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Backcountry Camping in LBL

Home | Land Between The Lakes | Backcountry Camping

Get away from civilization and its noise. Head out into the wilderness of the Land Between The Lakes National Recreational Area, where you can hang up a hammock and relax under a canopy of trees. Fall asleep listening to the rustle of leaves and the occasional chirp of a bird.

Land Between The Lakes offers plenty of campground options that blend tent camping with modern living. However, if camping in one of the area’s four developed campgrounds is filled with too many modern conveniences for your tastes, there are plenty of backcountry camping options that might better fit your “roughing-it” ambitions. These sites are more primitive and allow you to trek through the woods and spend a night or two under the stars, surrounded by little more than Mother Nature.

LBL MapBasic Camp Site

If you’d rather not build a campsite from scratch, Land Between the Lakes offers lots of options for nature-loving visitors. Its Basic Campgrounds include defined campsites, fire rings and/or grills, picnic tables, vault toilet, trash removal, mowed areas and boat ramps. If you’re 18 or older, you’ll need a Basic Camping Permit which can be purchased online or at any Land Between the Lakes facility. Basic Campgrounds include:

  • Nickell Branch
  • Twin Lakes
  • Birmingham Ferry
  • Smith Bay
  • Sugar Bay
  • Taylor Bay
  • Redd Hollow
  • Boswell Landing

Basic Camping Areas

Basic Camping Areas offer a little more leeway regarding where you can pitch your tent than you’ll find in the Basic Campgrounds. These camping areas consist of open fields without defined campsites. They still have amenities such as vault toilets, trash removal, mowed areas and boat ramps, but they may or may not possess picnic tables and fire rings. They also require Basic Camping Permits. Basic Camping Areas are:

  • Kuttawa Landing
  • Demumbers Bay
  • Ginger Bay
  • Neville Bay
  • Gray’s Landing

Dispersed Backcountry Camping

If you’re driving through the recreation area and see a lovely camping spot by a lake or just off a trail, simply park and spend the night! Remote campsites are spread throughout the area. If you pitch a tent in one of these off-the-map clearings, these sites are considered "Dispersed Camping." Dispersed Camping Permits can be purchased online or at Land Between the Lakes facilities. Learn more about where you may or may not spend the night in the Camping Rules.

Self Service Campgrounds

If you would like to use basic camping facilities but still want to get away from crowds, then drive to one of the area’s Self-Service Campgrounds. They feature conveniences such as designated campsite pads, picnic tables, grills, fire rings, vault toilets, drinking water, trash pickup, lake access and boat ramps.

These sites don’t require much personnel. Select the perfect spot for your campsite, fill out a provided fee envelope and pay the nightly rate, then pop the envelope into the "Iron Ranger" fee tube located at the entrance of each self-service campground. Just make sure you pay within 30 minutes of establishing your campsite. Self-Service Campgrounds include:

  • Cravens Bay
  • Fenton
  • Gatlin Point
  • Turkey Bay OHV Area

Firewood

LBL asks that you use local sources for firewood instead of bringing some from home. If you do move firewood while camping, please burn it all before leaving.

Adventure is waiting for you at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area! Pack up your tent and head out there to experience what sights and sounds 170,000 acres of land have to offer.

 For more information about seasonal camping, call (270) 924-2000 or email LBLInfo@fs.fed.us.

Developed Campgrounds in LBL:

Don't Want To Sleep Under The Stars?

If backcountry camping isn't quite your thing, or you want to break up your stay where some nights you have a roof over your head, you can find great, affordable lodging in the Kentucky Lake area.  Whether it's a cheap motel or a full-service resort, you can find that perfect place when planning your next vacation to Land Between The Lakes.

Note:  ExploreKentuckyLake.com is not the official site of the Land Between The Lakes. You can access their official site here.


Heron
Photo by Murray Blake

This stoic heron is looking at more than just his own reflection. He is looking at the fish that will become his lunch.