Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

A.    Land Between the Lakes has approximately 110,000 acres in Kentucky and 60,000 acres in Tennessee, which is a total of 170,000 acres.

A.   Land Between the Lakes serves as part of the United States Public Lands Program managed by the USDA Forest Service. No private dwellings remain within its boundaries.

A.  Pets are allowed at Land Between the Lakes including on our trails and campgrounds. Pets must be on a leash 6′ or less 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. Remember, never leave your pet in a hot car.

You may also have your pet at the Elk & Bison Prairie in the vehicle only.

Pets are allowed at the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm.

Dogs are not permitted at the Woodlands Nature Station. However, there is a kennel you may use to keep your dog while you visit.

Due to the wild animal displays in the backyard, the Woodlands Nature Station offers kennels for pets whose owners want to visit the facility. Exceptions are made for dogs used for accessibility, such as guide dogs.

Dogs may not be left unattended at campsites and are not allowed inside the campground/camping shelters.

A.    Before modern transportation and developed road systems, many families buried their deceased on small family plots or in community church cemeteries. There are more than 270 known cemeteries in Land Between the Lakes. These cemeteries are remnants of the communities that existed prior to the creation of Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. Please be respectful of these cemeteries and the importance they represent to the people who once lived here.

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.

A.   The region offers four gateway state parks and multiple private lakeside resorts plus an array of hotel accommodations in our surrounding communities.

A.   The Outposts at Hillman Ferry, Piney and Wrangler Campgrounds offer basic amenities. Our  major attraction facilities have soda machines and some snacks in their gift shops. You will find gas stations, grocery stores, retail malls, doctors, hospitals, shopping, and restaurants in our surrounding communities.

A.   Land Between the Lakes Rules and Regulations are listed on our website: Rules and Regulations.

A.   Call our Friends of Land Between the Lakes volunteer coordinator at 270-924-2007.

A.   If you are interested in any of these programs, you may e-mail us at [email protected] or call 270-924-2000. See the intern and apprentice page for some general information.

A.   If you find an injured or stray animal in Land Between the Lakes, 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 the Woodlands Nature Station at 270-924-2299 or Law Enforcement Office at 270-924-2196.

A. We require a Special Use Permit for events such as weddings, reunions, and other recreational programs of 70 people or more, research studies, and commercial activities. Firewood permits are available all year. Call 1-800-525-7077 or 270-924-2000 for more information.

A.   Our visitor center, welcome stations, and environmental education attractions close for New Years Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or “Drones” on National Forest Systems Lands

Know where to fly

  • Individuals and organizations may fly UAS for hobby or recreational purposes in compliance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336 of Public Law 112-95).
  • UAS must be flown below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles.
  • UAS are considered to be both “motorized equipment” and “mechanical transport” as such they cannot take off from, land in, or be operated from congressionally designated Wilderness Areas. 
  • UAS are not permitted to fly in areas that have “Temporary Flight Restrictions” (TFR) in place.  You can search the FAA website for current TFRs.
  • Never fly your UAS over or in close proximity to any fire operation (wildfire or prescribed).  UAS flights over fire operations disrupt aerial firefighting operations and create hazardous situations. 
  • The Forest Service regularly flies aircraft at low altitudes to perform natural resource management. It is the UAS Operator’s responsibility to be aware of these flights and take the steps necessary to avoid them. Contact the local Ranger District Office or the FAA for scheduled flights in the area.    
  • UAS are not allowed in developed campgrounds, facilities or the Elk & Bison Prairie in Land Between the Lakes. 

Protect Wildlife & the Environment

  • Do not fly over congressionally designated Wilderness Areas or Primitive Areas as many people seek these places for the opportunities for solitude and quiet that they provide.
  • Do not fly over or near wildlife as this can create stress that may cause significant harm, and even death. Intentional disturbance of animals during breeding, nesting, rearing of young, or other critical life history functions is not allowed unless approved as research or management.
  • Follow state wildlife and fish agency regulations on the use of UAS to search for or detect wildlife and fish.
  • Launch the UAS more than 100 meters (328 feet) from wildlife. Do not approach animals or birds vertically with the UAS.

