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Sharing acreage of both Johnson and Morgan counties in eastern Kentucky, Paintsville Lake has been a recreational staple since its creation in 1983. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impounded Paint Creek for flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife protection. The 26-mile long scenic lake twists and turns through rocky limestone bluffs and wooded coves. Normal summer pool is 709 feet above sea level. Depths can exceed 100 feet.
At only 1,139 acres, many tend to underestimate Paintsville Lake, but that's a mistake, as this little lake packs quite a punch. Begin your stay by choosing a campsite at Paintsville Lake State Park: 32 have water, electricity, and sewer hookups for your RV, and another 10 are primitive. Restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities are provided for your convenience; two of the RV campsites are disabled accessible.
Boat launch ramps are located at Rocky Knob Recreation Area, and you'll frequently find both boating enthusiasts and anglers launching from there. There's no horsepower limit at Paintsville Lake, so you're free to open up the engine and go for a real ride, just be sure to practice safety and respect for your fellow boaters.
As you zip around the lake, you'll find soon find out how important fishing is here. Fishing boats dot the lake's surface, and you'll watch as anglers eagerly reel in catches of channel catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, redbreast sunfish, smallmouth bass, and walleye.
If hiking is your pleasure, then head to the Kiwanis Trail, located across from the Mountain Homeplace Welcome Center. The 1.6 mile hiking trail winds through the area's beautiful scenery, and introduces visitors to the flora and fauna of Paintsville Lake. If you're looking for a more advanced hike, try out Adena Trail, a 7 mile long hike that meanders around the dam.
History buffs will love the Mountain Homeplace Historical Area, developed by the Paintsville Tourism Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The historical home recreates 19th Century eastern Kentucky farm life, leading visitors through the old house, crop fields, a one-room schoolhouse, church, blacksmith shop, and so much more. Both fun and informative, this is one activity that everyone in the family will ask for by name.
Visiting Paintsville Lake is truly an introduction into years gone by: quiet nights, days dominated by the outdoors, and even the opportunity to visit a period farmhouse. You will love the natural beauty of the area and appreciate the recreational enhancements that the lake provides, assuring a restful vacation full of fun, sun, and water.
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