained to a level suitable for car travel, but the streets numbered 200 to 300 are less maintained. A 300 numbered street is only suitable for vehicles with high ground clearance.

Boat ramps in the Kentucky portion of LBL on Lake Barkley:

(Photo by USDA Forest Service)

• The Eddyville Ferry boat ramp is via 117 Forest Service Road. to reach
• The Demumbers Bay Campground boat ramp is accessible from 108 Forest Service Road.
• The Cravens Bay Campground boat ramp is accessible from 118 Forest Service Road.
• Nickell Branch Campground’s boat ramp is accessible from 100 Forest Service Road.
• The Taylor Bay Campground boat ramp is accessible from 135 Forest Service Road.
• The boat ramp for the Devil’s Elbow Day Use Area is on US 68, west of the Henry R. Lawrence Memorial Bridge.
• The boat ramp of the Energy Dam daytime use area can be reached from 134 Forest Service Road.
• The Honker Bay daytime use boat ramp is accessible from 135 Forest Service Road.

Boat ramps in the Kentucky portion of LBL on Kentucky Lake:

• The Birmingham Ferry Campground boat ramp is accessible from 114 Forest Service Road.
• The Fenton Campground boat ramp is just off US 68, east of Eggner’s Ferry Bridge.
• The Hillman Ferry Campground boat ramp is accessible from 110 Forest Service Road.
• The Pisgah Point campsite boat ramp is accessible from 111 Forest Service Road.
• The Smith Bay Campground boat ramp is accessible from 116 Forest Service Road.
• The Sugar Bay Campground boat ramp is accessible from 140 Forest Service Road.
• The Twin Lakes Campground boat ramp is located at Woodland Trace, south of North Welcome Station.
• The Redd Hollow Campground boat ramp is accessible from 171 Forest Service Road.

You can find detailed information on LBL at

An amazing outdoor treasure, LBL offers secluded lakefront camping and fishing at two of Kentucky’s major major reservoirs. Sit around the campfire with family and friends and watch the sun go down after a day of fishing.

Art Lander Jr. is the outdoor editor for the Northern Kentucky Tribune. A native of Kentucky, a graduate of Western Kentucky University, and a lifelong hunter, angler, gardener, and nature lover. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist, and writer, and is a former contributor to Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-author of the Kentucky Afield Outdoors newspaper column.