Fly safely, Stay in control

  • Keep your UAS within your visual line of sight at all times.
  • Take lessons and learn to operate your UAS safely.
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations.
  • Fly your UAS at least 5 miles from an airport or backcountry airstrip.
  • UAS should not be flown over or in close proximity to populated and noise-sensitive areas, such as campgrounds, trail heads, and visitor centers.
  • Obey all privacy laws.

Follow Federal Aviation Association (FAA) guidelines

  • Ensure that you comply with all FAA regulations and guidance for flying your UAS. The FAA has authority over all airspace.
  • Do not fly any aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds (total weight, including payload and fuel source).

A.  LBL has approximately 110,000 acres in Kentucky and 60,000 acres in Tennessee.

A. Deer Application Period is July 1 to July 31 on our Deer Quota Hunts webpage. 

B. Turkey Application Period is February 1 to February 28 on our Turkey Quota Hunts webpage. 

C. You will need to create an account. You must have an email address unique to each hunter per account

D. For login assistance, you can email [email protected]

E. We cannot create accounts or take applications over the phone.

A. Refer to Fact Sheets for Deer, Turkey, and Small Game, Waterfowl and Trapping.  Fact Sheets can be found on the LBL Hunting page

A.  A properly licensed hunter may hunt coyotes may be taken during daylight hours in any open hunting season with weapons specified for that season. During February, center-fire rifles and handguns, and shotguns with shot size T or smaller may be used for coyotes. Night hunting for coyotes is prohibited on Land Between the Lakes. Hog hunting is PROHIBITED.

A. All hunters age 16 and older need a $25 Land Between the Lakes Hunter Use Permit. A combination Hunting/Dispersed Camping Permit is available for $75 (or just add a 3-day basic/dispersed camping permit for $10).  Additionally, a state hunting license and tags for the type of hunting you are doing, as well as a Hunter Safety Card, are needed according to state regulations for the KY/TN portion of LBL you are in. These can be purchased online, at LBL welcome stations, the Golden Pond Visitor Center, or anywhere KY or TN state licenses are sold.

B. Kentucky Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Resources

C. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

D. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

A. Land Between the Lakes offers 2 maps for purchase at the facilities:

  • Z-map (pocket size) – $3      Download free from our website:  North End    South End
  • LBL Recreation Map (water resistant) $14.95
  • Turkey Walk-in Roads    Download from our website: North End    South End
  • Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) Download free from our website: MVUM

Other maps for campgrounds and trails can be found on our Maps page. We can also sell the Z Map $3.00 + postage and the All-Weather Map $14.95 + postage and mail to hunter/customer.

B. Restricted Road Access – The roads closed to allow walk-in areas will be barricaded and highlighted on maps at the hunter check stations, and on maps on the website listed above (look for “Turkey Hunt Walk-In Maps”). North & South Maps are available and can be printed from the LBL website. In addition, the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM), the habitat maps, and the hunt area maps are available on the website.  Maps of the campgrounds are also available.

A. Areas are only assigned for quota deer & turkey hunts. Other hunting does not have areas assigned.  It is unlawful to hunt within 150 yards of any developed area or trail. Wildlife refuges, Nature Watch Areas, safety zones around facilities, and trails are closed to hunting. Learn more on our Hunting Rules page.

A. Check the Recreation Map or the Hunt Areas maps on the LBL Maps page. Most of the areas are bounded by roads.

A. In Kentucky, anyone born on or after Jan 1, 1975 and in Tennessee, anyone born on or after Jan 1, 1969 must possess a hunter safety card while hunting, unless the person is exempted by state regulations. Children age 12 & up in KY and age 10 & up in TN are required to have one. They can get the regulations at Kentucky Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Resources or Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

A. There is a list of safety instructions on our website. Look for “LBL Youth Hunter Safety Instructions.” For those youth who are not required to have a hunter safety card, print off the page, go over the items with the youth, and sign the page signifying that you have reviewed the items with the youth. The adult accompanying the youth should carry the signed paper with the youth while hunting.

A. You have to have the state licenses for the state where you are hunting. You can hunt in both states if you have licenses in both states.  The LBL Hunter Use Permit is valid in both states.  For deer hunting, only one antlered deer can be taken in LBL even if you are hunting both states. The Quota Hunt Application System will not allow a hunter to apply in both states for the quota hunt.

A.  Camping is available at campgrounds and camping areas. Reservations can be made for larger developed campgrounds, but is also available on a first-come, first-served basis.  (See the Rates and Hours page to get various rates.) 

