Camping Rules

  • “Pack it in. Pack it out.” Keep campsite clean and litter free at all times
    • Dumpsters: All designated camping areas and Welcome Stations
    • Recycling stations: Developed campgrounds and Welcome Stations; Fishing line recycling available at most boat ramps
    • Dump stations: North Welcome, South Welcome, and Golden Pond (just south of Hunter Check Station). Dumping gray or black water onto the ground, in waterways such as lakes and streams, or in chemical or vault toilets is prohibited. Dumping home or commercial trash anywhere in Land Between the Lakes is prohibited
  • Quiet hours 11pm to 6am. Generators allowed from 6am to 11pm
  • An adult must accompany campers under age 18
  • Securing your camping equipment is your responsibility
  • Saving/holding sites is prohibited. Persons camping at site must occupy unit/site
  • Leaving pets unattended is prohibited
  • Keep dogs, cats, and other pets leashed (except hunting dogs during authorized hunts and field trials) under control at all times. Clean up after your pet
  • Alcoholic beverages in Land Between the Lakes:
    • Kentucky: Public consumption is prohibited
    • Tennessee: Possession outside designated campsites in Piney and Gatlin Point campgrounds prohibited
  • Fires must be in grills, fireplaces, and fire rings. If no fire ring, build campfires so they won’t spread.
  • Unattended campfires prohibited. Dead and downed wood can be collected for campfires within Land Between the Lakes. Chainsaws allowed.
  • Construction of structures is strictly prohibited
  • Selling goods or advertising within Land Between the Lakes is allowed by permit only
  • Spotlighting by any means or taking/injuring wildlife/fish is prohibited
  • Fireworks are prohibited
  • Possession, transportation, or discharge of firearms, air guns, crossbows, bows and arrows, or other weapons are prohibited unless authorized by hunting regulations or special use permit signed and authorized by Area Supervisor.
  • Do not swim at boat ramps or courtesy docks

*Any camping equipment left unattended or left on a site longer than allotted time may be towed/removed at owners expense.

Each person 18 and older must possess a Basic or Dispersed Camping Permit. 

Basic and Dispersed Camping is prohibited:

  • Within cemeteries, picnic areas, and day-use areas
  • With horses
  • Nightly fee campgrounds
  • Colson Hollow Group Camp
  • Brandon Spring Group Center
  • Woodlands Nature Watch Area between Mulberry Flat Road and Silver Trail Road, east of Taylor Bay to Lake Barkley
  • Within 200 yards of US68/KY80, Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway (formerly The Trace), Mulberry Flat, Silver Trail, KY Lake Drive, and Fort Henry roads
  • Within 200 yards of any public day-use facility, Nature Watch Demonstration Area in TN south of Ft. Henry Road, or Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail
  • Maximum stay, 14 nights during any 30 consecutive days. On day 15, camping unit and occupants must move off Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Basic Camping Facilities with Boat Ramps: Demumbers Bay, Ginger Bay,  Neville Bay, Pisgah Point, and Twin Lakes. Some areas have picnic tables, fire rings, dumpsters, and toilets.

Basic Camping Permits available:

  • Online 24/7 at www.landbetweenthelakes.us/reservations
  • Golden Pond Visitor Center and Wranglers Campground year-round
  • March through November: North and South Welcome Stations, Homeplace, Nature Station; Hillman Ferry, Piney, and Energy Lake campgrounds
  • Discounts of any kind do not apply
  • Two copies; repurchase if both are lost
  • The Basic/Dispersed Camping Permit is not applicable at Self-Service Camping Areas.

Seasonal Camping: Call 270.924.2044; Short term sites, one to six months, are available at Cravens Bay Camping Campground and Taylor Bay Backcountry Campground.

Colson Hollow Group Camp: Reservation required Fees begin at $40. Call 270.924.2044.

Read sign and instructions at entrance. The Basic/Dispersed Camping Permit is not applicable at Self-Service Camping Areas.

Cravens Bay, Fenton, Nickell Branch, Birmingham Ferry, Smith Bay, Sugar Bay, Taylor Bay, Boswell Landing, Gatlin Point and Redd Hollow are small campgrounds that have designated sites with access to  picnic tables, fire rings, toilets, boat ramps, and dumpsters. In addition, Cravens Bay has flush toilets and sells ice seasonally; Fenton offers designated sites with electric hook-ups.

