You are here
Home > Around Kentucky > Guide to Visiting Buckhorn Lake State Park

Guide to Visiting Buckhorn Lake State Park

Buckhorn Lake State Park Swim Beach

We are on a mission to visit every state park in Kentucky. Recently we were in Hazard, KY and we decided to make the short drive out to Buckhorn Lake. There we found a nice, albeit small, state park that’s perfect for a short family getaway or day trip.

Buckhorn Lake state park lodge

The History of Buckhorn Lake State Park

Long before the lake was created and the park was established in 1964, a thriving community named Bowlington was located at this site along the Kentucky River. The residents were farmers and coal miners for the most part. When the lake was constructed, starting in 1960, the residents of Bowlington had to be relocated and the town was abandoned. The park lodge sits on the site of the town of Bowlington’s original 1800s schoolhouse and the towns baseball diamond was once located where the beach and swimming area is these days. Today, the park pays homage to the town at the bottom of the lake with the name of the restaurant – Bowlington Country Kitchen. The park lodge has a small display about the history of Bowlington in the lobby.

Buckhorn Lake State park lodge

Lodging at Buckhorn Lake State Park

There are two different options for places to stay at Buckhorn Lake, the park lodge, or private cottages. The Bedford sandstone and wood lodge fits in perfectly with the park’s rustic surroundings. There’s cozy fireplaces and a nice spacious veranda for enjoying the mountain air. The Lodge has 36 rooms that each have private patios or balconies, all with views of Buckhorn Lake and the mountains. Some pet-friendly rooms are available.

Private cottages come in 2- and 3-bedroom varieties and there are two of each available for rent. Cottage rentals feature private decks and include tableware, cooking utensils and linens for your stay.

Visit to book the lodge at Buckhorn Lake State Park


Dining at Buckhorn Lake State Park: Bowlington Country Kitchen

The lodge has an on-site restaurant called Bowlington Country Kitchen where you can dine with lake views. Here, the focus is on country-style comfort food. You’ll find many hometown favorites such as the Kentucky Hot Brown and the Catfish Fillet dinner. The menu is fairly small, but does have some variety and vegetarian options are available. As a supporter of The Kentucky Proud program, Bowlington Country Kitchen uses local meat and produce whenever possible.


Things to do at Buckhorn Lake State Park

Hiking trails at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park

Hiking Trails: There are two self-guided trails available at Buckhorn Lake State Park . The 1.5 self-guided interruptive Moonshine Trail and the half-mile Leatherwood Trail. We did both trails while we were visiting the park and my 2 and 6 year olds were able to manage most of the way with little assistance.

buckhorn Lake state park boat marina

Boating: the park has a marina with 95 open boat slips, pontoon rentals and fishing boat rentals are available. The lake is open for boating from April – October with boat rentals starting in May.

Fishing:  The 1,200-acre lake offers anglers an abundance of fish including: largemouth and Kentucky bass, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish and muskie.

Mini Golf: An 18-hole miniature golf course is open April – October.

Swimming Pool: There is an on-site swimming pool with mountain views available for lodge and cottage guests only.

Shopping: There is a gift shop in the lodge with a nice selection of Kentucky handicrafts, books and gifts

Buckhorn Lake State Park Swim Beach

Public swim beach:  There is a free public swim beach on the lake with a bathhouse for changing. Find other Kentucky lakes with swim Beaches here

Additional facilities include picnic areas, basketball, horseshoes and shuffleboard.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park: 4441 Kentucky Highway 1833 | Buckhorn, KY 41721 | 606-398-7510

Lodge reservations: 800-325-0058 | Click here to book the Buckhorn State Park lodge on Expedia

Check out other hotels near Buckhorn Lake State Park here on Expedia

Other Kentucky state parks near Buckhorn lake include Natural Bridge State Park (about 70 miles away) and Carr Creek State park (about 40 miles away)

One thought on “Guide to Visiting Buckhorn Lake State Park

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our newsletter and get fun events, things to do and places to see in Kentucky delivered straight to your inbox!