Dale Hollow Lake is a state park located in Barren County, Kentucky. The park consists of 1,068 acres (430ha) surrounding an artificial lake which was constructed to relieve water from the Tennessee River by means of a dam built across part of its course through Barren County. It is one of two state parks located along the hollows of Big Sandy Valley. The other park is at Cove Lake and both are managed by the Office of Parks as part of the Rivers to Mountains program.
The park offers camping facilities, hiking trails, boating, fishing, swimming, playground areas, cabins, lodges, conference center, equestrian area, golf course, nature center, picnic areas, pool, restaurant, and lodge. There are also several miles of mountain biking and horseback riding trails.
The park’s campground has 138 sites, many equipped with sewer, all-terrain vehicle access, and some with electrical hookups. A bathhouse/restrooms facility is provided nearby. Other features include boat rentals, cabins, equestrian staging area, hiking trails, playground areas, lighted fishing pier, marina, miniature golf, picnicking facilities, pool, racquetball courts, rodeo grounds, sand volleyball court, skeet field, sports fields, tennis courts, wildlife observation area, zip lining, and a gift shop. The park receives about 230,000 visitors annually. Dale Hollow Lake is recognized as a top destination for trout fishing in central Kentucky.
Rainbow trout up to 20 inches (510mm) long and brown trout 16 inches (406mm) long may be caught year round, though ice fishing is prohibited. Crappies, bluegill, catfish, and bass are also plentiful. Visitors can rent boats, stay overnight in cabins, eat in the lodge or at one of three restaurants, swim, play games at the complex of outdoor sports fields, go horseback riding, mountain bike, or take short hikes. The park has four entrances with numerous parking lots. Entrances are spaced approximately five miles apart, starting at Ives Lane near the Old Fort Pike exit off Interstate 75 and ending at Buck Creek Road near the Pattonville Road exit off Interstate 76.
The main entrance is located at Pioneer Parkway and Meadow Lick Road. This entrance provides most of the day-use parking and includes a large grassy common area that hosts events such as music festivals, fairs, and rallies. The Cove Lake entrance is at Patton Avenue and Cove Lake Road. Access here is via Highway 31 West. The Lodge entrance is at Patterson Springs Road and Fern Ridge Road. Access here is via Highway 31 East. The South Cove entrance is at Patterson Avenue and Cove Lake Road. Access here is via Highway 31 West. All four entrances provide access to the park’s network of multi-use trails consisting primarily of mountain bike and horseback riding paths. These paths connect to the Western Appalachian Trail which runs from Georgia to Maine.
The park also contains a section of the Wilderness Road Trail, a 508 mile (840km) trail running from North Carolina to New England. The park has 100 campsites divided into ten tent sites and eight full service RV sites. Two primitive walk-in sites are available as well. Campsites with electrical hookups have hot showers and flush toilets while those without have only cold showers and no plumbing. Water and electric sites are $10 per night; non-electric sites are $20 per night. Tent and Rv sites are open year round, with the exception of July and August, when electricity is shut off.
In 1958, construction began on what would become known as the Hollow Dam Project.Designed by the Army Corps Of Engineers, under contract with BPS, it was built by W.W. Clyde Company of Lexington, who were subcontracted by S&S Construction Co., Inc. of Henderson, Kentucky. It was completed in 1960, but not turned over to the Army Corps for use by the National Guard until 1963. Upon completion, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leased the site to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for use as a public recreation area. Known initially as “Hollow Dam State Resort Park”, it was renamed in 1970 after being transferred into federal ownership.
Modern restroom facilities including hot showers are accessible from May to September. Toilets and showers are closed during October through April. Camping costs are waived for honorably discharged veterans and their spouses and children age 13 & older and their spouses. Passes good for three days or a week are also available; annual passes good at all six state parks charging fees are offered at a cost of $75 for out-of-state visitors or $60 for Kentuckians. Hunting is allowed in season in an adjacent 1,300 acre woodlands deer hunting area. Hunters are expected to follow the rules and regulations of the Kentucky Department of Wildlife Resources.
The park offers activities such as
- mountain biking
- horseback riding