Turkey Bay OHV Trails
Elk & Bison Prairie
What kinds of wildlife are found in LBL?
What venomous snakes are found in LBL?
What insects should I look out for while hiking or camping?
What is The Trace?
Do people live in LBL?
Are my pets allowed in LBL?
Why are there so many cemeteries in LBL?
Are the facilities open year round?
What is MVUM?
Is there hotel lodging in LBL?
Are there places in LBL I can go to get gas, food, and other resources?
Where can I find more information about the internship, apprenticeship, or Resident Attendant positions offered at LBL?
Are the facilities wheelchair accessible?
What do I do if I find an injured animal in LBL?
What activities require a Special Use Permit in LBL?
Where do I get a Special Use Permit?
I'd like to volunteer in LBL. Who do I contact?
Q. What kinds of wildlife are found in LBL?
A. There are hundreds of various species found in LBL's forests and open lands. Some of the most common forest animals include the white-tail deer, wild turkey, foxes, venomous and non-venomous snakes, coyotes, and smaller forest animals such as squirrels, raccoons, and a variety of birds. The bobcat and bald eagle are also found in LBL, spotted more frequently in winter when the forest is less dense. Elk and bison roam in an enclosed, 700-acre area known as the Elk & Bison Prairie, which is open to visitors year-round from dawn until dusk every day. Woodlands Nature Station offers opportunities to see and learn about various wildlife species.
Q. What venomous snakes are found in LBL?
A. Four venomous snakes are found in LBL. They are the copperhead, pygmy rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, and cottonmouth. Snake bite incidents are rare, and there is no need for concern if proper precautions are taken.
Q. What insects should I look out for when hiking or camping?
A. It is always important to be aware of insects and other potentially harmful pests. Ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes are common throughout LBL during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. It is strongly recommended visitors use tick and insect repellant when going into areas beyond visitor facilities from March 15 to October 15. Click here for more information about insects at LBL.
Q. What is The Trace?
A. Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway is the main road that runs North/South through LBL. It runs from Grand Rivers, KY, to Dover, TN. Also known as Highway 453 or simply, "The Trace," it provides access to all of LBL's facilities and attractions. In 2009, Woodlands Trace was designated a Scenic Byway.
Q. Do people live in LBL?
A. No. All 170,000 acres of LBL were acquired by the U.S. government through eminent domain, and most recently management was transferred to the USDA Forest Service. No private dwellings remain.
Q. Are my pets allowed in LBL?
A. Pets are allowed at LBL, including hiking trails and campgrounds, but must be on a leash and under physical control at all times (especially when encountering other users on the trails). For health and sanitation purposes, you are required to clean up after your pet. Pets are not allowed inside the Camping Shelters. You may also have your pet at the Elk & Bison Prairie; pets must remain in the vehicle or on a leash at ALL TIMES while inside The Prairie. Pets are allowed at The Homeplace, and the Nature Station offers kennels for pets whose owners want to visit the facility (due to the wild animals in the backyard). Exceptions are made for dogs used for accessibility, such as guide dogs.
Q. Why are there so many cemeteries in LBL?
A. Before modern transportation and developed road systems, many families buried their dead on small family plots or in community church cemeteries. There are more than 200 cemeteries in LBL. These cemeteries are remnants of the communities that existed between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers prior to the creation of Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. In 1963, all of the land situated between the two lakes became public when President Kennedy signed into legislation the development of the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. Hundreds of families and entire communities were displaced during this time period so that future generations could benefit from LBL as a National Recreation Area. Burials still occur at many of these cemeteries, and they signify a great deal of importance to many people, particularly to descendents of these past communities who often use them as meeting grounds for annual reunions. Volunteer organizations and caring individuals dedicate a lot of time and energy towards the maintenance of LBL's cemeteries. Please be respectful of these cemeteries and the importance they represent to the people who once lived here.
Q. Are the facilities open year-round?
A. The facilities at LBL vary in hours and months of operation. The Golden Pond Visitor Center, Elk & Bison Prairie, Turkey Bay OHV Area, Wranglers Campground, and other various camping areas are open to the public year-round. Please click here for more information regarding hours of operation for our facilities.
Q. What is MVUM?
A. Motorized Vehicle Use Map, or MVUM, is a legal document required under the Travel Management Rule that shows trails and roads designated for motor vehicle use. LBL's MVUM became available October 2008 and is enforced. Please click here for frequently asked questions about MVUM or click here for the MVUM map.