  • Within 30 minutes of arrival, fill out envelope, insert camping fee, and deposit in metal fee tube. See Rate Chart at entrance
  • Senior and Access Pass cardholders receive 50% off self-service camping, must possess a card to receive discount, and must occupy the site. Card may not be borrowed by a family member or friend
  • Camping fee is per camping unit, per night (RV, van, pop-up, etc). Two tents are considered one camping unit. Example: three or four tents are considered two camping units; one camper and one tent are two camping units
  • Each fee allows two vehicles and up to eight people per camping unit, per night
  • Two camping units allowed on each site
  • All camping units, including vehicles, must be placed on designated site pads; Not on grass
  • Maximum stay, 14 nights during any 30 consecutive days. On day 15, camping unit and occupants must move off Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
  • Metal detectors strictly prohibited.
  • Wildlife and plants are protected. Damaging or destroying plants or trees is illegal including carvings and nails in trees; lanterns hanging against trees; cutting, removing, injuring, digging, or destroying living plants. (Mushrooms, nuts, berries, or other fruit may be picked or gathered.)
  • Destruction, defacement, disturbance, or removal of any building, sign, structure, barrier, natural feature, archaeological artifact (including “scrap” metal), or public property of any kind is prohibited.
  • Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) designates roads where public motor vehicle use is authorized in Land Between The Lakes. Obtaining this information is your responsibility. Available at www.landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/maps (print at home), North and South Welcome Stations, and Golden Pond Visitor Center.
  • All motor vehicles, including motorcycles, campers, and RVs must be properly licensed.
  • Roads signed “Cemetery Use Only” are only to be accessed by those visiting the cemetery. No recreational access allowed.
  • Parking is permitted within one vehicle length off a Forest Service authorized road.
  • Blocking access to any road, trail, or gate is prohibited.
  • 50mph speed limit on Woodlands Trace.
  • Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs), including trail bikes, motorcross bikes, mini-bikes, all-terrain vehicles, three and four-wheelers, may be operated in Turkey Bay OHV Area only. Street legal and state registered motorcross bikes are legal to ride on all authorized roads.
  • Moped operators must comply with all Land Between The Lakes and state regulations.
    • Kentucky: Scooter/moped/motorized cycle operators must have a valid state driver’s license.
    • Tennessee: Scooter/moped/ motorized cycle operators must have a Motor Driven Cycle License and wear a helmet.
  • Biking is not permitted on Nature Station Trails or south of Golden Pond North/South Trail. Fort Henry Trails temporarily open to mountain biking.
  • Golf carts are prohibited except at Cravens Bay, Hillman Ferry, Energy Lake, and Piney campgrounds.

A person must carry all his/her camping equipment and  personal belongings in a backpack and wear it on his/her back; walk via a hiking trail to camp one or more nights, generally moving along the trail to a different location by foot each day.  This does not include parking a vehicle and carrying supplies by hand to a campsite nearby.

  • If backpacking along the Canal Loop, North/South Trail, or Fort Henry Trails, get a free Backpacking Permit at North Welcome Station parking lot, parking area across from South Welcome Station, or Jenny Ridge Picnic Area. Instructions are with permits.
  • If you plan to camp in a designated campground be sure to plan ahead and know if it will be self service or basic and have the correct permit. For a list visit our Basic, Dispersed and Self Service Camping page. Permits for Basic and Dispersed camping can be purchased online.

