What started as a dam in 1964 is now one of the nicest parks in Central Kentucky, and one of the finest family-friendly destinations in the state.
Today, Green River Lake State Park has a lot to offer. This huge park has an 82,000-acre lake and over 1,600 acres of rolling hills, trees, and just plain outdoors. In addition to hiking, fishing, boating, and other such activities, the park has some features normally reserved for urban recreation centers or theme parks, like a miniature golf course. So, Green River Lake State Park really does have something for everyone.
Perhaps best of all, Green River Lake State Park is a very RV-friendly place. The campground is large and spacious. It has lots of amenities, like a larger-than-average camp store and laundry facilities, not found in other places. In other words, this park is laid out for people who want to take their rigs here and stay for a couple of weeks in the summer. Of course, the “Welcome” sign is also out for everyone else.
Green River Lake State Park is just south of Campbellsville, which is almost smack dab in the middle of Kentucky. It’s easily accessible from most regional population centers. Getting there really is half the fun. The roads leading to Green River Lake State Park are mostly Kentucky state highways. They aren’t as wide as interstates, but the traffic on these roads is sparse and slow. So, your rig will fit right in.
There are a few sharp curves here and there, especially on State Highway 70 around Mannsville, which is northeast of the park. But just watch your speed, and even novice RV drivers should have no problem.
Ample parking is available near the equestrian trailhead and some other hiking/mountain-biking trails. There is also lots of parking near the boat launch. On the way to Green River Lake State Park, you may have passed some towns that were smaller than this parking area. That statement may be a slight exaggeration, but it’s not much of one.
This 167-site campground has lots of amenities, including a very good Wi-Fi connection. All these sites have both electrical and water hookups. Most sites also have picnic tables and barbecue grills or fire rings. Because of the (reasonably) mild summers and mild winters here, it’s almost always great to cook outdoors. Other campground amenities include a laundry facility, several spacious restroom/shower areas, amphitheater, tornado shelters (yes, they occasionally do come in handy), a camp store, and dump station. The mini golf course, marina restaurant, and swimming area are all within easy walking distance of the RV campground.
As soon as the water temperature reaches the 50s, the fishing season at Green River Lake begins in earnest. That usually happens in late March. Fish from shore or take your watercraft (powered or unpowered) out onto winding Green River Lake. The spring bass and smallmouth bass fishing here is excellent. Pretty much every year, several anglers haul in trophy-sized bass. To reel in the big one, concentrate on the area between the Green River confluence and the dam. The catfish are pretty good in this part of the lake as well, mostly because rangers frequently stock the lake with these fish. For walleye, go a little further below the dam.
The huge 200-slip marina is open between March and November. All kinds of boats are here, from personal watercraft to houseboats. Most kayakers, canoers, and other unpowered boaters stay near the boat launch area or drift a bit further north to the swimming area. Powered boaters typically enjoy either the wide-open spaces in the south or the winding, snake-like waterways further to the north. Boat rentals are available, as are gasoline and other boating supplies.
The swimming area, which is flanked by two children's play areas, has a wide sandy beach. The beach also has volleyball courts, basketball courts, and other amenities. Overnight campers may borrow sports equipment. Some swimmers stay near the beach, while others enjoy racing to the island which is about a quarter-mile from the edge of the sand. No lifeguard is on duty, but swim with a buddy and you should be fine. The swimming area is generally open from March through November.
Green River Lake State Park has 28 miles of multi-use trails. Horseback riders, mountain bikers, and hikers are all welcome here. There are several degrees of difficulty. Easy trails are essentially unpaved sidewalks. We recommend the North Trail, which goes through some very scenic areas, or the somewhat higher Ridge Trail. For something a little more difficult, try the Deer Creek Trail or the Shipp Trail. If you only have time for one, go with the easy Marina Main Trail. It takes you though most of the scenic areas of the park.
Fall and winter is a great time to see lots of different birds at Green River Lake State Park. This area is a popular stopover for migrating birds. Look for abundant waterfowl along the lake shoreline. Further inland, there are lots of sparrows and osprey. Go a little higher, and you will almost certainly see eagles, particularly in January and February.
Especially if you plan to spend a few weeks here during the winter, as many people do, take a break from your RV and stake out a primitive tent camping spot. Most of the primitive sites are near the RV campsite, so you will not have to go far. Pets are allowed, and the sites are next to the water.