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How To Find Us

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From I-64 take exit 172 and go south on route 7 (appox 8 miles) until you cross the dam. Take the first left on the other side of the dam and the visitor center will be in view.

Mailing Address:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Grayson Lake
50 Launch Ramp Road
Grayson, KY 41143

Contact: The Corps of Engineers Resource Manager can be reached at 606-474-5107 or 606-474-5815.

General Information

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Damsite Recreation Area - This area includes picnic tables and grills, three group picnic shelters, playgrounds, boat ramp, restrooms, handicap fishing pier, and the historic Horton/Kitchen Log House. Picnic shelters are available on a first come, first serve basis or can be reserved in advance for a fee. Reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777 and asking for Grayson Lake Damsite Shelters or going to www.recreation.gov. A launch fee is charged for launching a boat at the dam-site boat ramp. Annual launch passes may be purchased at the Corps Office, Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 4:00pm. The marina offers mooring, fueling, waste disposal facilities, concession stand, and boat rentals and can be reached at 606-474-4513.

Below Dam Recreation Area - This area includes picnic tables and grills, one group picnic shelter, playground, canoe launch and Environmental Natural Study Field, a 1.75 mile National Registry Nature Trail, and a 2.25 mile primitive hiking trail. The Nature Trail winds through stands of mature timber and open areas in various stages of succession. It passes through sandstone cliffs and rock formations that create picturesque waterfalls in wet seasons. The Primitive Hiking trail follows along several ridge tops and offers hikers a more strenuous workout before winding it's way back down to the Environmental Nature Study Field. Trail maps are available at the project office along with information on various feeders/habitat on display in the Environmental Nature Study Field.

Listed as a Kentucky Watchable Wildlife Station, the Environmental Nature Study Field is being renovated and upgraded. It will include native species of plants and wildlife habitat areas that are applicable on farmland and backyards. By creating this wildlife-viewing field, the Corps has given back some of the natural resources, shelter, and food sources taken with the construction of the dam and recreational facilities. The park rangers as well as Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife can provide information on developing your own Backyard Wildlife Habitat. The trail through the Environmental Nature Study Field is 0.5 miles.

General Information

Located just seven miles south of Grayson, Kentucky on State Route 7, this Corps project encompasses 17,085 acres.  The impounded waters of the Little Sandy River form the 1,510 acre, 20-mile long Grayson Lake.  Narrow and winding, the lake's scenic cliffs range from 30 to 200 feet high above the lake surface.  The magnificently sculptured cliffs have a smooth, contoured surface enhanced by centuries of weathering.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers directly manages 643 acres at the dam site, which includes recreation facilities listed below.  A marina, operated by a private concessionaire, is located at the dam site.  The Corps of Engineers operates and office and information center at the Damsite Recreation Area.  They may be contacted at (606) 474-5701 for information on water safety & shelter reservations or for tours of the Environmental Nature Study Field, Nature Trail, and Intake Structure.  For information on lake conditions you may call (606) 474-7476, 24 hours a day.

Handicapped Access

The Damsite Recreation area has 4 shelters and a fishing pier that are all handicap accessible.  The new restrooms at shelter #1 and #3 have handicap parking spaces.

Laurel Gorge Welcome Center -

The creek, through time, has carved its way through the sandstone and formed a gorge with cliffs as high as 300 feet, an outdoor teaching area, interpretive area and local museum.  For more information contact the Elliott County Extension Service at (606) 738-6400-6440. 

Recreation

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Bicycling

Bicycles are permitted on the main roads and campground areas in the Grayson Lake State Park.  For information call Phone number 606-474-6856.

Boating

Boating - For boaters there are 4 launch ramps available, the Corps managed launch ramp is convienantly located at the dam site near the marina, the other locations are at Clifty Creek, Bruin (near Grayson State Park) and Caney.  For boating regulations & safety tips please visit website: http://fw.ky.gov/

Camping

Camping Facilities are available and maintained by the Grayson Lake State Park.  More information concerning camping facilities please visit website: http://parks.ky.gov/stateparks/gl/

Fishing

Fishing is extremely popular during the summers months. Most sought after are bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill. Trout are stocked in the downsteam area. For trout stocking schedules please go to: http://fw.ky.gov/troutsched.asp. For fly fishing, Laural Creek which feeds into Grayson Lake, is very suitable. For Fishing regulation please visit website: http://fw.ky.gov/ .