Hillman Ferry, Piney, Energy, Wranglers

  1. After Hours Arrival: If you arrive after gatehouse hours, refer to the posted instructions, occupy your assigned site, and return by 8am the following day for check-in.
  2. Alcohol: Public consumption of alcohol in Kentucky is prohibited. In the Tennessee portion of our forest, possessing alcoholic beverages outside designated campsites in Piney and Gatlin Point Campgrounds is prohibited.
  3. Campfires: All campfires must be contained in designated fire rings. All campfires must be thoroughly extinguished before vacating the site. Littering is prohibited, including placing and burning trash in fire rings.
  4. Camping Equipment: Camping equipment may not be left unattended overnight.
  5. Camping Unit: We define a camping unit as a sleeping tent, a wheeled vehicle such as a recreational vehicle (RV), motorhome, pop-up trailer, trailer, fifth-wheel, truck or van camper, and truck with topper. Tarps, awnings, dining canopies, screen tents, or vehicles other than those listed, may not solely occupy a campsite. Storage tents are not permitted. A camping fee is charged for each camping unit. A child’s tent is counted as one camping unit and will be allowed free of charge with each paid camping unit as long as only children 17 years of age and under occupy it (in developed campgrounds).
  6. Campsite: Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis by reservation or at time of registration. Once rented, campsites will not be reserved nor re-rented if properly occupied, until the last paid day for the site. We encourage you to reserve and pay for your entire intended stay as your site may not be available for extension.
  7. Campsite Capacity: Each paid campsite allows for two vehicles. Additional visitors and vehicles will be charged. Campsites are limited to a maximum of eight people per site, five overnight vehicles, and two camping units in which only one may be wheeled. When the number exceeds the maximum, a second site must be rented, paid for, and occupied by an additional camping unit. Please refer to specific campgrounds for guidance.
  8. Campsite Change: Changing campsites in developed campgrounds requires campground staff to check availability before you can be reassigned a new campsite. A change fee may be applied. If gatehouse staff is unavailable, check the “After Hours” notice posted on gatehouse information board for guidance.
  9. Campsite Gravel Pad: All camping units and equipment must be placed on prepared gravel campsite pads. This includes units requiring stakes. Stakes can be driven through the gravel campsite pads.
  10. Campsite Occupation: A camping unit must occupy the site immediately after registration and must be fully set up including tents and pop-up trailers. Sites may not be “held” with a temporary camping unit (i.e. Placing a tent on a site to hold and replace it with a camper is not permitted). At least one adult, 18 years of age or older, and a proper camping unit must occupy the site the first night. After the first night, a camping unit may not be left unattended overnight without permission. Campers under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
  11. Check in/out Time: Checkout is 3:30pm and strictly enforced. A $16 late checkout fee will be assessed. Your equipment may be towed at your expense if interfering with arriving campers. | Check-in is 4:30pm.
  12. Commercial Activities: Registered campers wishing to sell items, conduct business, or distribute information must obtain prior approval, pay appropriate fees, and display his/her Forest Service Special Use Permit.
  13. Emergency: In case of emergency, dial 9-1-1.
  14. For non-emergency situations or to report a theft, loss, accident, or disturbance – contact the campground staff or call Forest Service Law Enforcement at 877-861-2457.
  15. Glass Containers: Glass containers are not permitted in public areas including on the beach, in swimming areas, shelters, bathrooms, or shower buildings.
  16. Group Activity Shelters: All registered campers share activity shelters unless reserved in advance. Open flame cooking is prohibited; electric grills and stoves may be used.
  17. Hunting Season: Licensed hunters with Land Between The Lakes Hunter Use Permits may store unloaded firearms at their campsites. During deer hunting season, field dressed deer may be hung at Archery Target Range ONLY (Piney Campground only).
  18. Late Arrivals: Campers must arrive, check-in, and occupy the reserved site within 24-hours from the scheduled arrival date. After 24-hours, no refund will be given and the site becomes available for rent.
  19. Liability: Land Between The Lakes is neither liable nor responsible for damage, loss, or theft of personal property or for injuries to visitors.
  20. Length of Stay: Regulations limit camping to up to 21 days in a camping loop. After 21 days in a loop you must move to another loop or area for a minimum of 7 days before returning to previous camping loop.
  21. Minimum Stay: We have a two-night minimum stay on weekends and a three-night minimum stay on holidays in developed campgrounds for advanced reservations. There is no minimum stay for walk-ins.
  22. Natural Resources: All wildlife and plants are protected. Please do not feed the wildlife. Use fallen branches as firewood. Do not nail, carve, or hang anything, including lanterns, on trees.
  23. No Wake Zones: Please observe “no wake” zones near swimming areas, boat ramps and fishing docks.
