As part of America’s great outdoors since 1963, Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area manages over 170,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and open lands on a peninsula between Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Western Kentucky and Tennessee. The family friendly recreation area offers one of the largest blocks of undeveloped forest in the eastern United States.

Spicebush butterfly and Coreopsis Flower
Spicebush butterfly and Coreopsis Flower

With 300 miles of natural shoreline, lake access provides idyllic settings for camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, and water sports. Licensed hunts for deer, turkey, squirrel and other small game animals occur throughout the year.

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area draws visitors from around the world to escape into nature. People also enjoy the authentic experiences provided by Woodlands Nature Station, Elk & Bison Prairie, Homeplace 1850s Working Farm, and Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory. Dispersed conservation education can be found throughout the recreation area.

Open trail
Walking the Fort Henry Trail System

We maintain over 500 miles of trails for hiking, biking, off-road riding, and horseback riding. A horse camp stays open year round for all campers. Scenic drives provide optimum wildlife viewing areas in the comfort of your car.

Innovative resource management draws 240 different species of birds each year. A festival celebrates the hummingbird migration in August and boats take visitors in search of eagles in the winter months.

Cover crops, timber management, and dedicated nature watch areas provide much-needed habitats for a variety of native animals and plants.

Bison with calf
Bison with calf, staff photo

Self-guided tours, overnight group facilities, and professional naturalists provide learning activities for everyone. Programs are perfect for school groups, scouts, and homeschoolers. Four major attractions include the Elk & Bison Prairie, the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm and Living History Museum, Woodlands Nature Station, and Golden Pond Planetarium with an observatory hosting star parties.

Land Between the Lakes also serves as a demonstration site for public land management, outdoor recreation, and environmental education studies to develop best practices. The United Nations designated the recreation area as a Man of the Biosphere Reserve in 1991.

For more than 6,000 years, people have lived on Land Between the Lakes. Visit this “land between the rivers” to learn why.

A short video celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Land Between the Lakes with an overview on YouTube at http://youtu.be/uiyYoTi93-Q.


Fast Facts

170,000   Acre peninsula
1-9          Miles wide
40           Miles long
300         Miles undeveloped shoreline
190         Acres wildlife refuges
200         Wildlife watering holes
261         Miles hiking trails
106         Miles horse trails
70           Miles mountain bike trails
100         Miles off-road vehicle trails (Turkey Bay)
444         Miles scenic roads
14           Designated basic camping areas with lake access
1400      Camp sites (4 developed campgrounds, 3 self-service primitive, 14 designated backcountry camping areas)
26           Boat ramps
5             Environmental Education Facilities
4             Gateway State Park Resorts
2             States: Kentucky & Tennessee
1.5          Million visitors annually