Hiking

The Api-su-ahts hiking trail features four loops totaling over 22 miles.  It winds through creek bottoms, hollows and ridgetops in the more secluded region of the WMA east of Grayson Lake.  Elevation ranges from 600 to over 1,100 ft., and the various loops provide opportunity to tailor hikes to different degree of difficulty and time schedules.  Scenery is excellent, ranging from lakeshore, to managed wildlife openings, to mature hardwood forest.  Wildlife is abundant and many ridgetops provide attractive overlooks.  "Api-su-ahts" is a Shawnee phrase meaning "early riser" or "morning star".  The Shawnee were a tribe of native Americans who viewed the eastern Kentucky forests as particularly productive hunting grounds.  The Api-su-ahts trail was initially marked on the WMA in the early 1970's by local Boy Scouts, but it fell into disuse during the late 1970's and 80's.  During the 90's, local Scouts re-marked the trail, blazed new segments, and developed the current loop structure.  Today the trail is regularly maintained by a cooperative effort between local Boy Scouts, the KDFWR, Kentucky State Parks, and the Corps of Engineers.  The trail is a component of the new Jenny Wiley trail system administered by Kentucky State Parks. 



The trail head for loops one and two is located at Deer Creek, and at Frazier Flats for loops two and three.  The trail is marked with white paint on trees, and by signage at the trailheads and periodically along the trail.  Mileage and difficulty rating (easy 1-2-3-4-5 hard) of each loop follows:

 

Loop Mileage Rating
1 2.9 2
2 7.8 4
3 5.9 3
4 6.5 3-4

Laurel Creek -  Laurel Creek is a major part of the Little Sandy Watershed which feeds Grayson Lake.  The creek, through time, has carved its way through the sandstone and formed a gorge with cliffs as high as 300 feet.  Laurel Gorge is on a section of old KY7/KY32 near Laurel Cliffs and Curves.  The Laurel Gorge Welcome Center also marks the head of the Laurel Gorge Trail, for which volunteers have worked since 2002 and developed public and handicapped access to trails. 

Laurel Gorge Welcome Center, P.O. Box 653, Sandy Hook, KY  31171
Phone (606) 738-5553 

Horseback Riding

Grayson Lake WMA provided excellent opportunity for Horseback riding.  Horseback riding is permitted approximately nine miles of designated trail which traverses the WMA on the scenic eastern side of the lake.  Horseback riding is not permitted off these trails which are shown on the map and marked by signs in the field.  All persons using Grayson Lake WMA should note that the entire area is open to hunting during designated seasons.  For this reason, all persons afield for non-hunting purposes from mid-August (beginning of squirrel season) through February are advised to wear blaze orange, especially on the head where it is most visible.  Likewise this is also recommended during the spring turkey season held in April and early May.  During the youth quota deer hunt (typically the first weekend in November), the WMA is closed to all other hunting and uses including hiking and horseback riding.

For information please contact Grayson Lake WMA Office at (606) 474-8535. 

Hunting

Hunting is popular and often productive on Grayson Lake WMA due in a large part to the effective restoration and habitat management practices.  Deer, turkey, and squirrels (both gray and fox) are abundant throughout the WMA and are the most frequently pursued game species.  Dove management units are located in the Frazier Flats and Clifty Creek areas, and shooting is typically good on opening day. Grouse hunting is fair on sideslopes and benches which have grown into second-growth forest (former pasture land).  Most waterfowl hunting occurs on Rosedale Point, or in the shallow, upper portions of various embayments.  Grayson Lake hosts a resident flock of approximately 150 - 200 geese, and relatively low numbers of wintering/migratory ducks.  The Deer Creek Branch of Grayson Lake, and Grayson Lake within 3/4 mile of the Dam is closed to waterfowl hunting.  Quail and rabbits tend to be very local and affiliated with the scattered open land areas.  Some woodcock are found in brushly woods located in bottoms and nearby openings.  Raccoons, bobcats and other furbearers are fairly abundant and my be hunted.  Trapping requires advance permission from the Grayson Lake WMA Area Manager or Biologist.  As public land, Grayson Lake WMA receives heavy hunting pressure for most game species.  Always remember to be safe, courteous, follow regulations, and don't be surprised if game tends to be very wary especially after opening day.