  24. Parking: All vehicles, cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, golf carts, boats, jet skis, and utility trailers must park on campsite graveled pad or in designated overflow areas. Citations will be issued or vehicles towed at owner’s expense if found along roads or on grass.
  25. Pets: Pets must be on a leash of 6-feet or less and under physical control at all times while in campground. You are required to clean up after your pet for health and sanitation purposes. Pets are not permitted on the beach, in designated swimming areas, bathrooms, shower buildings, and cabins. Pest must not be left unattended.
  26. Prohibited: Fireworks, firearms, metal detectors, vehicle maintenance, discharging gray or black water, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway vehicles (OHV), and archery target practice are prohibited at all times. Archery and firearm target practice are allowed in the Golden Pond Firing Range off US68/KY80. Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV’s) are allowed at Turkey Bay OHV Area.
  27. Recycle: Please recycle aluminum cans, glass containers, plastic bottles, and metal cans at recycling stations. See campground map for locations. Please dispose of oil and hazardous chemicals properly.
  28. Reservations: Reservations may be made for Hillman, Piney, Energy, and Wranglers beginning six months to two days before arrival date at our developed campgrounds for a select number of campsites above the flood plain. You can make reservations anytime online at https://www.usedirect.com/CampLBL/ or Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm Central Time when calling 1-800-525-7077.  Reservation Website Rules and Policies
  29. Reservations are complete when full payment is made via Visa, MasterCard or Discover charge or debit cards. Non-refundable reservation fees will be charged. In addition, change fees and cancellation fees may also be charged. Refer to camping fees for details. We honor National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands’ Senior and Access passes — offering the cardholder a discount of 50% off the basic site camping fee.
  30. Reservations Group Camping: Reservations for Brandon Spring Group Center and Colson Hollow Group Camp can be made by calling 270-924-2044.
  31. Road Rules: We enforce a 15 mph speed limit throughout our campgrounds and follow all state and federal regulations. All motorized vehicles must be properly licensed and used on roads designated for motorized vehicles only. Drivers must have valid state driver’s license or permit in their possession to operate motorized vehicles. Motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters require safety helmets for drivers; no double riding allowed. Golf carts are allowed in Hillman Ferry, Piney, Energy Lake, and Cravens Bay with a golf cart permit, only on campground roads and by a state-licensed driver. If operated at night, golf carts must have appropriate front and back lights. ATVs, utility vehicles, and OHVs are prohibited outside of Turkey Bay OHV Area. These off-road vehicles may only be offloaded at Turkey Bay OHV Area. No Power Wheels allowed on campground roads at any time.
  32. Safety: You are responsible for your own safety. Camp at your own risk.
  33. Seasonal Camping Program: A limited number of campsites are available for seasonal camping for two to nine months at Hillman Ferry, Piney and Wranglers developed campgrounds. Annual applications must be submitted by the first week in January; lottery drawings follow. Applications available online in mid-November. For more information call 270-924-2044.
  34. Speed Limits: A 15 mph speed limit will be enforced on the entrance road and a 10 mph speed limit for camping and unloading areas. Please use these areas for their designated use.
  35. Swimming Beaches: Use of developed campground beaches is permitted for registered campers only during daylight hours and weather permitting. Pets and glass containers are not permitted. A “no wake” zone surrounds swimming beaches. Backcountry Camping Areas are open to the public for swimming and day-use activities.
  36. Quiet Hours: Please honor our 11pm to 6am quiet time or you may be asked to leave. Please return to your campsite during quiet hours as a courtesy to others. Generators must be silenced during quite hours. Limit vehicle traffic to entering and exiting campgrounds.
  37. Visitors: All visitors must register at the gatehouse and must be visiting a registered camper, and obtain a current vehicle permit. Visiting hours are from 7am – 11pm; Vehicle fee is $5 for up to 8 people. After 11pm; a full camping fee will be charged. In order to conserve parking space and maintain security, only registered campers may bring in recreational equipment such as boats, golf carts, RV’s, etc.  Acquire a map of Land Between the Lakes to see a list of available boat ramps. All vehicles and equipment must be removed from the campground when they check out.
  38. Water: Protect our water supply; please use biodegradable products and follow the rules. Discharge gray or black water at designated dump stations ONLY. Do NOT clean fish or other game in shower buildings, sinks, or at water faucets and hydrants. Do NOT wash dishes, brush teeth, or wash up at potable drinking water sources. Do NOT wash vehicles or trailers at campground. Do NOT connect hoses to faucets or plug campers into outlets at shower buildings. To help protect our water supply from harmful bacteria, detach hoses from hydrants and remove from area when not in use. Do NOT tie up pets or horses to hydrants. For your safety, state certified employees monitor our drinking water. Waste water is processed on site through state permitted treatment facilities and eventually discharged into lakes.