Jenny Wiley State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Known as one of the most historic areas in Kentucky, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park has everything you need to enjoy a peaceful RV getaway. Originally known as Dewey Lake State Park (named in honor of Admiral George Dewey of Spanish-American War fame), the 2,800 acre park became part of the Kentucky State Park System on January 1, 1954. The park was renamed in honor of Virginia "Jenny" Wiley, who was a pioneer woman that survived Indian captivity in the 1700s. Her dramatic escape in the spring of 1790 is a legendary tale that is often retold in summer plays at the park.

This park has a lot of different attractions that are not usually found at most state parks. There is an outdoor amphitheatre, 18 hole golf course and even a grill restaurant, where you can find Kentucky staples such as fried catfish, hot brown, country ham and country fare.

Another major highlight is Dewy Lake. This construction project begun in March 1946 and created the 1,100-acre lake that is 18-½ miles long and has 52 miles of shoreline. It is approximately 50 feet deep at the base of the dam. This lake is home to some of the most magnificent scenery in Kentucky and is a must-see. The RV camping amenities at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park are fantastic. The sites are large and can accommodate rigs over 90ft long! Peak season is from late May to early September.

RV Rentals in Jenny Wiley State Park

Transportation in Jenny Wiley State Park

Driving

Jenny Wiley Resort State Park is located in Prestonsburg Kentucky, off US 23/460, on KY 3. Travelling from the west? Take I-64 West, then continue on the road until you see the Mountain Parkway exit. Take this exit and follow it until you enter the park. Coming from the east, take the I-64 East until you see the US 23 South exit. Take this road until you reach the park.

From the north, take I-75 north. You will see the Hal Rogers Parkway exit, take this exit and continue to the park. If you are coming from southbound, the I-75 south is the road you are looking for. Take this until you see the I-64 East exit. From the take US 23 South exit and continue to the park. If you are running low on fuel there is a gas station that is located less than a mile from the park.

Parking

During the summertime the park will be quite busy, so if you are coming in just for a day trip in the RV arrive early so that you can park up for the day. During the winter you shouldn't have any trouble finding parking in the main lot.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Jenny Wiley State Park

Campsites in Jenny Wiley State Park

Reservations camping

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park

The campground at Jenny Wiley is one of the best in Kentucky. There are 119 pet-friendly sites available in the campground and all sites have water and electric hookups that are 50/30/20 amp. If you need a sewer hookup, reserve a site in B or C as they are the only ones with that type of connection. Amenities at the park include showers, toilet block, laundry facilities, copy/fax, dining, and a retail store featuring drinks and snacks.

Feel like treating yourself? Have a meal at the Grill Restaurant, something that isn't on offer at most state parks. Those traveling with a bigger rig may want to stick to loop C, as it has the most room for you to pull into a site. Reservations at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park are available year round.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Jenny Wiley State Park

In-Season

Biking

There are three awesome mountain biking trails in Jenny Wiley Resort State Park that feature a varying degree of difficulty for beginners to the advanced. All together the trails are three miles in length. They include the Short-Loop (.8 miles) the Switchback (1.9 miles) and the Beginners Trail (.75 miles). Mountain biking trail regulations and signage are posted at the entrance, so make sure to pay attention and read them before you begin to have fun out there.

Canoeing

Whether you are looking for a relaxing day of paddling, an afternoon of fishing, or you want to explore more of the park, you have the option to do so on the lake via canoe. If you have your own, you can launch it from the full service boat ramp located on the lake. If you don't have a boat, that's fine too, as you can rent one from the Nature Center. The canoe rentals are only available from Memorial Day through to Labor Day when the weather is best.

Outdoor Amphitheatre

It isn't often that a state park will have theater shows, but Jenny Wiley Resort State Park is not your average park. During the summertime the outdoor amphitheater turns into a spectacle, with the Jenny Wiley Theater Company performing plays such as The Wizard of Oz, A Chorus Line and the "Story of Jenny Wiley". This in particular is a must-see, as it tells how the park's namesake escaped from Indian Captivity. Seeing some theater in such a beautiful location is such a rarity, so if you are in the park when there is a play happening, make the most of it and check it out.

Off-Season

Nature Center

Located just at the bottom of the hill from the historic May Lodge, the Nature Center is where you will find activities and displays discussing natural, cultural, and historic facts of the area. There are many things to look at here, including reading about the park namesake or viewing the replica of an actual coal mine. The Nature Center is open Tuesday through to Saturday.

Elk Watching

Elk have been introduced to Kentucky as part of a wildlife re-introduction program, meaning now you have an opportunity to view these majestic beasts in the wild. Before the re-introduction in 1997, elk had been gone from Kentucky for nearly 150 years, but thankfully now they are back! When you are at the park, check out the event listing for a list of upcoming Elk Tour dates that will give you a guided tour of the best places to spot them.

Birding

The biggest attraction during the off -season at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is birding. The park is phenomenal for birds, so be prepared to see Spring Warblers migrating and many sightings of American Redstarts. If you want a relatively peaceful place to bird watch, here's a tip. One of the most overlooked areas for birdwatching is the road from the May Lodge to the two-bedroom cottages. You will find many species of birds year round in this area and it won't be too busy. If you are on the lookout for Eastern Bluebirds, try the Jenny Wiley Executive Golf Course.

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