B. Basic and dispersed camping requires a permit for each person age 18 & older; $50 annual permit, $10 three-day permit, or $75 Combination Hunter Use Permit/ Basic Camping Permit. Dispersed camping is permitted anywhere in Land Between the Lakes except in the Nature Watch Demonstration Areas, Brandon Spring Group Center, fee campgrounds, cemeteries, picnic areas, and within 200 yards of US Hwy 68/80, The Trace, Silver Trail Road, Mulberry Flat Road, and Fort Henry Road.

Anyone age 18 and older needs a basic or dispersed camping permit, or combination Hunter Use/Basic Permit, for basic or dispersed camping. See Camping Rules.

C. Self Service Campgrounds offer basic amenities including designated campsite pads, picnic tables, grills, fire rings, vault toilets, trash pickup, lake access, and boat ramps. Fees are paid at the campground.

A. Primitive cabins are available at Energy Lake, Hillman Ferry, and Piney Campgrounds from March 1 through November 30. Wranglers Campground offers primitive cabins year-round.  See the Rates and Hours page for more information.

Basic and dispersed camping requires a permit for each person age 18 & older; $50 annual permit, $10 three-day permit, or $75 Combination Hunter Use Permit/ Basic Camping Permit. Dispersed camping is permitted anywhere in Land Between the Lakes except in the Nature Watch Demonstration Areas, Brandon Spring Group Center, fee campgrounds, cemeteries, picnic areas, and within 200 yards of US Hwy 68/80, The Trace, Silver Trail Road, Mulberry Flat Road, and Fort Henry Road.

Anyone age 18 and older needs a basic or dispersed camping permit, or combination Hunter Use/Basic Permit, for basic or dispersed camping. See Camping Rules.

A. Hogs have been confirmed in Land Between the Lakes. We are working with USDA APHIS and state wildlife agencies to eradicate wild hogs on LBL. As hunting them can disrupt this, hog hunting is prohibited. Learn more on our Feral Hog Info page.

Report Hog Sightings

A. All that is needed is the required state fishing license.

A. State regulations limit what wildlife species and how those species can be hunted from a boat, so check current state regulations for the species you are hunting.  Generally, it is not legal to hunt from a boat under motorized power (neither electric or fuel powered engines).  TVA and the Corps of Engineers also likely have legal limitations on firing a weapon from the lake surface, which are their legal jurisdictions. Hunters that plan to hunt on LBL but want to access the land using a boat is legal.  Note that any deer carcass harvested must not cross a state line when transporting it back to the dock or boat ramp.

A. LBL has a stewardship agreement with the NWTF. They help us with forest and open land management for wildlife.

A. Yes, there are prescribed burns planned for this upcoming year, weather permitting. They will blacken an area for a short time but in the long run, will help to stimulate and improve wildlife habitat. Please check our Alerts page for the latest updates and information.

A. No. Even though the state of Kentucky may say you can hunt fallow deer elsewhere in the state, they cannot be hunted on Land Between the Lakes.

A. No, but you can hunt within Turkey Bay OHV area; however, you cannot hunt within 150 yards of any trail and cannot have a loaded weapon on a vehicle, and the area only allows archery hunting for deer.  You cannot take a motorized vehicle off of a legal road (or trail at Turkey Bay) either.

A. No, you cannot drive or park more than one vehicle length off of a legal road.

A. No, Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area is the only designated area for UTV/ATV’s. If archery hunting at Turkey Bay, you cannot take a motorized vehicle off of a legal road or trail.

A. Any weapon carried while hunting must be limited to those legal for hunting the game pursued according to state regulations.  If the weapon being carried for self-defense is legal for hunting a game animal that is in season and that the hunter is licensed to hunt on LBL, then it would be permissible.  It should not be concealed while hunting.

A. Yes; Remember that there is still a one buck total for LBL per season, regardless of which state it was harvested.

A. Maximum per state IF you are drawn for a quota hunt also in that state: (counts toward statewide bag limit)

  1. Kentucky= 1 during quota + 2 during KY archery + 2 during TN archery= 5 deer total*
  2. Tennessee= 2 during quota + 2 during TN archery + 2 during KY archery= 6 deer total*

*Remember that there is still a one buck total for LBL per season, regardless of which state it was harvested.