Q. Is there hotel lodging in LBL?
A. There are various state parks and resorts near LBL that offer hotel accommodations. These facilities are located in LBL's surrounding communities and offer lodge rooms, cottages, and various recreational activities for guests. Additionally, there are private hotels and resorts that offer similar accommodations. There is no hotel-style lodging located within LBL. Please click here for more information about lodging and community resources.
Q. Are there places in LBL I can go to get gas, food, and other resources?
A. The Outpost Supply Centers at Hillman Ferry, Piney and Wranglers Campgrounds offer basic amenities. There are no gas stations, grocery stores, or other restaurants located within LBL. However, our surrounding communities can accommodate your needs during your visit. Please refer to our Neighboring Communities and Resources page for more information.
Q. Where can I get information about the internship, apprenticeship, or Resident Attendant positions offered at LBL?
A. If you are interested in the internship or apprenticeship programs offered at LBL for college students and post-graduates, please click here for details and contact information. If you are interested in a Resident Attendant program at one of the campgrounds, you may e-mail us at or call 270-924-2000.
Q. Are the facilities wheelchair accessible?
A. Most facilities in LBL have accessible features. It may be necessary to inquire with a facility before visiting to find out what accessible features are available. Please click here for information about accessibility and accessible features.
Q. What do I do if I find an injured animal in LBL?
A. If you find an injured or stray animal in LBL, do not try to help the animal yourself. Keep your distance as the animal may become aggressive or injure you in an attempt to get away. Please call Woodlands Nature Station at 270-924-2299 or Law Enforcement Office at 270-924-2196 for assistance.
Q. What activities require a Special Use Permit in LBL?
A. A Special Use Permit is needed for events such as weddings, reunions or certain recreational events with a group of more than 70 people, research conducted by an outside entity, and any commercial operation. Click HERE for more information
Q. I'd like to volunteer in LBL. Who do I contact?
A. To find out more information about volunteering at LBL, please visit the "Friends of LBL" website, or contact the volunteer coordinator at 270-924-2007.
What are the hunting regulations?
What are the dates of approved hunting seasons?
Do I need a permit or license in order to hunt in LBL?
Where do I get a Hunter Use Permit?
Can I hunt from horseback?
Is there a shooting range in LBL?
Q. What are the hunting regulations?
A. Hunting is a popular sport in LBL. In order to protect the safety of our hunters and other recreational visitors, we ask that each individual please pay close attention to the hunting guidelines and regulations. Please click here for a complete list of regulations.
Q. What are the dates of approved hunting seasons?
A. Hunting seasons vary from year to year. Please refer to the sites below for hunting dates and other important information.
Q. Do I need a permit or license in order to hunt in LBL?
A. Yes. You need a valid state (Kentucky or Tennessee) hunting license and an LBL Hunter Use Permit.
Q. Where can I get a Hunter Use Permit?
A. You may purchase a Hunter Use Permit at any of the developed campgrounds in LBL, the Administrative Office, Golden Pond Visitor Center, and North and South Welcome Stations. You may also get a permit wherever you purchase a hunting license.
Q. Can I hunt from horseback?
A. Yes, hunting from horseback is permitted for small game hunting only. You may also ride horses during authorized field trials and while training dogs in the field trial areas. Please click here for information on small game hunting.
Q. Is there a shooting range in LBL?
A. Yes, the Golden Pond Target Range is located just off US 68/KY 80. For more information click HERE.
Where can I camp?
How long can I stay at the campgrounds?
Do I need a camping permit if I want to camp somewhere other than a developed campground?
Does each person in my group need a camping permit?
Where do I get a Backcountry Camping Permit?
Is RV camping allowed in LBL?
Are camping shelters available at the campgrounds?
How do I make reservations at one of the campgrounds?
How do I get a refund on a reservation or cancel a reservation?
Where do I go to get ice, firewood and other camping amenities?
Is there a campground that allows horses?
Q. Where can I camp?
A. You may camp almost anywhere in LBL. There are developed campgrounds and basic camping sites throughout the recreation area. Please click HERE for additional camping information on places you may camp, as well as places where camping is prohibited.
