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Barren River Lake, located in south-central Kentucky, is one of the state's hidden jewels, covering over 10,100 acres. The lake was created by the Louisville Army Corps of Engineers; construction was completed in 1964. In 1965, Barren County began purchasing lakeside land, creating Barren River Lake State Resort Park, a vacation destination for water lovers all over the country.
The lake is snuggled into a region famous for its cave formations, and finds itself neighbor to Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest cave system in the world. Many of the area activities revolve around the lake's geographic wealth, such as Wild Cave Days, park-sponsored hiking trips, cave appreciation weekends, and more.
Do-it-yourself nature lovers will feel as welcome here as those who like to go on guided tours. Hiking trails dot Barren River Lake's shores, providing paths of varying difficulty, all of which will take you on winding tours around the lake. Catch glimpses of grazing deer, visit old historical buildings, stand in awe at beautiful lake vistas stretching out before you, and simply enjoy a pristine Kentucky afternoon. Visitors with an equestrian streak will also find themselves entertained at Barren River Lake, with its miles of horse trails and riding stables able to provide guided trails and horse rentals.
The Barren River Lake State Park also offers two geocaches, Life's a Beech and Lean 2 Knots, and whether you're just a beginner or an avid hobbyist, you'll love searching for treasure under the wide blue sky. When you've filled your pockets with all the goodies you can find, head over to the lake's beautiful sand beach where you can catch some golden rays, have a picnic, and frolic in the cool, clean lake waters.
If fishing is your pleasure, Barren River Lake is here to indulge you: bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, hybrid bass, largemouth bass, rough fish, and white bass all dwell under the lake's gentle waters. In fact, the lake is well-known as one of the top-producing largemouth bass lakes in the country. Huge catches have been made here, and a recent lake record for hybrid bass weighed in at a whopping 20.5 pounds. If you're dreaming of such a catch, bring your rod and your patience and set out for a day of sport fishing.
Because the primary purpose of Barren River Lake is flood control, the water level is drawn down in the fall to winter pool level, allowing spring rains to fill the reservoir instead of flooding the surrounding land. The summer pool water level is 552 feet above sea level; winter pool level is lowered to 525 feet, reducing the lake's surface acreage by 56 percent.
If sun and fun are your pleasure, book a vacation to Barren River Lake. With its varied recreational offerings and beautiful scenery, the lake is sure to please.
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