A. Yes, all hunters age 16 and older need a $25 LBL Hunter Use Permit. Additionally, state hunting license and tags for the type of hunting you are doing, and a Hunter Safety Card are needed according to state regulations for the KY/TN portion of LBL you are in. Be sure to pay attention to archery season dates for LBL.

A. You can use anything non-motorized, like a horse, mule, cart, dolly, or hunting partner. ATV/UTV use is not allowed.

 

A. Someone can accompany you on your hunt to take pictures and does not need a hunting permit as long as he/she is not carrying a weapon.  However, if the hunter has 2 weapons usable for hunting carried into the woods with them, then they would also have to have a license.

A. Duck hunters who hunt from the shores of LBL or launch their boat from an LBL boat ramp or shoreline must carry an LBL hunter use permit. If they are hunting offshore and access that site by boat, then they do not need an LBL hunter use permit.  If they come ashore to eat lunch or to cut branches for their blind, they must have a LBL hunter use permit.

B. Hunters calling to ask about registering to hunt from a blind or looking to participate in a drawing for duck blinds will need to contact the Corps of Engineers for Lake Barkley and TVA for Kentucky Lake; otherwise they should contact the state wildlife agency for more info.

A.   You may camp almost anywhere in Land Between the Lakes. There are developed campgrounds and basic camping facilities throughout the recreation area.

A.   Campground regulations state that you may stay 21 consecutive days at staffed (developed) campgrounds. If you are camping with a Basic Camping Permit, you may stay a maximum of 14 consecutive days.

A.   Self-Service Campgrounds offer basic amenities including designated campsite pads, picnic tables, grills, fire rings, vault toilets, trash pickup, lake access, and boat ramps.

You pay a nightly per camping unit fee for camping. The Basic/Dispersed Permit cannot be used at Self-Service Campgrounds.

At Self-Service Campgrounds, you choose a site, fill out a provided fee envelope, insert your camping fee into the envelope, and deposit the envelope in the “Iron Ranger” fee tube at the entrance. Please do this within 30 minutes of setting up your camp.

  • Cravens Bay
  • Fenton
  • Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area
  • Nickell Branch
  • Birmingham Ferry
  • Smith Bay
  • Sugar Bay
  • Taylor Bay
  • Redd Hollow
  • Boswell Landing
  • Gatlin Point

A. Yes. If age 18 or older, you must have a Basic/Dispersed Camping Permit. Each person in your group needs one. Campers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Check out the list of Basic camping sites. 

B. You may purchase a Basic/Dispersed Camping Permit online 24/7, 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 he Homeplace 1850s Farm sell Basic/Dispersed Camping Permits seasonally. If you arrive after 5pm, go to the nearest campground gatehouse (Hillman, Piney, Wranglers).

C. Basic Campsites:

  • Twin Lakes
  • Kuttawa Landing
  • Demumbers Bay
  • Pisgah Point
  • Ginger Bay
  • Neville Bay

D. Dispersed Camping includes remote campsites throughout the recreation area. Areas at the end of forest roads or along the lake shore often make wonderful campsites. If you camp in a location not designated on our map, it is considered dispersed camping. Read Camping Rules to learn where you can camp.

A.   Yes. 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 with some restrictions.

A.   We offer primitive cabins at Piney, Hillman Ferry, Energy Lake and Wranglers Campgrounds for less rustic campers or for those who do not have camping equipment. These one-room cabins offer bunk beds, tables, chairs, ceiling fans, electric outlets, large porch, picnic tables, and fire rings. Those staying in cabins use the restrooms and shower facilities and provide their own bed linens.

A.   Reservations may be made through our website or by calling 1-800-525-7077. Reservations may be made from two days to up to six months in advance. Reservations may be made at Hillman FerryEnergy LakeWranglers, and Piney Campgrounds. There are a mix of reservable sites and walk-in only sites.

A.   For refunds or cancellations, please call the campground Call Center at 1-800-525-7077. You may also cancel or modify a reservation via the Reservation website https://www.usedirect.com/CampLBL/.

A.   Our Outpost Supply Centers at Piney, Hillman Ferry, and Wranglers Campgrounds offer basic camping amenities such as ice and firewood. Energy campground also sells ice and firewood. Cravens Bay sells ice. Any supplies needed which are not available at the outpost supply centers can be purchased in neighboring communities.

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.