Q. How long can I stay at the campgrounds?
A. Campground regulations state that you may stay 21 consecutive days at most campsites. If you are backcountry camping, you may stay a maximum of 14 consecutive days. More specific camping regulations differ from campground to campground, so make sure to refer to the Campground Regulations page for more details.
Q. Do I need a camping permit if I want to camp somewhere other than a developed campground?
A. Yes. If you are age 18 or older you must have a Backcountry Camping Permit. Campers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Q. Does each person in my group need a camping permit?
A. Yes. Each person in your group age 18 or older must have a Backcountry Camping Permit if you are camping somewhere other than a developed campground. Campers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Q. Where do I get a Backcountry Camping Permit?
A. You may purchase a Backcountry Camping Permit at Golden Pond Visitor Center, Turkey Bay OHV Area, Hillman Ferry, Piney, Energy Lake, or Wranglers Campground. North or South Welcome Stations, Woodlands Nature Station and The Homeplace sell Backcountry Camping Permits seasonally.
Q. Is RV camping allowed in LBL?
A. There are campgrounds throughout LBL that welcome RV campers. Hillman Ferry, Piney, Wranglers, and Energy Lake are popular among RVers. These campgrounds provide water, electric, and sewer sites for motor home use, as well as picnic tables, shower buildings, and other amenities. Most RV sizes can be accommodated, but there are some restrictions. Please click here for more information about LBL's campgrounds, and click here for information about our Neighboring Communities & Resources.
Q. Are camping shelters available at the campgrounds?
A. There are primitive camping shelters at Piney and Wranglers Campgrounds for less rustic campers or for those who do not have camping equipment. The shelters are one room cabins with beds, tables, chairs, ceiling fans, electric outlets, large porch, picnic tables, and fire rings. Those staying in cabins may use the campground restrooms and shower facilities. Visitors will need to provide their own bed linens.
Q. How do I make reservations at one of the campgrounds?
A. Reservations may be made through the LBL website or by calling 1-800-525-7077. Reservations may be made up to six months in advance. Please click here for more information on reserving a campsite online.
Q. How do I get a refund on a reservation or cancel a reservation?
A. For refunds or cancellations of reservations, please call the campground Call Center at 1-800-525-7077. You may also cancel or modify a reservation via the Land Between The Lakes Campground Reservations website.
Q. Where do I go to get ice, firewood, and other camping amenities?
A. There are Outpost Supply Centers at Piney, Hillman Ferry, and Wranglers Campgrounds that supply basic camping amenities such as ice and firewood. There are no gas stations or grocery stores to purchase other supplies, so please be aware of what supplies you will need prior to setting up camp. Any supplies needed which are not provided at the outpost supply centers can be purchased in LBL's Neighboring Communities.
Q. Is there a campground that allows horses?
A. Yes. Wranglers Campground is a premier horse camp, offering amenities for you and your horse, and stalls may be reserved via phone or Internet. Click here for more information about Wranglers Campground.
Q. What fish species can be caught in Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley?
A. There are many varieties of fish found in the lakes, including largemouth, smallmouth, and Kentucky (spotted) bass; bream; black and white crappie; white and yellow bass; blue catfish; channel catfish; bluegill and other sunfish; and sauger.
Q. I don't have a boat, but I want to fish. Where can I go?
A. Bank fishing is permitted almost anywhere along the lake shoreline. We suggest the floating fishing piers at Devil's Elbow and Crooked Creek, or near the bridge at Fenton. You may also fish at Energy Lake Dam, Bards Lake, Honker Lake, or Hematite Lake near Center Furnace. Fishing from the bridges is prohibited. If you prefer to fish from a boat, there are several rental options available outside of LBL. Please click here to find out more!
Q. Where do I get a fishing license?
A. Licenses may be purchased at regional county courthouses, sporting good stores, bait shops, and grocery stores near LBL. State hunting and fishing licenses are not sold in LBL.
Q. What are the fish limits and regulations?
A. The LBL area has some of the nation's best sport fishing opportunities for crappie, bass, sauger, catfish, and bluegill. For anglers 16 and older (13 and older in Tennessee), a fishing license is required; no LBL permit is required. Anglers must have a license for the state in which they are fishing. (Note: There is a reciprocal agreement for a portion of Kentucky Lake.) Fishing licenses are sold at many local businesses outside LBL. Anglers should carefully examine state regulations as size and creel limits can vary, dependent upon where you are fishing. The state line is marked by signs on the shore. The LBL Fishing Report is available by dialing 270-924-2000.