Many special regulations are in effect on Grayson Lake WMA for hunting and dog training.  These WMA specific regulations vary from prevailing statewide season dates and other restrictions.  Be sure to consult a current copy of the Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide, and refer especially to the section pertaining to Grayson Lake WMA.  One important restriction worth noting is that the only gun or muzzleloader hunting permitted for deer on Grayson Lake WMA is a youth quota hunt which requires advance application.  Hunters should also note that Corps of Engineers managed land, Camp Webb, and the Grayson Lake State Park lie adjacent the portions of the WMA.  These lands are closed to all hunting except for some designated special seasons which always require advance application. 

Grayson Lake WMA, Rt2, Box 276B, Grayson, KY  41143    Phone (606)-474-8535.

Regional Public Lands Biologist, (606) 686-3312

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, 1 Game Farm Road, Frankfort, KY  40601    Toll-free Help line  1-800-858-1549

Kentucky Wildlife Telecheck number 1-877-CHK-GAME (1-877-245-4283)

Deer quota hunt application number 1-877-86U-HUNT (1-877-868-4868)

To report wildlife violations only 1-800-25A-LERT (1-800-252-5378)

Marina

Operated by a private concessionaire, located at the Grayson Lake Dam site.  Boat Rental information available at Marina and Corps of Engineers information center at the Damsite Recreation Area or by calling the marina at 606-474-4513. 

Damsite Recreation Area

Picnic Shelter #1 - Located across from Visitor Center, seats approximately 50 and parks approximately 25. Vault restroom facilities are located at the shelter and are universally accessible.

Picnic Shelter #2 - Located above marina parking lot, seats approximately 60 and parks approximately 15. Additional Parking may be available in Marina parking lot. Restroom is located approximately 50 yards from shelter and is NOT ADA accessible. Playground equipment is being installed between October 2009 and March 2010 at this shelter.

Picnic Shelter #3 - Located at the end of Launch Ramp Rd, seats approximately 80 and parks apprximately 40. The new vault restrooms are located between the shelter and parking lot and are ADA accessible. 

Below Dam Recreation Area - Picnic Shelter #4 - Located below the dam in the downstream area on Lower Access Rd, seats approximately 125 and parks approximately 35. Restroom facilities are located 40 yards across from shelter and are ADA accessible. 

All shelters have large group grills, water, electrical outlet for small appliances only, additional picnic table on the grounds near the shelter, but they are open to public.  

Services & Amenities at the Park: Accessible Boat Ramp, Accessiblie Hiking Trails, Administrative Office, Basketball Court, Bbq Grills, Benches, Bird Watching, Boat Ramp, Boat Rental, Boat Slip Rentals, Boat Trailer Park Lot, Courtesy Dock, Drinking Water, Fishing, Fishing Pier, Fishing Supplies, Grills, Hiking, Hiking Trails, Horseshoe Pits, Nature Trail, Photography, Picnic Tables, Playground, Public Marina, River Access, Visitor Center, Wildlife Viewing. 

Important Information: 

Reservations must be made 3 days in advance* This is a Day-Use Facility only. Alcohol is prohibited anywhere in this park. Camping is not allowed in this area. Pets must be on a leash at all times. Reserving a shelter does not reserve adjacent parking, playground or open space. The day use area opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. For more information, please call the Grayson Lake project Office at 606-474-5107. 

Making a Reservation: Phone-Toll Free 1-877-444-6777 or International 518-885-3639.  Website-Access www.recreation.gov.  Search by Facility Name: GRAYSON LAKE DAMSITE SHELTERS, Specify the date you want to reserve, Click on See Details. Then click on Book These Dates.  If BOLD X is showing this facility is not open for arrival for the date you have selected. 

Making a Reservation

When calling to make a reservation, you will be asked to the provide the following information:
Facility name (or state)

  • Arrival and departure dates
  • Type of site required (damsite picnic shelter,tent,RV,cabin,lookout,etc.)
  • The number of people in your party
  • Method of payment (certified check or credit card - Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Discover card)

Swimming

The swim beach at Bruin, which is operated by the Kentucky Department of State Parks, is CLOSED until further notice.  Swimming is not permitted at the Bruin beach or from any state park land.  However swimming is allowed on the rest of the lake, except boat ramps and areas with posted restrictions.  Also, cliff jumping/diving is not permitted on Grayson Lake.

Visitor Center

Information Center at the Damsite Recreation Area.  They may be contracted at (606) 474-5815 or 5107 for information on water safety & shelter reservations or for tours of the Environmental Nature Study Field, Nature Trail, and Intake Structure.  For information on lake conditions and scheduled fish stocking you may call (606) 474-7476, 24 hours a day.

 

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