A.   Bank fishing is permitted almost anywhere along the lake shoreline.  You may fish at Fenton, Energy Lake Dam, Bards Lake, Honker Lake, Duncan Lake or Hematite Lake near Center Furnace. The states prohibit fishing from bridges. If you prefer to fish from a boat, check out area marinas.

A.  All that is needed is the required state fishing license.

A.   Licenses may be purchased at regional county courthouses, marinas, sporting goods stores, bait shops, and grocery stores. We do not sell state hunting and fishing licenses.

A. We offer some of the nation’s best sport fishing opportunities for crappie, bass, sauger, catfish, and bluegill. Check out the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife or the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) for state regulations and licensing. For anglers 16 and older (13 and older in Tennessee), only a state fishing license is required. Anglers must have a license for the state in which they are fishing. 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. You can get our Fishing Report by dialing 270-924-2000. You can also pick up our Angling Guide available at North & South Welcome Stations and Golden Pond Visitor Center specific to fishing the ponds and embayments within Land Between The Lakes.

A.   See the Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) webpage or visit Golden Pond Visitor Center for a Turkey Bay OHV Area Trail Map and regulations.

A.   All visitors must complete and sign a Turkey Bay OHV Area Registration and 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 or the Golden Pond Visitor Center.

A.   Yes. Camping in Turkey Bay is primitive. 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 where campers must supply their own generators. Camping permits are $12 per camping unit per night and may be purchased at the gatehouse. If the gatehouse is unattended, an honor fee system is provided.

A.   Turkey Bay has trails for novice, intermediate, and experienced riders. All trails are two directions. 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.

A.   Yes. We’ve marked challenge area boundaries with red rings on the trees. These typically offer 2 to 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.

A.   It depends on your vehicle. If equipped with a roll-cage, seatbelts, and 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 not designed or not equipped, the answer is ‘No’ for dirt bikes and most ATVs. Look at manufacturer sticker for guidance.

A.   You can purchase fuel in our neighboring communities, approximately 6 miles away. We have a list of area stores for bike and motor parts at the gatehouse.

A.  No. Campers can shower at Wranglers Campground for $5 per person with their current permit.

A.   No. All non-street legal vehicles must be trailered in from adjacent areas to Turkey Bay. Parking at Turkey Bay is free.

A.   Yes. Turkey Trot kid’s area is the perfect place for children under age 16 with proper size OHV to learn proper riding techniques under parental supervision. 

Other Recreation

A.   No. Metal detectors are not permitted on any federal public land.

A.   Energy Lake and Woodlands Nature Station rent canoes and kayaks. To rent a boat, go to any of the local state resort parks or private marinas.

A.   We provide over 20 public boat ramps; these are marked with boat ramp/lake access signs. You can also find a boat ramp at all designated Basic Camping Areas.

A.   Land Between the Lakes is a Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The Code of Federal Regulations concerning firearms in Land Between the Lakes (CFR 261.53E) states that possession of firearms is prohibited except during legal firearms hunting seasons and going to and from the Land Between the Lakes Target Range. Firearms must be unloaded and cased when transporting.

A.   If you are looking for a place to swim and play in the water, anywhere is fine. Backcountry Camping Areas offer good swimming and lake access. Moss Creek Day-Use Area serves as our most popular swimming area. Swimming in either Kentucky Lake or Lake Barkley is at your own risk. Non-swimmers and children should wear personal floatation devices (PFD). We recommend you also wear some sort of water shoes for your own protection. The water feels great and many visitors enjoy walking our shores. Have fun and be safe!

A.   There are numerous scenic trails for hiking and biking. Trails include point-to-point, long distance, and loop for hiking with paved roads and mountain biking trails for biking. For trail information, visit any of our facilities or online at Quick Links or Maps.

Ebikes are considered motorized equipment and can only be operated on designated motorized routes (FS legal roads and OHV trails). They are not permitted on non-motorized (hiking/biking/equestrian) trails.

A.   The peak of bugling season usually occurs from mid-September to mid-October in the afternoon hours.

A.   Yes, 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.

A.   This is a long-term project requiring monitoring of wildlife populations, grass re-seeding, controlled burning, and habitat monitoring.

A.   Canadian elk were readily available and were disease free. In addition, biologists believe the Manitoban sub-species released in the Prairie closely resembled the Eastern elk which became extinct around 200 years ago.