You may want to check out the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources or the TN Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources for state regulations and licensing. We also have our 2009 LBL Angling Guide available at North & South Welcome Stations and Golden Pond Visitor Center that is specific to fishing the ponds and embayments within LBL (also available on our website http://www.lbl.org/AnglingGuide.html). Please click here for the LBL fishing regulations.
Turkey Bay OHV Trails
What are the OHV regulations?
How do I obtain a riding permit?
Can I camp in Turkey Bay?
What are the trails like?
Are there any challenge areas?
Can I have a passenger in my vehicle?
Where is the nearest gas station/bike shop/parts dealer?
Are there shower buildings? If not, where can I shower?
Can I ride to Turkey bay from the other campgrounds at LBL?
Is there an area for small children to ride?
Q. How do I obtain a riding permit?
A. All visitors must sign a liability waiver form before purchasing a riding permit. Each vehicle taken off-road must have a permit. Permits may be purchased at Turkey Bay Gatehouse, Golden Pond Visitor Center, and seasonally at both North and South Welcome Stations. Permit fees can be found here.
Q. Can I camp in Turkey Bay?
A. Yes. Camping in Turkey Bay is primitive (no electric, water, or sewer hook-ups). Picnic tables and fire rings are available throughout the camping areas. Drinking water and outdoor toilets are also provided along with two 24-hour generator areas (campers must supply generators). Camping permits may be purchased at the gatehouse. If the gatehouse is unattended, an honor fee system is provided.
Q. What are the trails like?
A. Turkey Bay has trails for novice, intermediate, and experienced riders. The main trail (marked with yellow diamonds) is fairly easy for novice riders to navigate. Secondary trails (marked with orange diamonds) are somewhat narrower and serve as connector trails between points on the main trail loops. Tertiary trails (marked with blue diamonds) are the narrowest, most challenging trails. These trails should be ridden with caution. Trail surface types include thick sandy gravel, chert-style rock, root-strewn tread, and deep gravel.
Q. Are there challenge areas in Turkey Bay?
A. Yes. The challenge area boundaries are marked by red rings on the trees. These are typically 2-10 acres of steep, washed out hill climbs and are also the most difficult in the trails system. Although trails within these areas will not be signed, please utilize established trails. Riding outside of established trails is prohibited.
Q. Can I have a passenger in my vehicle?
A. This depends on the vehicle. If the vehicle is equipped with a roll-cage, seatbelts, and was designed by the manufacturer to carry more than one person, then a passenger is allowed (i.e. street legal vehicles, buggies, side-by-sides). If the vehicle is not designed to carry more than one person and is not equipped with seatbelts and a roll-cage, passengers are NOT permitted (i.e. dirt bikes and most ATVs).
Q. Where is the nearest gas station/bike shop/parts dealer?
A. Turkey Bay does not sell gas and/or parts. Fuel is available in LBL's neighboring communities, approximately 6 miles from Turkey Bay. Various bike shops and parts dealers are located in Murray, Paducah, Benton, Hopkinsville, and Grand Rivers, KY, and in Dover, Paris, and Clarksville, Tennessee. A store list is available at the gatehouse. Please click here to visit our community resources page.
Q. Are there shower buildings?
A. No, there are no shower buildings at Turkey Bay. Visitors may visit Wranglers Campground to shower at no cost if they present their camping permit.
Q. Can I ride to Turkey Bay from the other campgrounds in LBL?
A. No. All non-street legal vehicles must be trailered in from adjacent areas to Turkey Bay. Parking at Turkey Bay is free.
Q. Is there an area for small children to ride?
A. Yes. Turkey Trot kid's area is the perfect place for children under age 16 to learn proper riding techniques under parental supervision. A 1/2 mile kids' riding/learning trail, the entire area is fenced off and incorporates many fundamental obstacles for beginning riders, providing children an avenue to learn trail riding basics to become more confident on their machine. For more information on OHV trails and Turkey Trot kid's area, click here!
Where can I rent a boat, kayak, or canoe?
Where are boat ramps located?
What are the firearm restrictions in LBL?
Are there places to swim in LBL? Is there a fee?
What are the best trails for hiking and biking?
Where can I park my car if I decide to spend the night on the trail?
When is the best time to hear the elk bugling at the Elk & Bison Prairie?
Q. Where can I rent a boat, kayak, or canoe?
A. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Energy Lake and Nature Station. To rent a boat, you may go to any of the state resort parks or private marinas surrounding LBL. For more information on state resort parks and marinas in our community, please click here.
Q. Where are boat ramps located?
A. There are various boat ramps throughout LBL; these are marked with boat ramp/lake access signs. For a map of LBL and boat ramp areas, click here.
Q. What are the firearm restrictions in LBL?
A. Firearms are allowed only during legal hunting seasons solely for the purpose of hunting, and must be cased and unloaded while being transported in a motorized vehicle. The Code of Federal Regulations concerning firearms in LBL (CFR 261.53E) state that possession of firearms is prohibited except during legal firearms hunting seasons and going to and from the LBL Target Range. Firearms must be unloaded when transporting. Please click here for more information on hunting and firearm policies at LBL.
Q. Are there places to swim in LBL? Is there a fee?
A. There are swimming beaches at Hillman Ferry, Energy Lake, and Piney Campgrounds; however, you must be a camper to use these beach areas. If you are not camping at one of these campgrounds, and you are just looking for a place to swim/play in the water, anywhere is fine. We do recommend that you wear some sort of water shoes for your own protection. Due to the fluctuation of the lakes, the shorelines have mostly rocks and very little sand, and the rocks can be somewhat sharp. Backcountry Camping Areas offer good swimming & lake access. Moss Creek Day-Use Area is also a popular swimming area. For a map of LBL and its Lake Access Areas, please click here. Swimming in either Kentucky Lake or Lake Barkley is at your own risk. There are no lifeguards! The water is great and lots of people love to walk the shores. Have fun and be safe!
Q. What are the best trails for hiking and biking?
A. There are numerous scenic trails for hiking and biking. Trails include point-to-point, long distance, and loop for hiking, and paved road and mountain biking trails for biking. For more information on trails, please refer to the links below.
Main hiking trails
Trail maps and trail descriptions
Q. Where can I park my car if I decide to spend the night on the trail?
A. Please click here for safety tips on where to leave your car during the day or overnight.
Q. When is the best time to hear the elk bugling at the Elk & Bison Prairie?
A. The peak of bugling season usually occurs from mid-September to mid-October. Visitors have the best chance of hearing the unusual bugling sound late in the afternoon.
Elk & Bison Prairie
How do you know Western Kentucky was once a prairie inhabited by elk and bison?
Do the elk and bison compete for the same food? Will they get enough to eat in a 700-acre enclosure?
How long will it take for the prairie to be completely restored?
Why were Canadian elk introduced into the prairie? Why not elk from the Rocky Mountains?
Q. How do you know Western Kentucky was once a prairie inhabited by elk and bison?
A. Historic record indicates around 2.4 million acres of Central and Western Kentucky was grassland. In 1766, English trader George Croghan reported seeing thousands of deer, elk, and buffalo at Big Bone Lick, Kentucky. In 1783, Daniel Boone described the Kentucky landscape as "extensive plains" and the buffalo so abundant, "...we saw hundreds in a drove, and the numbers about the salt springs were amazing."
Q. Do the elk and bison compete for the same food? Will they get enough to eat in a 700-acre enclosure?
A. As with most species sharing the same habitat, elk and bison have evolved different eating behaviors. Although there is some overlap, elk for the most part eat woody "browse" - shrubs, twigs, and leaves - and some grasses. Bison for the most part eat grass. If needed, we supplement the food supply with hay during winter months.
Q. How long will it take for the prairie to be completely restored?
A. It took less than a generation for this habitat to be lost, but it will take many, many years for us to bring it back. This is a long-term project requiring constant monitoring of the wildlife populations, grass re-seeding, controlled burning, and habitat monitoring.
Q. Why were Canadian elk introduced into the prairie? Why not elk from the Rocky Mountains?
A. The Canadian elk were readily available and were free of disease that could be transferred to livestock and wildlife. Also, biologists believe the Manitoban sub-species released at Land Between The Lakes may have closely resembled the Eastern elk which originally inhabited the region. The eastern sub-species became extinct around 200 years ago.